We all know the first question you will get asked as a weightlifter…. “so, how much do you bench?”. We have all heard this numerous times. This is one of the most exhausted questions because no matter how much weight you are able to bench, in your head it never seems like it is enough. This is why being able to bench press alot of weight seems to determine your overall strength which leads many people to give some bullshit number.
So, what are some ways you can increase this major lift?
1. Move the weight, dont let the weight move you – when performing the negative portion of your reps, lower the bar slow enough so that you are in total control of the movement but fast enough to where you are not going to get burnt out on the first couple reps. Ive seen many people who try to “bounce” the weight off their chest and are able to do this with moderate weight. Although this seems to work at first, it will only be effective up to a limited amount of weight. Eventually you wont be able to “bounce” the bar back up and you will be crushed.
2. Always work up to a 1 or 2 rep max – Doing the same weight for 10 reps every week is only going to do one thing for you… maintain. We dont want to just maintain, we want to improve, grow and get better each day. To do this you need to shock the muscles. Throw more weight at them each set you complete breaking them down more every single time. The more stress your muscle receives the stronger they will grow back.
3. Form – This one may seem like a no brainer but you would be surprised how many people i see bench pressing with poor form. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder width allowing your triceps to help with the workload. You want your shoulder blades pinched back to eliminate your front delts from helping out. This will help avoid shoulder injury in the future. Planting your feet is also important. This will play a huge role in stabilty and keeping balance . Having a strong foundation will go a long way.
4. Mix it up – This includes adding in a rotation of chest day using dumbells. Doing this allows you to work each arm independently making each arm grow and develop equally. Do sets of negatives (focus on bringing the weight down slowly). This will help you control the weight better and give you more power at the bottom of the rep. Triceps play a major role in bench pressing as well. Doing close grip presses will strengthen your triceps immensely making them a strong contributor to your heavy bench press.
Follow these steps and I guarantee you will be bench pressing more weight in no time!