The bench press is a compound movement exercise in which every single muscle group is used on the upper body when performing it. The primary muscle group which are used during bench pressing are:
- Pectoralis major (main chest muscle)
- Anterior deltoids (front shoulders)
- Triceps brachii (back of upper arms)
Performing bench presses is beneficial if you want to strengthen or build chest muscle. With bench pressing I was seen good progress in less than 3 months. I was bench pressing consistently, twice a week with progressive overload training.
So are bench press enough for the chest day?
For some bench pressing are enough for the chest day but for others, it isn’t. Let’s figure out if bench pressing is enough for chest day. The table below shows all the requirements only for training bench pressing compared to other chest exercises.
|Train only Bench Press for chest day||Train other chest exercises for chest day|
|Focused effort on mastering technique and strength in the bench press.||Promotes muscle balance and development.|
|Allows for consistent tracking of progress in the bench press.||Targets specific muscle groups and different regions of the chest.|
|Provides an opportunity for specialized strength development in the targeted muscle groups.||Helps prevent overuse injuries and muscle imbalances.|
|Prevents plateaus by introducing variations and new stimuli.|
|Promotes functional strength and muscle coordination.|
- Read More: Average Bench Press for 18-year-old
- Read More: What is the Average Rep for Bench Press?
- Read More: Are Squats Enough for leg day?
- Read More: Are Deadlifts Enough for back day?
Benefits of Training Only Bench Press for a chest day?
Training only bench presses on a chest day can be very beneficial as it will help with strengthening the chest, shoulders, triceps and core muscles. It will further improve the overall upper body posture and increase chest muscle mass.
The following benefits I have seen or encountered when training only bench press for chest days are:
- Mastering bench press technique and increasing the strength on the bench press, therefore increasing in focus and specialization on the bench press.
- Building Strength development will have a positive effect on the performance of other chest exercises.
- More focus on the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and triceps muscles.
- Easier to progress tracking as you can monitor your improvement like an increase in weight lifted or number of reps performed.
- Build better muscle-to-mind connection when performing a bench press.
- Builds upper body strength and power.
- Promotes muscle growth and hypertrophy in the chest.
- Offers time efficiency by targeting multiple muscles in one exercise.
- Over time, increasing the functional strength to do some heavy lifting, running, etc day-to-day tasks.
- Triggers are a hormonal response for muscle growth and recovery.
- Increasing overall strength and stamina for other exercises.
- Burn lots of calories, due to high intensity but it depends on the reps and sets.
Drawdown of Training Only Bench Press for a chest day?
Training only bench presses on a leg day can be the worst decision of your life as you may injure your upper body muscle group.
The following drawdowns I have seen or encountered when training only bench presses for chest days are:
- This can lead to an imbalance in muscle development where one leg might be more significant or more robust.
- Lack of exercise variety may lead to a plateau in strength gains and progress over time.
- Repeating the same exercise without variation can raise the risk of overuse injuries like strains or tendonitis.
- Limited muscle stimulation as you will not be fully engaging with all areas of the chest muscle.
- For some people benching may not be suitable due to injuries, joint issues, mobility or any health injuries.
- There is more stress on the joints and wrist when performing bench press so improper form can lead to injuries.
- Too fatigued after the workout.
- Increasing the rest days to let the chest recover.
- The bench press may have limited applicability to daily tasks or sports that involve diverse movement patterns or target muscle groups beyond those primarily engaged in the exercise.
Is bench press the only leg exercise you need?
It depends on your goals if you are mainly aiming to strengthen your chest then bench press should be the go-to exercise. But the answer is NO, there are other chest exercises you can perform which are also highly effective.
While bench pressing primarily targets the Pectoralis major (main chest muscle), Anterior deltoids (front shoulders), Triceps brachii (back of upper arms) and core, leaving other chest muscle groups like Pectoralis minor, Serratus anterior, Upper back muscles (rhomboids and trapezius) and Rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis).
In order to have well-built legs try performing some of these exercises on leg day.
- Bent-over rows
- Seated cable rows
- Dumbbell rows
- Face pulls
- Push-ups with a plus
- Scapular push-ups
- External and internal rotations
- YTWL exercises
These exercises listed above are a combination of compound movements, bodyweight and isolation exercises. Performing these exercises and benching will give you the ideal leg physique you are looking for.
Should I skip the bench press if my lower back hurts?
Yes most definitely, you shouldn’t be working out if your lower back hurts.
You need to figure out why your lower back is hurting. It could be from working out or lifting heavy objects or sleeping in a discomforted place. Then you should your back to rest for 2-5 days rest until the pain stops. If the pain continues then it is best to get it checked with your doctor.
You may perform exercises but make sure the weight is light and you not performing any exercises which involve the lower back at all.
If you are performing bench presses after a long time then you are most definitely going to feel the pain in the lower back. Make you have enough rest before doing any back workouts.
I would 100% recommend performing bench presses on your chest days but do include other chest exercises too, as bench pressing on its own is not enough for back day. You should plan for a month for all the chest exercises you will perform and when you will perform them. Give yourself 2 days in the month when you primarily focus on the bench press.