Chest day means bench press day for most active guys, which isn’t always a bad thing. The exercise press is an old standard for a reason—but that shouldn’t mean that you’re doing nothing but the same old flat bench and barbell press every single time. Switch up your routine or add a little extra spice to finish off your workouts if you’re after next-level gains.
Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., uses moves like this half-bench single-arm finisher to work his chest in different, creative ways that you haven’t seen before. You’ll work your chest with the pressing—but you’ll hit other muscle groups, too.
“This bench press is all about core accountability, about making sure your glutes and abs are turned on as you’re benching, and that you’re not simply lying on the bench,” Samuel says.
To perform the half-bench single-arm finisher, you’ll need a flat bench and a set of dumbbells. You should start light here, but there’s room to go heavier once you get the hang of the movement—just make sure that you’re able to maintain your balance as you press the weight up with proper form.
- Lie on the bench holding a dumbbell in your right hand with an overhand grip.
- Slide the right side of your torso off the side of the bench (your spine, half your torso, and one glute should be off).
- Extend your left arm straight out and squeeze your glutes and obliques hard to stay balanced.
- Press the weight up, squeezing your chest and obliques, then control the weight back down to your chest.
- Repeat the same process on the opposite side once you’ve finished the allotted number of reps.
The key to this finisher is being able to focus on pushing with multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
“This is a huge anti-rotational core challenge for every muscle that’s not on the bench,” Samuel says. “That challenge magnifies as you lower the weight and your torso wants to rotate off the bench some more. You’ll need to squeeze your glutes on both sides then. Finally, as you press the weight upwards, your obliques on the off-bench side will need to fire explosively to help you drive it upwards.”
To add the half-bench single-arm finisher to your chest day, aim for 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps per arm to close out the session. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.