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Before we delve into dead benches, it might be a good idea for you to ego at the door because it won’t do you much good here. In fact, your sense of pride will take a swift kick to the jewels if this is new to you because you will not be able to move as much weight on a dead bench as you do when benching regularly.
During the eccentric of the bench press, your muscles gather elastic-like energy that aids in the concentric portion of the bench press. This is called the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). A practical example would be a vertical jump.
The next time you perform a vertical jump, try dipping your butt down rapidly and then exploding up. Now, try another one from the bottom squat position without dipping down first. You will not be able to jump as high this way. This is because you are not taking advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle.
The bench press works the same way. A dead bench is done in a power rack. The weight starts at chest level and is pushed up as explosively as possible. The ability to develop force rapidly is known as starting strength. A great amount of starting strength is needed to push huge bench presses off your chest.
Give dead benches a try but only do them for single repetitions as multiple reps defeat the purpose. First-time dead benchers may start with a weight approximately 60-80 percent of their 1RM to grow accustomed to the challenge it offers. Newbies can move up from there – one rep at a time – training these singles ahead of their normal, higher-rep training.
Josh Bryant, MFS, CSCS, PES, is the owner of JoshStrength.com and co-author (with Adam benShea) of the Amazon No. 1 seller Jailhouse Strong. He is a strength coach at Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas, and holds 12 world records in powerlifting. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website at www.joshstrength.com.
NEXT WEEK: BENCH PRESS SEMINAR 6: BAND TRAINING
If you plan on raising the dead (bench) like a boss, try combining a few of the supps listed below
Whey protein 20 grams 30-60 minutes pre-workout; 40-60 grams immediately post-workout
Caffeine 200-400 mg 1-2 hours before workouts
Creatine 3-5 grams with pre- and postworkout shakes; on rest days take 3-5 grams with breakfast
Beta-alanine 1-1.5 grams with pre- and postworkout shakes; on rest days take 1-1.5 grams with breakfast
Ribose 5-10 grams with pre- and postworkout shakes; on rest days take 5-10 grams with breakfast
Taurine 1-3 grams with pre- and postworkout shakes
Tribulus terrestris 250-750 mg with breakfast and one hour before workouts; do not take it on rest days
Fish oil 4-6 grams in 2-3 divided doses with meals