Bench More Weight Almost Instantly With These Techniques
The bench press has been the benchmark for who is the strongest for a long time, and not just in powerlifting competition, but also in the gym. ‘How much do you bench?’ is one of the most common questions thrown around in the gyms by beefed-up bros trying to prove their superiority. However, not everyone can bench that much, and there are a lot of factors that can affect this. So, how can you improve your bench press and throw up some more weight?
Let’s break it down.
What is the Bench Press?
The bench press is a compound exercise that primarily targets the chest, and activates the triceps and front delts as a secondary muscles. It is more than just lifting the bar up off your chest, as there are many factors that go into the movement itself, and for that reason it takes some time to get better at. If you’re gearing up for a powerlifting contest, or you just want to build a ripped chest on a schedule, there are plenty of different things that you need to consider when training the bench press.
How to Improve Your Bench Press
When it comes to improving your bench press, it requires more than just adding a few more pounds to the barbell. There are plenty of different things that you need to focus on, so let’s take a look at these different factors and go from there!
Use Lifting Gear
Lifting accessories can be of great help in your workouts. Not only do they reduce the chances of injuries by taking stress off of the joints, but can also help you lift heavier weights, which can be a great tool for incorporating progressive overload. Lifting gear like wrist wraps and elbow sleeves or wraps should be an absolute necessity in every serious weightlifter’s gym bag. It does not mean you have to use them every time you bench, but it can definitely be worth it to have them in there, especially as a powerlifter. You are able to use equipment like this in competition, so you may as well get used to training with it on.
You also are not limited to just elbow sleeves and wrist wraps. Modern weightlifting has seen the introduction of special bench press gear like the Slingshot, created by Mark Bell. Most people make the mistake of flaring out their elbows which can lead to a pec tear. Gym gear like slingshots can help eliminate this problem, as the Slingshot forces you to keep your elbows tucked.
Perform Negative Reps
Negative reps are one of the best ways to increase your strength. You may need a spotter to perform a negative rep. Make sure the spotter can handle the weights in case you fail a repetition.
Let’s say you have the target of lifting raw 200 lbs by the end of the month. Put on 200 lbs on the bar and ask the spotter to help you with the positive movement. Instruct the spotter to put in minimal to no help during the negative part of this lift. This helps your body to get used to the weights that you are doing. As you get stronger and feel more comfortable with the weights, eliminate the spotter on the negative and then the positive movement.
Ask for a Spot
Another way of figuring out how to bench more weight is to get a spotter during your lifts. Having someone to spot you gives you instant motivation and a confidence boost which can help you in lifting heavier weights, as you can incorporate partial reps, and take your reps to failure, which helps with the overloading of your chest.
If you don’t have someone to spot you at your gym, then perhaps it could be a good idea to sign up for personal training, as then you have someone there to spot you no matter what. Before you get yourself a personal trainer, understand the benefits of using a personal trainer. It will help you make a better decision.
Perform Heavy Isolation Exercises
Isolation exercises are a great primer for performing heavy compound exercises like the bench press. Isolation exercises allow you to have leverage by providing strength to the areas that you need in order to improve your bench press.
You can easily overload the muscles in isolation exercises as you don’t have to use your muscle stabilizers to balance the weights. For example, heavy flyes to strengthen the chest, and then heavy tricep and delt movements to strengthen the secondary muscles that are recruited in the bench press. Isolation exercises like the hammer strength chest press can help you in building strength which you can carry over to the bench press.
Fix Your Form
Many people fail to increase their bench press because they have the wrong form, and this can even lead to injury. Your form while performing the bench press has a big impact on how much weight you can lift. Following a powerlifter stance, meaning utilizing the bench arch, can help lift heavier weights on the bench press. Keep in mind that when you are arching your back, your range of motion is slightly decreased, so if your goal is hypertrophy then arching your back too much may not be the best option.
In order to properly execute the bench arch, lie down on a flat bench with an arch in your back so only your shoulders and lower back are touching the bench. There should be enough space between your middle back and the bench that your hand could pass through it. Place your feet under your knees as doing this helps you in generating thoracic pressure.
Should You Bench Every Chest Day?
Now when it comes to hitting your chest exercises, you do not need to bench every single chest day in order to see progress. Other movements like the incline bench press can also help to build up strength in the chest. So if you hit chest twice a week then doing flat bench press on the first one, then incline on the second could be a good method.
How to Bench More Weight Wrap Up
Overall, when comes to how to bench more weight, it is not as hard as you may think, and does not require you to bench day and night in order to see progress. There are plenty of different methods that you can incorporate in order to see your strength on the bench skyrocket.
*Header image courtesy of Envato Elements.