The Board Press
“SJ, what the hell is a board press?!”
The vast majority of gym-goers have never heard or seen the board press before, this comes as no surprise as the board press is an old school exercise which you’re unlikely to see in conventional gyms today.
Step into an old school bodybuilding gym in Indonesia and you’ll often find a pile of wood stacked next to the smith machine or power rack… welcome to the board press.
Although the board press is an old school exercise the big benefits of performing this exercise have not magically disappeared over the years.
Want big triceps?
Want to improve your bench press?
The Big Benefits of the Old School Board Press
You’ll Strengthen Your Sticking Points
The board press allows us to hone in on the portion of our bench press we’re struggling with.
If you’re finding the top portion of your bench press to be your sticking point you’ll be able to build up proficiency and strength in this portion of the movement by using a number of boards (4-6) to replicate this movement.
Stuck at the bottom of your bench press? Once again, no problems! Using 1 or 2 boards will allow you to focus on this bottom portion of the repetition.
You’ll Build Beastly Triceps
The board press places a heavy emphasis on triceps development – instead of performing useless exercises like the triceps kickback, opt to add the board press to your arm day routine and continually apply progressive overload (increasing weight & reps) to stack on size and strength to your triceps.
You’ll Forge Explosive Pressing Power Via Pause Reps
By allowing the barbell to ‘sink’ into the boards at the bottom portion of your repetition and pausing for a moment you’ll be able to work on those explosive fast twitch muscle fibers by driving the barbell upward as fast and powerfully as possible.
For boxers and explosive-power oriented athletes this makes the board press a fantastic exercise to implement into their functional training routine.
Here’s What You’ll Need To Get Started Board Pressing
- Between 1 and 5 planks of 2×6 wood
- A smith machine or power rack
- A spotter
- A jumper or resistance band if performing the board press alone
Board Press Exercise Form
Lay on your flat bench as if you were going to perform a regular barbell bench press, however have a spotter hold between 1 and 5 boards (2×6 wood planks) on top of your chest.
Maintain a slight arch in your back, squeeze your scapula together and bring your feet in close to the bench as you squeeze your core, ready to unrack the bar.
Unrack the bar with either a shoulder width grip (chest oriented) or close grip (triceps oriented).
Lower the bar until it touches the boards, ensuring your elbows do not flare out.
Pause for a moment before driving the bar back up, squeeze the bar as if you were attempting to snap it in half as you press upward.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Quick Notes On The Board Press
- No spotter? Place the boards under a jumper to hold them in place
- Don’t want to wear a jumper? Use a resistance band to secure the boards to your chest
- Want to place emphasis on the triceps? Use a narrow grip
- Want to place emphasis on the chest to increase your bench press? Use a wide grip
- Struggling at the top portion (locking out) your bench press? Use more boards (between 4 and 6) to train the top portion of the repetition
- Struggling at the bottom of your bench press? Opt to use 1 or 2 boards to further develop the initial pressing movement of your bench press