Bench press 5-5-5, then:
1 Mile run
We recently acquired 3 new benches for a total of 4 benches in the box, which means we can start utilizing the bench press in our programming – this is a good thing. Here’s a quote from strength coach Mark Rippetoe that explains my feelings about the bench press:
The bench press is the best exercise for absolute strength in the upper body, because it allows the lifter to move heavier weights with the arms than any other exercise. It should be included in every barbell training program. But it is not the only lift we should do, and it frequently gets used as though it is.
The bench press gets a bad rap in many circles, especially in some circles of the CrossFit community, primarily because it’s overused and can lead to injury if it’s not balanced with overhead pressing, pulling, and development of the rest of the body. It’s also utilized as the end all be all definition of a person’s strength level in many gyms, hence the question “How much do you bench” you’d get asked by most people as a measure of how strong you are. In our box it’s just another exercise that will be used to develop upper body strength, and when done properly and not too frequently it’s a perfectly safe exercise. Spotting for the bench press is similar to the squat, where the spotter only assists in the lift if the upward movement ceases. Spotting on the bench is not used to help “bang out” a few more reps.
If you’ve done a great deal of bench press in the past you may find that our style is slightly different than you’re used to. We utilize a basic powerlifting style of bench press where the goal is to develop functional strength, not necessarily lifting the most weight possible. Lifting the most weight possible is the goal in the sport of Powerlifting, which is a noble sport, but not our goal in CrossFit classes. The key elements of this style of lifting are feet shoulder width apart and firmly pressed on the ground, butt on the bench, lumbar curve held, shoulder blades squeezed together, hands separated so that your forearms are close to perpendicular with the ground at the bottom of the lift, bar travelling straight up and down to the middle of the sternum, eyes gazing at a fixed point on the ceiling and not the bar, deep breath at the top held until you get back to the top of the lift. Unlike some of our other lifts where dumping is possible, we use a spotter for every lift except the lightest warm-up sets. We’ll of course go over all of this in painstaking detail as we do all other lifts so no need to worry, it’ll be fun!