Ever wonder how the guy next you is benching so much? Well I can tell you it didn’t happen over night. It comes with hard work and a mixture of the 10 things I am going to talk about today. Personally bench press took a long time to master for myself but once I incorporated the following rules and principles my chest workout shot the roof.
Let’s look into how you can increase yours…
Improve your Technique
This tip is so very important and often times get overlooked. When performing your bench press not only will doing it the correct way improving your strength but also it will ultimately avoid injury.
Make sure when you are griping the bar close to your wrists not your fingers. Also when grabbing the bar makes sure you are squeezing the bar, try to break it apart as if you were breaking a noodle. This will also activate your triceps muscles, which is your secondary muscle group for bench press.
Tighten your Upper-back and pull your shoulder blades together, this gives your body a solid bases to press from. Also use your legs, dive yourself into the bench this puts pressure on your upper back and traps again building a solid base.
Always push in a Straight Line, keep the bar above your elbows at all times. A good tip that I often use is picking a point on the ceiling where you want the bar to go.
Strengthen Your Back and Arms
Your back is your foundation so don’t neglect it when focusing on bench. You will want to build it up as much as possible by doing barbell rows that will isolate your upper-back and lats. Triceps are also important and you can do close grip bench, floor press, dips and JM press to build them up.
Believe it or not you can also get some stabilization strength from working your biceps as well. The Brachialis act as a stabilizer during bench press. A good exercise for this is Hammer Curls.
It’s important to remember to train Back/Arms on separate days, and separate them from chest for the most ideal lift. Lifting chest and then doing triceps after is not very effective because your triceps will be fatigued.
Here is one that I feel is overlooked often. Lifting fast will get you better results and lifting slow will never make you strong. The faster you are, the more weight you can put up. Someone you can do to help this is by adding chains or bands to train for just speed.
Pretty simple tip here, if your not consuming enough calories per day, don’t expect to see your bench press gains to shoot through the roof. Increasing your bench means you need to add muscle and not maintain it.
Eat at least your body-weight in lbs x 18 calories. For more detailed information on how to gain or lose weight you can read my eBook here “Link”. Also I suggest getting at least 1lb/lbs of protein daily from meat, poultry, fish, eggs & whey.
This tip should come to no surprise to us gym junkies. Unfortunately shoulder injures are very common, I would personally recommend warming your router cuff up before preforming bench. *
Below you can see an example of this:
Balance, Proper Technique and Posture should all help you avoid injury. Make sure you train the opposite muscle groups/ opposite movements to prevent muscle imbalances. An example would be to Row as much as you Bench Press. Again going over technique don’t let your shoulder roll forward, don’t flare your elbows, and practice proper grip. Posture is so important for all lifts, but for bench you want to make sure you do not “wing” your shoulder blades. Overhead squats, scalp push ups, face pull will all help your posture.
Consider Taking Protein
I would recommend looking into taking a whey protein or casein. This is a great way to increase your muscle mass and also is a safe way to increase your muscle mass. Depending on your workout routine you can take protein right in the morning, post workout or right before bed. Make sure to choose a clean protein with no MSG or any Junk Fillers.
Check out this Protein if your interested:
Get Help Doing Negatives
For this tip you need a spot! Grab a gym junkie buddy to spot you for all negative exercises.
If you don’t know what a negative is it’s a good thing to learn if you’re trying to make strength gains anywhere. Negatives are essentially the lowering phase of an exercise.* Negatives are by definition about 1.5 your 1RM, so we are talking very heavy weight.
You will want to lower the weight slowly to your chest and resist it as much as possible, then with your friends spot they will lift it back up. Negatives are a great way to dramatically improve your strength and your one rep max.
Make sure your not Over Training
I know what your thinking but everyone needs a break even your muscles. There is really no point for you be lifting chest more than twice a week, your muscle could be fatigued. Not to mention this could lead to you not getting a great tricep workout during the week.
If you’re caught in one of those dreaded plateaus you might want to consider taking one week off.* If your muscle are fatigued than it could potentially be preventing your growth. When taking a week off you could just go cold turkey or do a maintenance week and lift much lighter.
Quality lifts not quantity…
Get plenty of rest & sleep
I always make sure to get my beauty sleep, after all sleeping is when your muscles repair and rebuild. Make sure you get an adequate amount of rest between workouts; not getting enough sleep can actually deprive them of there development. I would recommend getting a full eight hours of sleep for optimal muscle development and performance.
Shock your chest into growth
Let’s face it if your comfortable in the gym and you breezing through your workout’s then your not doing it right. Your body responds to the stress you put on it, if your not “testing” your body it will never respond. When you lift heavier than what your use to your body accommodates to the heavier load and builds more muscle.
Let’s use an example let’s say your goal is to hit 315 pounds on flat bench. Your first set is 260, second set is 280 and your third is 300 and you can perform all sets in their entirety. What you should be doing is 280,300 and 315 struggling to complete your last set.
Another great way to shock your chest is doing sets with 4 to 5 reps and increasing the weight dramatically. These are often referred to as 5×5 and are a good way to switch your routine up and shock your chest. Try switching this in with your normal chest routine.
By incorporating the following 10 tips to lift like a boss, you will surely see bench press gains. Remember results don’t happen over night but with hard work and a mixture of these 10 tips you will on your way to bench pressing like a boss!
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