Physical Therapist Shows How to Warm Up for Bench Press Workouts

Are you warming up properly before you throw more plates on the bench press? Probably not.

In the latest installment of “The Fix” physical therapist by Cameron Yuen, DPT, PT, C.S.C.S. guides you through his four-part protocol to ensure your body is ready for horizontal push-time. Follow along with the video above to both help you reduce your risk of injury, and also ensure you get the most out of your training session.

Keep in mind Yuen’s favorite acronym, RAMP, as you go. This stands for: Raise your body temperature; Activate the key muscles and movement patterns. Mobilize those joints; Potentiate the nervous system. Then, you’ll be ramped up for your heavy presses.

The Bench Press Workout Warmup

Air Bike

Do jumping jacks or jogging in place if you don’t have access to an air bike, treadmill, or elliptical. Do this for five to 10 minutes.

Elevated Scapula Pushup

This focuses on the front side of the body, the chest, the shoulders, and the shoulder blades. “Big emphasis…here is to really go slow, develop that mind-muscle connection, get a good retraction of the shoulder blades,” says Yuen, stressing the importance of protracting the shoulder blades as you come to the top. Aim for two to three sets of five to 10 reps.

Feet Assisted Dip

This move homes in on your range of motion and mobilizes the shoulder. “We really just want to treat this as a dynamic stretch in his end range.” If you can’t get as low as the fitness model in the video, that’s fine. Two to three sets of five repetitions is a good place to shoot for here.

Medicine Ball Chest Pass

“So we finished raising our body temperature, we activated those key muscles and movement patterns, we mobilized our chest and our shoulders, now we’re going to potentiate our nervous system with some hard, intense, med ball chest passes,” said Yuen. From the hinged position, do hard chest passes into the ground with the ball. Do this for two to three sets of three to five reps as hard as you can.

Ease Into Working Sets

Now, you’re ready for the bench press. One note: “You want to make sure that you’re not just jumping into your heaviest weight,” Yuen advises.

Start with a few sets with just the bar, then progressively increase the weight. For example, if you’re training at 135 pounds, that means do a few sets with just the bar, then do another two to three sets at 95 pounds, before upping it to 135 pounds.

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