5 tips to increase your bench press
From bodybuilders to powerlifters, everyone loves to do barbell bench press and every Monday you can see a bunch of guys who do it. Every lifter wants to increase his bench, and compete with his friends at the gym.
Benching big weights is not that much about big pecs, it is about form, mobility and a few other factors. Many folks have a big ass chest, but their bench is not impressive at all.
So in this article, I will present to you five crucial tips on how to increase your bench.
This will be short and sweet. Mobility is one of the most important things in the gym, and in the sports life in general. If you don’t have good mobility in your shoulders and thoracic spine you can’t do bench with proper form, and because of that your bench number will suffer, and eventually, poor mobility will lead you to injuries. Here is a great video about mobility.
Proper form when performing a bench press is almost everything. If you have a bad form, you will not be able to lift as much weight as you could, and you will be much more prone to injuries.
Shoulder blades need to be down and back, pretending to hold tennis ball with your shoulder blades, elbows slightly tucked in, lower back arched, feet placed firmly on the ground.
Great video about bench press form and positioning.
Bench press more often
If you bench press once per week, and you hit a plateau, the easiest thing that you can do is to add another bench press session two, or three days after. The more often you bench press, the more your bench will grow (but don’t over do it, we are speaking of two to three times per week, not every day), because you will practice the form more often, and get used to the movement. Remember to switch training principles on separate bench press day… for example, if you do on your first bench day of the week strength (5×5), then on the second you can do hypertrophy (3×10).
Strengthen your triceps and overhead shoulder pressing
Triceps and shoulders are your primary movers when it comes to benching. The stronger your triceps and your overhead shoulder press, the stronger your bench will be. If you want to increase your bench press, include in your training routine, some kind of overhead pressing, barbell or dumbbell pressing (my favorite is one arm dumbbell press), and a few triceps exercises like close grip bench press, overhead dumbbell triceps extension, and skull crushers. Pick one shoulder pressing exercise, and one or two triceps, and perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, and you should be fine.
Strengthen your upper back
Upper back plays a keep role when it comes to bench pressing. People with natural strong and broad upper back will always have an advantage over people with weaker upper back when we speak of benching big weights. Look at elite powerlifters, almost every one of them has a big upper back and big triceps. So if you want a big bench, get yourself one big upper back, and exercises like barbell row, t-bar row, dumbbell row, and pull-ups will no doubt help you in building a big and strong upper back, and with that your bench press numbers will increase for sure.
That’s would it, follow these 5 principles and your bench will eventually go up for sure but don’t expect super fast results, because bench grows much slower than the other two big main lifts.
If you want to know more about the bench pressing, and become expert at it check this great article.
Also, a very good book which I highly recommend about increasing bench press and powerlifting, in general, is 5/3/1 method book from Jim Wendler.