We all accept the fact that the bench press is the most loved exercise among all. It is considered as the best lift for building a powerful chest. It is also beneficial to bulk up the front of your shoulders and triceps. Every push workout or chest workout should have a few sets of bench presses. The bench press is quite technical like other lifts, and if not performed well, it can set you up for an injury.
You should know what muscles to move and which ones should be stabilized. However, most people fail to gain the results they really deserve. This happens because there comes the point where your process becomes stagnant, and you find it difficult to add weight to the bar. This point is termed as “plateau,” where your weight stops increasing anymore. If you need to maximize your bench press, we’ve come to your rescue. Here are some tips to take your bench press to a whole new level.
Ten tips to increase your bench to the max
- Warm-up – You need to prepare yourself mentally and physically when it comes to lifting weight. This means you should warm up your body and mobilize your muscles so that your body gets adjusted for the weight you are going to lift. Here we are talking about an upgraded warm up. Those days are gone when a treadmill or cardio was the popular way to warm up. Now we are asking you to enter the weight room and warm up with the bench press instead.
How to do it?
- 6 to 8 reps with the bar.
- About 1 min rest.
- 5 reps with 50 percent of the working weight you’re going to use.
- 1 min rest again.
- 3 reps with 70 percent of the working weight you’re going to use.
- 1 min rest again.
- 1 rep with the 90 percent of the working weight you’re going to use.
- 1 min rest again.
- You can start your work out.
Now that you’re done with the bench press, you can move to triceps or shoulder exercise, and you won’t have to warm up again. If you are heading for leg or back exercise, then warm up again for that part.
- Avoid Static Stretching – For a long time, stretching was considered necessary before your workout but now, according to a few theories stretching is not optimal before your weight lifting exercise. It often causes a reduction in strength even if you do it for less than 45 seconds. So now, when you go in the weight room, avoid static stretching.
- Visualization Technique – We are very well aware of the power of the mind when it comes to controlling the body. Many athletes and bodybuilders have talked about mind to muscle connection. Research has shown that when you picture yourself lifting the weight successfully, it improves your performance. Moreover, negative picturization can deteriorate your performance. So next time, when you’re ready to hit the bench press, try to visualize yourself completing reps and the feeling afterward. You’ll be shocked to see the results.
- Assistance Muscles – Bench press is predominantly a chest exercise, and you’re also working your triceps and shoulders, which are weaker muscles as compared to chest. For this reason, your shoulder and triceps muscles will fatigue before your chest muscles, and this will hinder your ability to lift the weight. That is why you should spend some time strengthening these muscles. You can incorporate these exercises to strengthen these muscles:
- Close grip bench press
- Shoulder press
- Parallel bar dips
- Get a grip – The width of your shoulder decides the width of your grip. Take a grip where your forearms are parallel to the floor. If you take a more full grip, it will put unnecessary pressure on your shoulders, and a narrow grip will work on your triceps more than your chest. For more security, put your thumbs under the bar and your fingers over the bar. Also, make sure you grip the barbell low in your palms, you may feel it is not a secure grip, but if you make a high-palm or middle-palm grip, it will put a strain on your wrists. This could limit your strength.
- Correct position
- Maintain a position so that your eyes are beneath the bar.
- Fix your head, glutes, and shoulder in the way that it forms an arch in the back.
- Keep up this natural arch along with your chest high and shoulders pinned to the bench.
- Keep your feet below your knees and drive them into the floor to create a solid base.
- Unrack the bar and begin the workout.
- Squeeze your abs and glutes for more stability.
- Increase the bench press frequency – We are told since childhood that practice makes perfect. Well, weight lifting is no different. It is a skill that could be mastered through practice. You should learn your form and practice it over and over to get perfection.
- Lift heavy weights – To add weight to the bar, you need more strength. You can train with 75 percent of 1 RM in the 3-9 rep range while maintaining proper form and increasing the weight progressively.
- Feedback – Studies have shown that feedback can improve performance in well-trained athletes. So next time you train, you can ask your coach to give you verbal feedback.
- Breathe Properly – People don’t pay attention to their breathing pattern while bench pressing, they either hold their breath or simply inhale and exhale without following any pattern. You must follow a pattern to increase strength.
If you really want to build muscles, you need to follow a plan. Mere going to the gym and picking up some dumbbells won’t work. Here are some more tips for muscle building:
- Eat every three hours – Eating at the right time plays a crucial role in building muscle mass. With your breakfast, lunch, and dinner include meals post-workout, pre-bed, and two snacks in between.
- Eat protein with every meal – You need to boost up your protein intake to build muscle. Pay attention to consuming about 1 gram of protein per pound of your weight. You can have cottage cheese, Tuna, eggs, lamb, pork, salmon, etc. Also, amino acids are building blocks for protein and should be consumed accordingly.
- Strength training – You should perform strength training at least three times a week to gain more muscles. Strength training, such as bodyweight exercise, weightlifting can improve muscle strength and increase muscle size and function. It also helps in reducing body fat.
- Let your muscles recover – We often think we need to work out more to grow muscles faster. This isn’t the way our muscles like it. Muscle recovery is vital for growing muscles. It’s better to give your muscles rest before doing the same type of strength training with them.
It is essential to know that everyone has a different body type, and results are not the same for every individual. You must identify your type and adopt a training program accordingly. Apart from lifting weights, an eating pattern is also crucial for muscle gains. It would be helpful to consult a nutritionist or dietitian to set your diet. Remember, always set realistic goals for yourself and work hard to attain them.