The Kennelly Press – A Definitive Guide By The Bench Monster Himself

Ryan Kennelly  is an American powerlifter who specializes in the bench press. He currently holds the World Powerlifting Organization (WPO) and has held the all-time world record in the assisted (geared) bench press with a lift of 1075.0 lbs (487.6 kg) from November 2008 until April 2013. This world record is classified as an equipped world record, meaning the lift is performed with the aid of a bench shirt. Kennelly has also bench pressed an unequipped 650.0 lbs (294.8 kg) in competition.


The Kennelly press is a bench press assistance exercise performed with the Duffalo bar with either bands,chains, or straight weight.  The grip employed is pinky on ring, or competition grip. Sets used for this exercise are 2 sets of 8 at 55%-70% of our 1-RM on our speed benching days, or 5 sets of 5 at 70%-80% of our 1-RM performed after our max effort movement on max effort day, or heavy day.. This assistance exercise is performed 2 weeks in a row with the desired resistance of your choice and then rotated back in 2 weeks after again, for example 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off,.Always remember to rotate the resistance used each time to avoid accommodation also. The bands I specifically used for this exercise are mini bands doubled, the max amount of chains I use are 2 chains also, sometimes a combination of both. By utilizing this type of resistance I can keep the band/chain to bar weight ratio exactly where I like.

The movement consists of lowering the bar in a controlled manner utilizing the lats ” Latissimi dorsi” stopping the bar 1-2 inches above the chest for a pause of 1 second and then pressing upwards to lockout and then repeating. This is similar to a ballistic bench press, where the muscles have to adapt to contracting very quickly and forcefully,  This style of bench training requires the CNS to coordinate and produce tremendous amounts of force in the shortest time possible. Usually with ballistic benching there is no pause or noticeable pause in each rep, but leave it to me to make it a tad harder and complicated with a special twist. As with myself and others on my team we have found that by doing this ballistic style of bench press assistance movement called the “Kennelly Press” It not only strengthens the lockout but also your ability to, at the end of the day, pause your competition bench press with ease. It in my own words makes you “Bullet Proof” at the bottom of your bench, where the pause is concerned,. Now As I write this we are still experimenting with this movement and will continue to practise different reps, sets, and band/chain ratios, nothing is ever set in stone,and training is ever evolving and  I’m always experimenting and trying new things, and seeing what works and what doesn’t.