Brockensteins (Band Pull-Outs)

TAGS: bench press set up, lats, triceps, back, bands, lockout, bench press

Todd Brock is one of the most anal training partners I've ever had. He's always thinking, watching, thinking, analyzing, thinking, watching… well, you get the point. He wants to figure it all out. Because of this attention to detail, he's been one of the best training partners I've ever had.

Todd was a member of Westside before I arrived in 1990 and still makes his way into the gym. I guess you can say he's picked up a few things along the way. Over a year ago I began to have him really take a look at my bench technique. I had to make a few changes to my technique because of injuries and bench shirts.

Bill Crawford was a huge help with showing me how to set up, press the bar and basically relearn how to press. (If you haven't been to one of his seminars, I highly recommend it.) One of the biggest problems I was having was being able to hold the bar at the top of the movement and getting the bar out of the rack. This was due to several injuries I've sustained in the past, coupled with my lack of holding barbells.

We addressed this problem with a few different special exercises cycled in two-week blocks. I also began to hold all my heavy weights at the top for two to three seconds. Todd remembered Jessie Kellum showing him a barbell pull-out movement and decided to have me give it a try. After a few sets we'd taken all the weight off the bar and began adding bands that pulled the bar back. This worked fairly well but wasn't giving me enough downward force, so we added more bands, this time pulling down. As you can see in the picture, we have bands pulling the bar back and bands pulling the bar down.

To do this movement, you set up with your body lower than normal on the bench. Grab the bar with your bench grip and pull the bar out like you were going to bench. Keep pulling the bar as you would a pullover and pull to a point 10-12 inches farther than your bench press start position (more toward you feet). No need to be exact; if you go too far you'll know it because it won't feel tight in the lats.

The real trick to this movement is to pause for a two count each time you pass your bench press start point. So for each rep you'll have two pauses for a total of four seconds. Each rep should take five to six seconds. Make sure to use as much band as you can. You shouldn't be able to do more than three or four reps per set. If you can, the band is too light.

How many sets should you do? Who the hell knows? Do what you think you need to do. When I was really trying to focus on this, I was doing eight to ten sets. Now that it's no longer a problem, I don't do them at all.

While this is a great movement, I can’t overstate the value of learning to hold the bar at the start and finish of each heavy rep.

Training Mistakes:

Only using bands that pull down. You have to have the back band!

Making this a pullover movement. This is for your bench; your take-off should be exactly the same as when you bench.

Not going heavy. The bands have to be heavy to make this work. We aren't trying to get you stronger to lift light weights. You need to get stronger to lift big weights!

If you don’t have a problem un-racking weights then don't do this movement! A special movement isn't some fancy new bodybuilding exercise. It's a movement with a very specific purpose. This isn't intended to give you wider lats; it's intended to help you with the start of your bench press.

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