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Best Bench Press Equipment: 4 Accessories & Tools for Strength

May 05, 2018

So, you want to know what the best bench press equipment is?

No, I’m not talking the bench, the barbell or the press stand.

I’m talking about the best accessories and tools to use while bench pressing.

Smith Machine Bench Press Benefits - Wrist Wraps

It’s all about optimizing your gains, and there is equipment out there meant to help you do that!

One of those accessories that I suggest utilizing for bench press isour Dark Iron Fitness suede wrist wraps.

I know what you’re thinking, “He’s giving away 1/4th of the article, already?”

Well, yes and no.

Wrist wraps are one of the 4 things I will be discussing in this article, but with far more depth than just “they work good.”

In no way am I saying you have to use, invest or seek out these accessories.

However, in my opinion, they are some of the best bench press equipment that you could invest in!

Now, let’s get into it, and see what can make your bench press way, way, way better.


Best Bench Press Equipment — What’s the Point?

Turning the Bench Press into Something Better

Best Bench Press Equipment - Bench PressYou may be asking yourself, “Why would I need equipment for bench pressing?”

I would say, good question!

The reality is, you don’t need anything I recommend or discuss in this article.

But, when it comes to wants vs needs, your wants aren’t always useless.

Sure, you may not need to add accessories to your bench press, but maybe you want to!

And, if you do, I would recommend you follow through.

Adding certain accessories and equipment for bench pressing can make your benching better.

Don’t settle in the gym and stick with what you know.

If you can get maximum results, or even just slightly better ones with implementing these tools, why not?

Related: Different Types of Dumbbells – Which is Best for You?


Different Kinds of Resistance

Best Bench Press Equipment - Bench Press ResistanceAnother awesome reason to add in these tools, besides getting better, is through the way some can provide different resistance.

When you do barbell bench press (or dumbbell), you can get very used to the movement and how it feels.

There isn’t much variance in the exercise, even when adding heavier weight.

Sure, the added weight makes the lifts harder, but it doesn’t change any of the dynamics of the lift.

A couple of these accessories to add to your bench pressing will almost completely change how the benching movement feels.

Different kinds of resistance, for any exercise, is always good.

Related: Chest Exercises with Resistance Bands That Build Muscle


Optimizing Your Form

Best Bench Press Equipment - Bench FormThe other aspect, which I see as extremely important regarding the use of equipment while benching is the optimization of form.

To me, form is always one of the things you need to focus on, train, and be aware of.

Besides helping in ways of changing how you bench, your speed, resistance, etc. — the way you play with form is another element to boosting your bench.

Many people have different approaches to bench press form.

How much should you arch your back?

Where should the barbell come down to?

How much can your elbows flare?

Can your butt come off the bench?

All of these questions are important when discussing form, but even more, so is using equipment to facilitate your form.


Best Bench Press Equipment — What to Use

Best Bench Press Equipment #1: Resistance Bands (Chains)

Best Bench Press Equipment - Resistance Bands BenchThough my list of the 4 best bench press equipment choices is not in order, the first on our list is the use of resistance bands (and chains, as well).

I think resistance bands are one of the best because they add that unique resistance I was talking about.

If you strap a resistance band to each side of the barbell and weigh it down at the bottom, it’ll add resistance when you press up and before you rerack the barbell.

This can also be done with one resistance band stretched from one of the barbell sleeves, then held under your bench and strapped to the other sleeve.

In my opinion, this is one of the easiest ways to optimize your bench press with an accessory that can fit in your pocket (sometimes).

It doesn’t really get any more convenient than that!

I’m also including heavy chains in this category, as they provide a similar style of resistance to your bench press.

However, they are probably more optimal due to the fact that on the negative of your bench, you’ll need to stabilize the weight much more.

The downside to this is that heavy chains are not convenient to carry around with you and they are very rarely found in a conventional gym — meaning you’d be buying some.

Related: Chains for Speed, Strength, and Power


Best Bench Press Equipment #2: Wrist Wraps

Best Bench Press Equipment - Wrist WrapsLike I stated at the beginning of this article, wrist wraps are one of the best bench press equipment options out there.

Wrist wraps fall in line with the optimization of your form.

Using wrist wraps will keep your wrists tight, straight, and protected.

You will notice that you can lift the weight more comfortably and in a safer manner.

Furthermore, the use of wrist wraps often allows for you to load more weight on and reach progressive overload faster, from my experience.

If you are interested in utilizing wrist wraps during your benching (and other exercises), I suggest giving the Dark Iron Fitness suede wrist wraps a shot!

With our lifetime warranty, you can’t go wrong.


Best Bench Press Equipment #3: Sling Shot

Best Bench Press Equipment - Sling Shot Bench PressThe Sling Shot was created as a way to keep benching even with injuries.

In my opinion, this is one of the coolest accessories to use while bench pressing.

It helps by giving you moderate assistance at the bottom of the press and keeping your form stable.

So, in a sense, it is used to make your form proper and keep you benching exceptional weight.

Sure, this may not be the most widely used benching accessory, but I do believe it is one of the best, if not one of the more innovative.


Best Bench Press Equipment #4: An Adjustable Bench

Best Bench Press Equipment - Adjustable BenchThe fourth of the best bench press equipment is an adjustable bench.

Most gyms will have a static flat bench, decline bench, and incline bench made specifically for benching.

But, one of the best ways to bench, especially in your home gym is with an adjustable one.

This allows for you to bench in all three positions, at varying degrees, at the change of an instant.

There’s really nothing more useful and beneficial than that.

You will hit all different parts of your chest muscles and get those gigantic pecs you want.

Yes, I put the adjustable bench as #4, but it is probably the most important, useful, and overall beneficial to you, even outside of just bench press.


Other Ways to Optimize Your Bench Press

More of the Best Bench Press Equipment to Use

  • Fat Gripz – a super cool way to work on strengthening your bench by not relying on the use of a tight grip on a thin bar. Fat Gripz will make your use of the barbell much more challenging and help build your grip strength through the use of a much wider opening in your hands.
  • Board Press – doing board presses is where someone holds a board at your chest and you bring the barbell down to the board. Once you hit the board, you can then push the weight back up. This challenges you by conditioning the momentum of your benching and removing the urge to let the bar bounce off your chest.
  • Chalk – pretty straight-forward here! Using hand chalk to keep a dry, tight grip that doesn’t slide around on the bar. Usually, having a better grip will make your overall form better, as you will struggle less to maintain the bar path and won’t be slipping all around due to sweat build up.
  • Weightlifting Belt – not everyone will need/prefer to have a belt on while benching, but it does and can help. This is more so important for those who can lift very heavy. Keeping your form on the bench is important to avoid a hernia or cramping in your lower back from overarching.
  • Lifting Gloves – another way to get a strong grip, as with the use of chalk, but also just a nice way to protect your hands. There have been times where I’ve benched with gloves and actually put up better numbers, reps, and sets because I was just way more comfortable during the movement.

And of course, there are other accessories and different types of equipment out there.

Related: Best Equipment to Help Your Bench Press


Things You May Overlook

Best Bench Press Equipment - Retracted ScapulaOther things you may overlook while benching is the options you can choose with form.

You can do barbell bench press from the ground to get rid of leg drive.

Also, you can keep your feet on the bench to limit leg drive as well.

Hand positioning on the bar can make a difference (wide grip, narrow grip, false grip).

Some people claim flaring your elbows out will allow for heavier lifts.

Others say you should always keep your elbows close to your body and have your scapula fully retracted.

There is so much you can play with when benching, but a lot of it gets overlooked.

I’d say lean towards your most comfortable positioning, as long as it isn’t detrimental to your health.

Related: The Top 5 Best Olympic Barbells Worth Buying in 2018


Accessory Exercises that You Can Do

Along with the use of actual accessories — you can do accessory movements.

For chest, I would recommend just a few to focus on.

  1. Push-Ups are a great accessory movement for your chest and helping with prepping for bench
  2. Chest Dips can be done to really amplify the way you build your chest and control your bodyweight (and added weight if you wear a dip belt).
  3. Cable Chest Flys would be the third and last main accessory movement I would recommend. The cables allow you to hit the pecs from all different angles and the squeezing of the cables isn’t hindered or limited by anything, as the cables can follow the natural path of your arms.

Best Bench Press Equipment - Chest DipsYou can look up other chest accessory movements that are out there, but I would focus on these three, for now, to help with your bench pressing.

Don’t overcomplicate things when you don’t need to, you can build a big bench fairly simply.

Related: How to Get Insanely Strong: 13 Strength Tips


Final Thoughts: The Best Bench Press Equipment

Do You Need to Have these Accessories?

Best Bench Press Equipment - Bench PressNo, you definitely do not need to use accessories for bench pressing.

Your bench press can be done without any of these things I’ve recommended and still be strong.

Everyone is different, though, which means some can really benefit from these tools.

Take a look at where you are in your journey and question whether you need help with form or adjusting resistance in your bench pressing.

Related: Smith Machine Bench Press Benefits: Will You Get Big?


Benching for Strength and Muscle Gains Without Equipment

Best Bench Press Equipment - Big ChestWhen you are benching for strength and muscle gains, always work towards progressive overload.

Continually lift more, heavier, and with better form.

You definitely don’t need equipment to achieve that.

But, even if you aren’t using accessories to help you lift better, I’d say to focus on form and safety still.

That is why I recommend wrist wraps (or gloves with wrist protection) for benching.

The muscle and strength can only come if you can continue to lift — and lift safely.

In time, you’ll get better and better — benching just takes time and patience.

Yet, if you ever get curious, or reach a plateau, at least think about utilizing these accessories.

Until next time, continue to bench heavy in the gym and keep making those gains!

Related: National Bench Press Records (And How to Train to Set Them)