WSBB Blog: Advanced Press Exercises

WSBB Education
Mon Apr 26, 2021

Tags: Bench Training, Accommodating Resistance, Avoiding Accommodation

Time to Read: 3 min

Whether you are a powerlifter, a strongman, or an Olympic weightlifter, every strength athlete can benefit from increased pressing strength. At some point during your lifting career, accommodation will begin to set in and gains will slow down. When this happens, you will need to change up your approach to accessory exercises in order to improve.

Below, we will go over a few different pressing exercises to make sure you are getting the most out of your bench and overhead press training.

Close Grip Bench Press with Purple Bands to a Two Board

This exercise is a great builder of tricep, rear delt, and upper back strength. The barbell should be gripped with your hands just outside of the smooth part of the bar. As you let the bar descend you will want to absorb the tension into your triceps and upper back, making a controlled pause onto the board, and pressing with as much force as possible.

When done for reps between one and three, this exercise is a great main exercise to increase limit strength in the bench press. When done for sets of five to eight reps it makes for an excellent strength, strength endurance, and mass building exercise.

Standing Overhead Press with Red Minibands

A great way to increase your bar speed and lockout strength in the overhead press is through the use of minibands. To attach them to the bar for a standing overhead press, you can either use dumbbells and kettlebells heavy enough to anchor the band, or use a pin attached to a squat rack. This exercise can be used as both a main and accessory exercise.

As a main exercise we recommend working up to a top set of one to three reps. As an accessory, it is best to do 5 x 5 volume work using the heaviest amount of bar weight you can while completing the prescribed sets and reps. For additional variation, you can perform these as a push press.

Axle Bar Volume Bench Press

The axle bar is one of the best bars to press with to improve arm and upper back strength. This exercise can be done as either a substitute for DE upper, or as an accessory exercise. In either case, the suggested set and rep scheme is 5 x 5 pressing the heaviest amount of bar weight you can while completing the prescribed sets and reps successfully.

Changing up your grip will allow you to target different areas of the triceps and shoulders. Additionally, this bar is generally easier on the shoulders.

Football Bar with Heavy Chain

This bar is one of the best when it comes to training the triceps, forearms, and delts. With chain added, you get an additional level of instability added at lockout. As the chain unloads you gain more control over the bar allowing you to properly bring the bar to your chest and press as explosively as possible.

Once the chain begins to ascend, the bar becomes increasingly unstable, resulting in increased muscle contractions in the upper body. This exercise can also be performed to a two or a three board to make it more tricep specific. It makes a great option for max effort work five reps and under.

As an accessory exercise, doing high rep sets in a fatigued state reduces the rep quality, so doing these for more than five reps is generally avoided.


If you want to continue building your press you will inevitably have to begin utilizing different exercises within your programming. The above exercises will work very well for intermediate and advanced lifters. As accommodation sets in and the gains begin to slow down, you must make changes to your approach.