Getting Fit From Scratch: Mastering the Bench Press-NICK RANA

Getting Fit From Scratch: Mastering the Bench Press-NICK RANA

It's about time you learn the movement people think of when they hear "gym": the bench press. It'll build your chest, arms, back, shoulders, and pretty much every stabilizer muscle in between. But not only will we hit that, we'll throw in some gymnastics moves to teach you better control of your body, because what's the point in having muscles if you don't know how to move them? This workout will put your upper body through the paces — and add one more big compound exercise to your repertoire.

The Warm-Up

Let's start with a mix of the jump-rope variations we've learned throughout the series. As you're jumping, try alternating one-legged jumps, lateral hops, and double-unders to mix things up. Then we'll do a quick handstand hold to work your core, followed by push-ups to get you ready for your bench press.

Three Rounds
  • One Minute of Rope Jumping (Mix and Match)
  • 30-Second Handstand Hold
  • 10 Push-Ups

Jump Rope (Mix & Match)

Try out all of your jump-rope variations with this exercise. Singles, single-leg hops, lateral hops, and double-unders are all fair game. Do one variation for a jump or two, then switch to another.

Handstand Hold

Even practicing a handstand against a wall is hard work. It's a great isometric movement to develop strength in your shoulders and abs. To do it, start at the bottom of a push-up with your feet to the wall. Walk your feet up the wall, walking your hands backward to keep your body in a straight line. Keep your core tight to keep your lower back from drooping, and only walk up as high as you can comfortably go. Getting into a 45-degree angle should be fine for a warm-up.


You've been doing push-ups since the Getting Fit From Scratch: Your First 5 Moves workout, so this should be a cakewalk. Just concentrate on keeping good form, not letting your butt dip or pike. Start in a plank position, with your arms fully extended beneath your shoulders. Lower yourself down until your chest touches the ground, then push back up until you return to your starting position.

Ring Dip

The ring dip is a gymnastic movement that'll really burn your chest and triceps, but it also forces the stabilizer muscles in your shoulders to work hard since the rings, suspended from straps, are tough to keep steady. For this one, stand beneath a pair of suspended rings that are 12 inches apart. Jump up so that you can grab the rings with your palms facing the floor. Your arms should be fully extended, the rings roughly at your hips. Bow forward, lowering yourself down until your biceps touch the tops of the rings. Extend your arms to return to the start position.

Bench Press

The holy grail of chest workouts, the bench press is sure to grow your chest in all the right places. Always ensure you have a spotter close by, or use a set of safety arms. Start by lying flat on a bench. With your hands shoulder-width apart, un-rack the bar from its hooks, arms fully extended. Lower the bar down to your sternum until your elbows are at a 45-degree angle. Don't let your elbows flare out or stay pinched at your sides. With your butt in contact with the bench, press the weight back up until your arms are locked out.

The Workout

Let's put together your bench press and bodyweight moves to get a good burn that'll grow your chest and make you stronger at the same time. For these, you'll go four rounds, lowering your reps each time. So after you go through all three moves for 20 reps, you'll do 15 reps, then 10, then five.
The Workout:
For time (20, 15, 10, 5):

  • Bench Press (95 lbs or a weight that challenges you)
  • Push-Ups
  • Ring-Dips


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