Bench Press Substitute

Discussion in 'Barbell' started by Kaisersemmel, Apr 1, 2019.

  1. Kaisersemmel

    Kaisersemmel Double-Digit Post Count

    Hi SF-crew!

    Quick question: Can I use the barbell overhead press + dips as a substitute for the BB bench press? It will only be for 6 weeks or so. But now that I am benching over BW and am working towards benching in the 200s I would hate to loose that strength.

    So far my best Incline Bench Press for 5 reps were 77.5kg/170lbs 1 month ago. At a BW of 80kg/176lbs in can do sets of 5 in the dip no problem and today I worked up to a top set of 5 in the overhead press with 57,5kg/126lbs.

    I haven't used the dip and overhead press before. But my idea is to use the overhead press as my main BB press to maintain my ability to press weights. And to use BW dips for extra chest and triceps stimulation.

    Other ideas?

    The gym I go to will shut down for renovations for a while and the only gym that is close enough to train during lunch break has a single full size barbell and no racks.

    Other options would be the dumbbell bench press or the bench press in the smith machine. But I would like to stick to barbells.

    As always, thanks for your time and help!
  2. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts

    Overhead press is not a substitute for benching.

    Dumbbell bench press, all the way. It builds great transferable strength, more so than barbell bench press IMHO.

    It is a lot tougher pound for pound.
  3. ShawnM

    ShawnM Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    +1 for the dumbbell press @North Coast Miller suggested. I'm a big fan of the floor press as well. I used it a ton when I was powerlifting and it's great.
    fractal, LukeV and Kaisersemmel like this.
  4. Kaisersemmel

    Kaisersemmel Double-Digit Post Count

    Ok, thanks for the quick answer! Kinda makes sense now that you said it. :D Didn't even think about DBs at first and only thought about them when I wrote my post.

    Can I use the PttP template or do you have any recommendations for frequent, short workouts using the DB bench?
  5. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Certified Instructor

    I think one-arm push-up can substitute, to some degree, if you focus on technique and do it in a challenging way for where you are. I just went 6 weeks without bench pressing while I've been working on OAPU building plus kettlebell snatching, and then did a 3x5 bench press session on Friday that felt just as strong as where I left off.
    fractal, Zack and IonRod like this.
  6. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    I wouldn't worry about six weeks. You shouldn't get weaker in that time. Working on the press in that period could be a good thing for you and the bench press. The dip is a great exercise as well. But the dumbbell bench is also great.
    Shahaf Levin, IonRod and ShawnM like this.
  7. IonRod

    IonRod Triple-Digit Post Count

    Treat these 6 weeks as a hypertrophy cycle. Do the lot. DB bench press, dips or triceps-focused supplementary exercises. Once you get access to the barbell, you can have a short phase of build up to a strength peak where you will learn to realize the hypertrophy gains in force production and maybe even set new PRs.
  8. Sasa Rajnovic

    Sasa Rajnovic Triple-Digit Post Count Team Leader

    Since they have a barbell you could use Floor Press. It is a good option, especially if you want to stick to barbells.
  9. More than 500 posts


    The Dip is one of the exercises that is regarded as "Upper Body Squats".

    Dip amount to being the ultimate Decline Bench Press.

    Pat Casey

    Casey was the first to Bench Press 600 lbs in a T-Shirt. Dips were of the main Auxiliary Exercise Casey used to Bench 600.

    The Benefits of Dips

    1) There is a lot of carry over from Dips to the Bench Press; the same muscle are being trained.

    2) You can push Dip to failure or near failure with out having to worry about it getting stuck on your chest.

    3) You can perform Accentuated Eccentric Dips. Using your legs to assist in getting into the locked out Dip Position and the lowering yourself.

    Kenny Croxdale
  10. Zack

    Zack Triple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Don't sleep on the humble push-up.

    My powerlifting athletes have seen tremendous BP success by adding 50-100 push-ups 2-3x per week.
    Anna C likes this.
  11. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    Care to go into more detail? Both with the push-ups and the results.
  12. fractal

    fractal More than 500 posts

    All good choices listed above. I used to love floor presses.
    Philippe Geoffrion and Bret S. like this.
  13. Jason Kavanagh

    Jason Kavanagh Double-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    As said above, use the DB bench press as a substitute but use the dips also.
    It's hard to beat a DB presses and dips combo for chest strength
  14. Zack

    Zack Triple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor


    Here's the breakdown of the most recent meet cycle:

    Meghan had a limited training schedule (3-4 sessions over a 10 day training week). Each day focused on a particular power lift but all included 3-4 sets of 8-20 push-ups depending on the variation.

    Despite relative infrequent benching and a history of shoulder issues, she hit 80kg at 69kg bodyweight for an easy PR.

    Tracy had a volume total to shoot for in 2 sessions per week -> 60+ reps in as few sets as possible. Within a few weeks, sets of 20 were feeling good and the BP weights were flying.

    She hit 90kg, a 7.5kg increase over just about 5 months since 2018 Nationals.

    Here are the lifts (Bench starts at 5:15)

    Of course, the push-ups were just a piece of the overall training pie, but both athletes noted how much better bench went with the increased push-up work.
  15. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Certified Instructor

    Awesome video. Love that hand off for Tracy from Jen Thompson!

    Interesting how the pushups helped them both.

    And WOW what a deadlift at the end! Awesome.

    @Oscar I hope you're enjoying getting to train with Tracy while she's in Argentina!
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  16. Kaisersemmel

    Kaisersemmel Double-Digit Post Count

    Cool video @Zack! Thanks for sharing and congratulations to your lifter!

    Guess I will start doing more pushups :D

    EDIT: BTW, I ended up rotating through the Barbell Press, Dip and DB Bench Press doing 2 of them each workout. Press+Dip one day. Dip+DB Becnh the next. Followed by DB Bench+Press.
    Zack likes this.
  17. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    Thanks for the explanation. Those are great results. I have to say I was surprised by the idea - push-ups aren't the most typical exercise in a powerlifting program. But of course, it's a press.
    Zack likes this.

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