Tip: The T-Shirt Bench Press

Set a new PR on the bench press by preparing for it with this ego-crushing technique.

Most guys do some form of paused bench press... if they aren't ego lifters. Bring the bar down, pause at the chest, do some repping. Sweet.

It's great in theory, but the application is sometimes lacking. Where? The pause itself. The whole point of the pause is to reduce the rebound from the stretch reflex so that the lift is much harder. Making it harder is what you're after.

And that's where the T-shirt bench comes in. It not only forces you to slow down considerably during the eccentric (lowering) portion of the rep, it'll make you hold the bar down near the chest under a tremendous amount of tension before lifting the bar back up.

The technique is quite simple: once you begin the lowering portion of the rep, try to touch your T-shirt as lightly as possible at the bottom.

That part's important. And if you're doing a full range of motion, the bar does in fact touch your shirt anyway. But make it touch lightly, like you would a newborn kitten. Sounds simple, but it kinda sucks after 8 reps.

It's not quite a paused bench, but it might be better in terms of developing the bench press because of the control you're forced to apply when lowering it and at the chest. Be as explosive as you can on the concentric or lifting phase of the rep, but within reason.

The Loading

The weight you use is important because if you're using a really light load, then your elbows are going to start cursing at you in a third-world language.

You can use whatever loading pattern you've been using with these if it's been working for you. Simply use this technique, then find out just how much ego you've been using in your training. The technique will let you know immediately.