The Bench Press Variation for Success
Towel Bench or Bench Block Press. One of the criticisms of the bench press is that placing the bar on the chest places high levels of stress on the connective tissues of the shoulder, especially if performed several times a week. By limiting the range of motion of the lift by placing a rolled-up towel under the shirt, or using a round towel bench pad, the stress is minimized. As such, the lift can be performed more frequently – in the BFS off-season program one common workout design is to perform the standard bench press on Monday and the towel bench press on Friday; another advantage is this sequence can often be performed year-round. Further, as with the restricted range of motion of the box squat, the lift places less stress on the recovery ability and thus you could perform it the day before or even the day of a competition without adverse effects.
More on the Towel Bench:
BFS highly recommends Towel Benches for three reasons. First, an athlete gets used to a heavier weight. Normally, ten to twenty more pounds can be used on the Towel Bench. This builds more confidence for new levels on the regular bench. Second, it brings variety into the routine. Variety is important as this helps an athlete overcome plateaus. We guarantee that every athlete will break at least 8 personal records per week, if our BFS Set-Rep System is used. Variety is the main reason we can make that guarantee. Third, and most important, Towel Benches will go a long way in preventing what is call “Bench Press Shoulder”, a mild to severe pain in the shoulder joints.
As a result of doing many clinics and talking to many coaches and athletes, BFS became aware of this problem with the Bench Press. It seems that 75 percent of all athletes who Bench Press three times per week have “Bench Press Shoulder”.
Specifically, this is a dull to sharp pain in the front shoulder-joint area where the upper arm, chest, and shoulder meet. This pain comes from working out too often with too much weight. Typically, an athlete will do benches three times a week with maximum or near maximum poundages. The real stress to this shoulder-joint area comes when the bar is one or two inches from the chest. When you think about it, stretching and putting stress on the shoulder-joint area three times a week with maximum poundages is bound to cause problems.
To perform the Towel Bench all you need to do is put the Towel Bench Pad on the chest and bench or use the BFS Bench Block which makes switching athletes much more efficient. Bring the bar right down into the pad then drive up.