This is interesting to me as I have somewhat inadvertently gotten to be a relatively good bench presser relatively quickly and I have no idea why.
I benched a little bit haphazardly in college, but I think that is of no consequence. I started seriously lifting at 45 in 2009, and promptly got an impingement issue which kept me from benching at all for almost a year, although I did do some DB benching. Mostly I decided to OHP instead and got really into that for about 18 months.
Since joining this site in Feb 2011, when I started benching again with about a 185 max, I have pushed that up to 250 in just under a year. I used a Bill Starr 5x 5 for most of last year, then recently a 5x1 max out followed by a 5x5 backoff. But all I did was bench. No floor presses or paused work or speed work or anything. Just bench pressing. Well, with increasingly better form all along too.
I'm thinking just hammer the basics with good form is the best way to improve for a beginner. All those variations should come in only when weaknesses are obvious, or when stalled and in need of a change.
My .02, looking forward to what others think.
I am Anton Zdravko Martin!
Best meet lifts: Sq 150 Kg (330 lb), Bench 120 Kg (264), DL 160 (352) @89 Kg (197)
Best gym lifts: Sq 375, Bench 280 (pause), DL 385 @205 or less
Goals beyond my wildest dreams, 600 Kg raw total, 200/160/240
Hack away at anything which isn't essential. Do what you love, and do it often. Fazc.
Everything competes for recovery so more assistance is not always the best idea. miked96