Why The Barbell Bench Press Sucks Ass

Bros, I’m about commit the most unforgivable sin a lifting bro can commit. It’s not easy, but I swear it’s something I’ve got to say. I’ve been dying to get this off my chest (fuck, I’m punny) for a while now. I can’t take it anymore. Here it goes…

The barbell bench press sucks.

There, I said it. I know to most that probably sounds like blasphemy, but it’s fucking true. The barbell bench press just plain sucks when it comes to building a chest that actually looks good.

Sure, it works for beginners. Everything works for beginners. That’s why when you walked into the gym and started benching, you got results. It wasn’t because the barbell bench is so awesome, it’s because damn near anything was going to work.

Why does the barbell bench press suck ass?

First off, let’s get it out of the way that there’s absolutely no reason you need to barbell bench press. Unless you’re a powerlifter, the barbell bench press doesn’t need to be in your program at all.

That actually goes for all exercises. There isn’t a single move you HAVE to do; no matter what gym memes may say.

As far as chest development is concerned, this is where I really take issue with the barbell bench. Most of us like to lift a good amount of weight, but more importantly look like we lift.

There’s a difference between the two.

For moving maximum weight, the barbell bench works really well, because the weight is distributed throughout and across a barbell. But when it comes to actually working your chest, the barbell bench just plain sucks.

Instead of the chest getting a ton of work, the shoulders and triceps also play a huge role, taking away from the attention that you’re trying to give your man boobs. This is partly because your range of motion is limited, and it’s also just the case with most compound movements that are supposed to focus on the chest.

Ever wondered why people who bench all the time usually develop shoulder injuries of some kind? Most of the stress being handled by the shoulders instead of the chest is your answer.

Also, while we’re at it, quit fucking doing the decline bench. Seriously. The decline mostly works triceps thanks to the short range of motion, and when was the last time you saw a dude and thought he needed to really work on his lower chest?

Most bros who would like a better chest/shoulder girdle are seriously lacking when it comes to upper chest development. What helps this area? Definitely not the decline bench, and not the flat bench either.

What should you do instead?

When it comes to chest development, I like using a mix of methods. Pressing variations are fun, but you can’t neglect flys either. Here are 3 chest exercises for you to start incorporating instead of spending all your time benching and winding up with saggy boobs.

  • Incline dumbbell press.

Upper chest is where it’s at bros. It makes your shoulder girdle appear fuller, and gives you a better overall aesthetic look. The incline dumbbell press is the shit for this. Dumbbells let you get more range of motion, as well as allow you to focus more on the chest by not locking out the movement and adding more tension.

This isn’t a movement you need to be working for a 1-rep max. Instead shoot for accumulating volume. Think 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps for better chest development.

  • Incline dumbbell fly.

Part of the function of the pecs is to work as adductor muscles. Similar to the function of those muscles you train at the gym with the good girl/bad girl machines. They are responsible for bringing your arms together. Flys train this quality better than anything else.

Just like the incline press, using dumbbells for this move allows you maximum range of motion, as well as the ability to create a ton of tension in the pecs, all factors that lead to serious growth.

  • Squeeze press.

This is a lesser-known chest exercise that deserves way more love than people give it. It can be done with two plates or dumbbells. You squeeze the weights together as hard as possible, and then perform a bench press.

This move is awesome because it forces a maximum contraction throughout the pecs for the entirety of the rep, unlike most other pressing variations. It also places an emphasis on the middle portion of the chest, which can make your boobs look way better when you take your shirt off.

Go forth and train your chest properly bros. Not only will you get better results, you won’t have to wait in line for the barbell bench on International Chest Day.

Tanner is a fitness professional and writer based in the metro Atlanta area. His training focus is helping normal people drop absurd amounts of fat, become strong like bull, and get in the best shape of their life.