We’re fortunate enough to support one of the World’s best Paralympic powerlifters, Ali Jawad. Competing in the -59kg weight class, Ali consistently lifts over 180kg on the bench press – more than 3 times his bodyweight! That’s pretty remarkable.
So we thought it would be a great idea to take a look at Ali’s training to highlight some of the techniques he employs. This is what we saw:
Training methods to improve your bench press.
1) Rack press (bench press lockouts)
The Rack Press is a fantastic tricep building exercise and a popular technique among powerlifters. It is amongst the best exercises to build explosive tricep strength which is vital for strong bench press output. The positioning of the rack enables you to manipulate the range of motion of the lift, effectively allowing you to move more weight – thus stimulating more fast-twitch muscle fibres. The Rack Press is also great for building strength at the weakest point of the bench press – the mid-point of the concentric phase – making it the ideal plateau blaster!
2) Plyo Push Ups
Unlike regular strength training exercises that involve long, slow movements designed to increase muscular strength and mass, plyometric training involves quick, explosive movements designed to increase speed and power.
The Plyo Push Up is a great exercise for building explosive upper body strength, by targeting and activating fast-twitch muscle fibres responsible for power output.
There is also evidence to suggest that plyometric training can help develop stronger tendons and reduce the risk of injury when training.
3) Close Grip Bench Press
In similar regard to the Rack Press, the Close Grip Bench Press places particular emphasis on the triceps. The main difference being that the range of motion versus a Rack Press is significantly increased, helping to build strength at every stage of the lift.
Whilst the Close Grip Bench Press is tricep dominant, it still recruits the chest and front deltoids, helping to build overall bench press strength – which should in time assist your bench press performance.
With any strength or hypertrophy goal, nutrition and the right supplements play an important role in both growth and recovery. Ali is currently using TRI-PRO™, our premium protein blend, and AFTERMATH™, our premium all-in-one, to support his efforts in and out of the gym.
Ali says, “The addition of Aftermath and Tri-Pro to my training has already seen me reach multiple new PBs in the gym and in testing. Can’t wait to see the results in the up coming European Championships!”
As a British Paralympic powerlifter, Ali is very conscious about the integrity of any supplements he uses. He really buys into our values of trust and transparency, and loves our extensive range of INFORMED SPORT products, which deliver the nutrients he needs as an athlete, and the peace of mind to go with it.
Don’t be afraid to mix up the range of exercises you incorporate into your training for all-round chest and strength development. If your programme is too one-dimensional, you could be limiting your ability to develop your chest to the levels you desire.
Additionally, the inclusion of multiple lifts will allow you to train any weaknesses in muscle strength or stability that an over-reliance on any one exercise would fail to address.
Be bold and bring on the gains!