Earthquake & Bamboo Bar Bench Press: How To,…

Photo of author
Last Updated On

Bench presses are versatile in terms of the equipment options you have. Find out what effects using earthquake and bamboo bars offers.

Because of their bouncy movements, earthquake and bamboo bars work a variety of stabilizing muscles to a larger extent in the bench press.

More specifically, your scapular muscles, middle deltoids, latissimus dorsi, biceps, and a variety of forearm muscles have to work harder.

One potential downside of earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses is that the instability makes it harder to use a lot of weight.

To grow and strengthen the strong chest, tricep, and shoulder muscles, you likely want to implement bench presses with more standard equipment options like a barbell or dumbbells too.

Additionally, earthquake bar bench presses could cause injuries when approached the wrong way by the wrong people. Spotters and/or safety bars also become more essential instead of nice to have.

How to do an earthquake bar bench press

To do this variation you need a good earthquake or bamboo bar, resistance bands, weights, a weight bench, and a rack.

You likely also want spotters and/or safety bars, especially if you are relatively new to earthquake bar training.

Once you have these things, take the following steps to do an earthquake bar bench press:

  1. Rack the earthquake bar at the right height for the next step. Load the bar with the desired weight.
  2. Lie down on the weight bench with your shoulder blades pulled back and down. Place your hands with an overhanded grip on the earthquake bar at about shoulder width. Your arms should be stretched a good amount at this point.
  3. Unrack the earthquake bar by pushing it up and keep your arms slightly less than stretched and pointing up. Move it forward until it is above your chest.
  4. Lower the earthquake bar as far as comfortable in a controlled motion. Your upper arms should be at angles of about 45 degrees or less to your sides.
  5. Push the earthquake bar back up until your arms are slightly less than stretched.

You want to keep your movements slow. This will work your muscles harder and help you avoid bouncing the weights off the earthquake bar.

Keep in mind that you likely need to use less weight. At least initially.

If this aligns with your training goals, you can still increase the weight you use as you get more used to the unique feel of earthquake bar bench presses.

Earthquake bar bench press muscles worked

Similar to the regular version, your chest, tricep, and front deltoids will still be the main muscles that have to work in earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses.

Similar to most earthquake and bamboo bar exercises, this variation stands out in how much it works stabilizing muscles due to the instability of the bar and weights.

Your scapular muscles, middle deltoids, latissimus dorsi, biceps, and a variety of forearm muscles will have to work harder than in a regular barbell bench press.

Something to note is that you will likely also be able to use less weight in the earthquake & bamboo bar bench press.

This can be a downside in the sense that you may find it too challenging to use the weight needed to actually grow and strengthen your chest, triceps, and front deltoids with earthquake bar bench presses.

On the other hand, the stabilizing muscles (scapular muscles, middle deltoids, etc.) likely have to work harder than in the barbell version. This can lead to growth and strength progress in these muscles.

These differences are not necessarily better or worse. Whether you prefer the bamboo or barbell bench press depends on details like your training goals.

Benefits of earthquake bar bench presses

Even if earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses are not optimal for building mass, they can still offer benefits. A few of these are:

  1. Can reduce injury risk: Earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses can help you grow and strengthen stabilizing muscles. This can be helpful for reducing your injury risk in the relevant areas.
  2. Balance & coordination: Since they are challenging in this area, earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses can benefit your balance and coordination.
  3. Adds variety: A big part of getting and staying fit is being consistent. You may find it easier to do this by switching things up every once in a while with unusual equipment choices like bamboo bars.
  4. May reduce shoulder pain: Besides reducing injury risk, shoulder stabilizing muscle strengthening exercises like earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses can potentially also reduce shoulder pain. You do want to be careful in a situation like this.

The bench press is a great way to make use of the benefits of earthquake and bamboo bars.

If it aligns with what you are trying to achieve, other earthquake bar exercises can be useful too.

Besides that, it is worth noting that you likely want to do bench presses with more stable equipment too. These variations make it a lot easier to grow and strengthen the main muscles.

Potential risks

Earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses can be useful but they also involve a certain injury risk.

More specifically, some people will find this exercise hard on their shoulders, wrists, and elbows.

If you are sensitive in these areas, you want to start with light weights and/or potentially start with exercises besides earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses.

Additionally, the flexing of the bar can make the movement a lot more challenging in terms of resistance and balance.

If you are new to earthquake and bamboo bar bench presses safety bars and/or spotters can be useful.

Is the earthquake bar bench press a good exercise?

The earthquake and bamboo bar bench press can be a good exercise to prevent and recover from injuries by working shoulder stabilization muscles, to improve balance and coordination, and to spice up your workouts.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning that this variation is not ideal for building mass and strength in the main chest, tricep, and shoulder muscles.

To train these areas, you likely want to implement bench presses with other equipment options too.

Another thing to keep in mind is that earthquake and bamboo bars require an extra investment. Whether this is worth it to you depends on a variety of details.


What is an earthquake bench press?

An earthquake bench press is a bench press where you use an earthquake bar instead of a barbell. This is a type of flexible bar that moves around a lot while you do the exercise.

Photo of author


Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.