Bench Press & Other Lifts

I really like lifting weights.  I’m a little guy, so that usually makes people giggle a bit, but I’ve never seen faster gains in strength than when using weights.  At some level, the body weight stuff just doesn’t cut it and you’ve got to overload your body to see changes.

Of course, I only use lifts that are going to help me reach my goals, i.e. be a better climber.  Training smart means staying focused.  Right now, I’m focusing on leg strength for El Capitan (jugging, hauling, standing in ladders, etc.)  so I’m really into back squat, dead lift, and kettlebell swings.  The pistol squat, split squat, or one leg squat will come next.

Pavel’s Bench Press Plan

I just read a great article on the bench press:

It has a fairly simple, detailed approach to gaining strength in your BP.  If you’re new to this lift, and looking for a plan, why not start with Pavel’s approach?  At least you’ll have a plan.

Why Do Bench Press?

How does bench press help you climb?  It’s mostly useful as a longevity training tool, meaning that you’ll climb for more years and prevent injury if the strength in your upper body is balanced.  I remember a Steve Bechtel article that said that you should be able to push as much as you pull, meaning if you can do 20 pullups, you should be able to press your body weight 20 times.  That’s definitely not me!  And this probably isn’t necessary to be a world class climber, but we all could benefit from focusing on our push muscles more.  You don’t want to blow out your shoulders again, do you?

Other Variations Of The Same Movement

I like the one arm press better than the bench press, but it’s good to use multiple exercises to train similar movements, so use both!  Since most of the pulling we do as climbers is somewhere in-between straight in front of you (bench press) and straight above you (one arm press) it’s a good idea to train both of these antagonist exercises.  Why not throw in some presses from the various turkish get-up positions as well?

Here’s a great video/article for the one arm press.  It works your “core” too!:


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