Whether you don't have a weight bench or a bench press station
available or you simply want to try something different, you can perform the
flat bench press from the stability ball bridge position. The stability ball
bench press is not only a bench press substitute but it has some advantages
over using a bench.
The first advantage of doing the chest press on the stability ball is you
must also work your entire lower body including your glutes, hamstrings,
quadriceps as well as your core when you stabilize in the supine bridge
position. Working multiple muscle groups during a single exercise is
especially valuable to people who are trying to lose weight.
Another advantage of doing the barbell bench press on a stability ball is
you are able to retract your shoulder blades better than on a bench.
Retracting the shoulder blades is made easier because of the surface of the
ball which is softer and more rounded than a standard weight bench. Being
able to retract and stabilize the shoulder blades allows your pec muscles to
work most efficiently.
Safety Considerations with the Stability Ball Bench
The biggest danger is falling off the stability ball so it is essential
for anyone doing this exercise to have already mastered the stability ball
bridge. A spotter is recommended every time you do this exercise. The
strength and inflation of your stability ball is important as well. If you
are using a heavy weight and you have a weak ball, it could explode and send
you falling to the floor with a loaded barbell on top of you. Make sure you
high quality stability ball which can withstand heavy loads before
you attempt the bench press on it.
How to Properly Perform the Stability Ball Barbell Chest Press
Start: If you have a racked barbell in a squat rack or you will have a
trainer or partner hand you the barbell, start from a seated position about 1
foot behind the barbell. Choose your grip of choice on the barbell and walk
forward with your feet until your upper back, shoulders and head are able to
rest on the stability ball, you should be looking straight up to the ceiling.
Your eyes should be looking straight up at the barbell.
Begin the motion: Retract your shoulder blades (squeeze them back
together) and have your trainer/workout partner help you unrack the barbell or
do it yourself. Keeping your shoulder blades retracted, lower the barbell until
it either lightly touches or a couple inches above the nipple level. Pause for a
split second then push the barbell back to its original position. Once you are
finished with the set, rack the barbell, keep holding on to it as you walk
backwards with your feet and sit up back in the original position.
Breathing: You should take a long inhalation as you lower the barbell
under control towards you chest. At the mid-point of the rep from the time
the bar is stopped and as you start it moving, it is best to hold your
breath for that split second to ensure you have optimal intra-abdominal
pressure, then fully exhale as you complete the repetition.