The Truth about the Bench Press for Sports Performance

by Nick Tumminello |   Date Released : 20 Nov 2012
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Nick Tumminello

About the author: Nick Tumminello

Nick Tumminello is known as the “Trainer of Trainers.” He’s the owner of Performance University, which provides hybrid fitness training for athletes and educational programs for fitness professionals worldwide. As an educator, Nick has presented at international fitness conferences in Iceland, China and Canada. He’s also a regular presenter at events and fitness clubs throughout the U.S. Additionally, Nick has produced 15+ DVDs and regularly teaches mentorships in his hometown of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. As a personal trainer, Nick has worked with a variety of clients from NFL athletes to professional bodybuilders and figure models to exercise enthusiasts from all walks of life. He also served as the conditioning coach for the Ground Control MMA Fight Team. As an author, Nick is a regular contributor to several major fitness magazines including Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Oxygen, Muscle Mag, and FIGHT magazine, along with many of the world’s top personal training websites. He has been featured in two New York Times best- selling exercise books, as well as in the ACE Personal Trainer Manual: Fourth edition. Nick also writes a Hybrid Fitness Training blog at

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Comments (3)

Bidlingmeyer, Brian | 27 May 2013, 17:59 PM

I like the idea behind the article- that of shifting a paradigm from bench press as an INDICATOR of athletic performance, but I'm concerned that all but one of your photos show protracted and/or elevated scapula and anterior humeral drift at the start of the eccentric part of your unilateral pressing variations. shouldn't these clients be regressed? In this way, I think the bench press would be a far more beneficial tool for correcting movement dysfunction than would unilateral pressing exercises.

While that's an impressive one arm pushup, is it more important that the client is doing it, or that her scapula is so high it's in her ear?

As a learning tool, I think the Bench Press (movement) DIRECTLY translates to improving sports performance- by perfecting movement quality, the importance of which is undeniable in any sport.

Strachan, Gary | 27 Nov 2012, 03:58 AM

Nice article for pressing. I agree that the bench may give muscle mass which may help anyone, however won't be specific. As much as your functional exercises are good, I would present that to be truly functional they should be close as possible to the pushing action the client wants to perform in their day to day function or sport.

Keller, Susan | 22 Nov 2012, 17:57 PM

Grea article...the standard bench press is over-used and becomes the "go to" upper body execise because it has been accepted as the, as you have mentioned, one of the big lifts. Individual choose this, without the integration of joint stabilization exercises, to support all the "heavy" lifts. The idea of standing and single arm dependant exercises is a fantastic way to isolate muscle imbalances, focus on full body integration, and make a better well-rounded athlete. Great job! Keep up the research and continue to lead the industry in our quest for optimal health and balance.


Tim Mikulance ACE-CPT
BS-Exercise Science

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