On Facebook, February 10th, I asked this question: “If you want a big raw bench, you need an equally strong back?”

I know a bunch of extremely powerful raw benchers; 500, 600 to 700 plus pounds. And some even have the ability to rep out 400lbs, like its 135lbs. I wonder if they also agree that back muscles are the driving force behind their big bench? Some of the top bench presses make a living coaching / training, but I’m going to ask them to comment. From my personal experience, “a strong back” is top on the list. When I bench, and only do a short back accessory exercise, my bench starts to tank!

Here are a few subject matter expert replies:

Rob T.T. McCray (a 900lb bencher) “ One of the most important body parts is a big strong back! You should do twice as much for your back as you do for your bench and your numbers will fly thru the roof

Brandon Lilly (810lb raw deadlift) My first powerlifting coach said “I’ve seen guys with big arms, pecs, and legs that weren’t very strong. I’ve yet to meet a guy with a big back that was weak.”

Dave Brown (2,120 Raw Total) “Big strong back and shoulders. Get your back strong then get your shoulders strong and everything else will fall in line. I’m not a big raw bencher by any means. I’m closing in on 500 but as I’m getting my back strength up and shoulder strength up I’m seeing my bench go up

Matt Wenning (2,210 Raw Total) “Yes very true.”  Learn more about Matt’s training here at Elite Fitness: The Best of Matt Wenning
Here are some back accessory exercise:

Any rowing exercise
Bent over Barbell Rows
Bent over one arm dumbbell rows
Land mind Rows
Chin-ups to chest
Seated Pull down Cable rows to chest
Seated Cable rows

Here are some chest accessory exercises for bench:

BB French Press
Close Grip Bench Press or Incline Close Grip Bench Press
Bench Press Rack Lock Outs
Dips or Dumbbell Bench Press
Earthquake bar Isometrics holds / and full reps

For sets and reps, I train these exercise like a bodybuilder, med-heavy weight, high reps (10 – 12 or more) and (3 to 4 sets). Depending on time, I will do giant sets of three exercises, like circuit training.

“When you switch things up, the brains reward chemical, dopamine, is released, which prepares the body for action,”