1st T-Nation Article, Ed Coan Answers, Bench Press Alone, PRs, Burger Bulk and Stuff You Should Read

August 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

This past week The past couple of weeks has been pretty damn good.

1st Article Published On T-Nation!

T-Nation Reverse Grip Bench Press

I had my first article was published on T-Nation!

The awesome thing was, it was my first time submitting an article to T-Nation!

The original article I submitted tipped the scales at a little over 4000 words. The one that's on T-Nation's website is roughly 2100 words. So I guess I need to figure out what to do with the rest of the stuff I wrote that wasn't published!

There has been some mention of the reverse grip in previous articles on T-nation, mainly talking about how the RGBP is a shoulder-friendly variation of the bench press:

Ben Bruno writes about the reverse grip floor press and reverse grip squeeze press in his article, "7 Shoulder-Friendly Pressing Variations" and says:

"Using a supinated grip externally rotates the humerus, which many will find to be more shoulder-friendly than using a standard pronated grip."

Although not a full blown bench press, you get the general idea the reverse grip is a little easier on the shoulders.

Fellow Canadian Lee Boyce wrote about the RGBP as an alternative to the bench press in his article, "Discover Hidden Shoulder-Killers":

"Reverse-grip bench press — Basically the same as the standard bench press set-up, but turn your hands so that the palms are facing towards your head instead of your feet. This will externally rotate the whole arm, which puts the shoulders in a much more favorable position for the lift, decreasing injury potential without compromising range of motion"

However, there is no step-by-step, "how to" tutorial on how to execute the lift on T-Nation (or anywhere else online that I could find, at least with pictures and how to do the RGBP without spotters).

Until now.

You're welcome, internet 😉

Other Notes

Header Picture: The image they chose for the article was interesting. I was kinda-sorta expecting someone more oiled up and shirtless. Maybe I'll submit a pic of myself shirtless, pumped and oiled up next time I submit an article to T-Nation haha

Also, I noticed the bar looks like a fat bar. The safety pins seem a little high, and I don't see the J-hooks. But it could be the angle of the camera.

TL;DR Bullet Points: Another thing I want to address is this:

Heal Your Joints

I did not write the 3 bullet points under the heading, "Here's what you need to know".

In fact, when I submitted the article I don't recall T-Nation using the 3 bullet points before the article just yet. I would have chosen a different wording than "heal your joints", but I think most people got the idea that the RGBP was a shoulder friendly variation of the bench press rather than an exercise that will miraculously heal your joints.


The reception to this article has been pretty good! The article has gotten >280 Facebook likes, and people have made positive comments in the "LiveSpill". It seemed like there were some people who came out of the closet about benching using a reverse grip because of some shoulder problems as well.

However, there were some who immediately dismissed the movement, pre-judging the exercise and giving their "opinions" without even thoroughly examining it (that is, actually spending some time performing the RGBP for a few training session. To be honest, I don't think they even read the article in it's entirety!).

But that was to be expected: we are on the internet we are humans after all.

Even though the reverse grip is not a new exercise, it's a rarely executed variation of the bench press (at least that I know of). It's also perpetuated by misinformation and preconceptions. The RGBP is different than what most people are accustomed to seeing, and it is a relatively "unknown" exercise. Even those who know of the RGBP probably have not been under the bar performing this exercise, let alone pressing  anything near their bench press 1RM.

The fear of the unknown, prejudice of something that is different and it's accompanying reactions is probably not going to go away anytime soon, no matter what the subject matter is.

I think as more and more people start trying out the RGBP and start making progress without pain (and not going to "snap city" or not killing themselves as some would think), and seeing or reading how other people are using the RGBP, it's going to become a more common exercise as time goes by.

It might even come to a point where the reverse grip is the preferred way to bench press and people will be saying that the regular bench press is an injury prone exercise that will lead to snap city!


Ed Coan Answers My Question

I'm not the type of person who asks a ton of questions because I like the satisfaction of figuring things out by myself, but when I am stumped I like to ask those who have a lot more experience points than I do.

I had a problem I couldn't figure out, so I asked non other than Ed Coan.

I posted a question on Ed Coan's Facebook page about my problems about my back slipping on the bench:

Ed Coan Strength Inc

Well, he answered!

It looked as though Ed Coan already knew the answer as he was nodding his head.

So, basically I'm "not keeping back tight enough", and "locking shoulder blades enough".


With my new bench press setup (placing feet on the bench first, lift my hips up and put pressure into the bench with my traps, then put my feet to the ground - you can see this in the bench press video later on in this blog post) makes it easier to get my tight and lock my shoulder blades before unracking the bar.

Bench Press Safely Alone

I also had an article published on Fitocracy titled "How To Bench Press Safely Without A Spotter"...on the same day as the T-Nation article!

Bench Press Forever Alone

Some people have said to use dumbbells instead, but 150 lb + dumbbells are kinda hard to come by from what I've experienced, getting it safely in position is a bit of a pain in the ass, and increasing the load from workout to workout by a small amount requires something like PlateMates (magnetic microplates that attaches to dumbbells). Not sure if PlateMates would work on those rubber coated dumbbells though.

Also, failing with dumbbells can result in one of the dumbbells smashing into your face (this has happened to me before).

PRs During The Last 2 Weeks

I hit a few PRs in the last couple of weeks:

Front Squat: 400 lb x 1 (1RM)

No knee wraps front squat PR done on 2 Wednesdays ago.

Low Bar Squat: 500 lb x 2 (2RM)

I've attempted 2 reps with 500 a few times in the past, and normally I would miss the second rep. Pretty happy with this.

I think I rushed the descent during the 2nd rep, because I remember losing tension and I didn't feel as tight as I dropped down, which made the rep a little more difficult and ugly. Still recovered and popped it up though. I'm thinking on a solid day, I could probably get 3 reps at 500 lb.

I attempted 3 reps with 500 lb last Friday, but missed on the last rep. NEX TIME.

Reverse Grip Bench Press: 355 lb x 3 (3RM)

Only a +5 lb PR, but I'll take it.

You can also see what my new bench press set up looks like. Definitely feels a lot tighter, and I don't think I've slipped yet.

Also got a 4RM at 335 lb.

Niagara Falls Burger Bulk

I took a few days off from training to go to Niagara Falls! Did a lot of walking and burger-eating.

Took a few pictures, but this picture is probably the funniest of them all (click the picture for a larger view):

Anyway, check this out:

Stuff You Should Read

  1. Master The Reverse-Grip Bench Press by John Phung
  2. How To Bench Press Safely Without A Spotter by John Phung
  3. Who Do You Listen To? By Jonathan Mike
  4. Powerlifting 101: Why You Need to Compete...Now by Dave Kirschen

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.

Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)


  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011