Benefits of the Larsen Press

Challenge your Chest and Core: The Benefits of the Larsen Press

You have probably seen the Dragon Flag exercise on social media, but we doubt you have heard of the Larsen Press. We do not usually highlight circus exercises that appeal more to social media influencers than biohackers, but the Larsen Press is different. Here's why.

Named after Norwegian powerlifter Adrian Larsen, this variation of the bench press offers unique benefits that can significantly improve your core strength. Here is what you need to know about the Larsen Press is, how to perform it, and how it can help your performance in and out of the gym.

What is the Larsen Press?

The Larsen Press is a variation of the traditional bench press where the lifter performs the exercise with their legs extended straight out on the bench rather than planted on the floor. This seemingly simple adjustment shifts the focus and challenges the lifter’s upper body stability and core strength in new ways.

Because of its difficulty, you should use a much lighter weight when doing this exercise. Lifters should not attempt PRs or other milestones when doing the Larsen Press.

Larsen Press Banner

How to Perform the Larsen Press

  1. Set Up: Lie down on a bench with your feet extended straight out, resting them on the bench. Position yourself so that your lower back, shoulders, and head are in contact with the bench.
  2. Grip: Grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Ensure a firm grip and engage your lats.
  3. Unrack the Bar: Lift the barbell off the rack and hold it directly above your chest with your arms fully extended.
  4. Lower the Bar: Lower the barbell slowly and under control to your chest, keeping your elbows tucked at a 45-degree angle.
  5. Press: Push the barbell back up to the starting position while maintaining full-body tension. Avoid arching your back or allowing your feet to touch the floor.

Benefits of the Larsen Press

1. Enhanced Upper Body Strength

The Larsen Press places a greater emphasis on the upper body muscles, particularly the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Without the ability to drive through the legs, the upper body bears more of the load, fostering increased muscle activation and strength development in these areas.

2. Improved Core Stability

By extending your legs and removing the leg drive, the Larsen Press demands greater core engagement to maintain balance and stability. This enhanced core activation can translate to improved overall stability and performance in other lifts and athletic activities.

3. Better Technique and Control

Performing the Larsen Press requires strict form and control. Without the ability to use leg drive, lifters must focus on maintaining proper alignment and muscle engagement throughout the lift. This can help refine bench press technique and promote better lifting habits.

4. Reduced Lower Back Strain

The traditional bench press can sometimes lead to lower back discomfort due to excessive arching or improper leg drive. The Larsen Press minimizes this risk by encouraging a more neutral spine position, potentially reducing strain on the lower back.

5. Enhanced Mind-Muscle Connection

The Larsen Press promotes a stronger mind-muscle connection by requiring lifters to consciously engage their upper body muscles and core throughout the lift. This heightened awareness can improve muscle recruitment and activation, leading to better performance and muscle growth.

Incorporating the Larsen Press into Your Training

To maximize the benefits of the Larsen Press, consider incorporating it into your training routine as follows:

  1. Warm-Up: Use the Larsen Press as part of your warm-up to activate the upper body muscles and core.
  2. Accessory Lift: Include the Larsen Press as an accessory lift after your main bench press work. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  3. Focus on Form: Prioritize proper form and control over heavy weights. Start with a lighter load and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the movement.
  4. Combine with Core Work: Complement the Larsen Press with additional core exercises to further enhance stability and strength.

The Larsen Press is a valuable addition to any strength training program, offering unique benefits that can enhance upper body strength, core stability, and overall lifting technique. By incorporating this variation into your routine, you can challenge your muscles in new ways, break through plateaus, and reduce the risk of lower back strain. Whether you're a seasoned lifter or just starting your strength journey, the Larsen Press can help you unlock new levels of performance and stability.

Give the Larsen Press a try and experience the difference it can make in your training and how your abs look.

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