Bench Press Tips
“10 Tips To Help You Power Up On The Bench Press”
If I had to guess, the bench press is probably the most popular of all the weight training exercise.
Now, if there is one question that I get on a regular basis, it's how to increase a bench press.
With that in mind, I though it would be a nice switch to give the readers of building muscle 101 some tips on how to improve their bench press. Let's get on with it!
Tip #1- Make the bench press your number one exercise
If you want to improve your bench press, you need to make it your number one exercise in your weight training routine. You need to train chest first and foremost in your routine and do only chest, nothing else. For example, here's a sample routine:
Monday: Chest and Abs
As you can see, the chest is first and foremost, allowing you to dedicate all of your energy to chest, and in particular the bench press. This is called the prioritizing principle and one you have to understand if you ever want to build a big bench press or improve a certain body part or exercise.
Tip #2 - Make constant improvements with progressive resistance
In order to get a big bench press, you need to continuously get stronger. That is, you need to structure a program that allows you to keep getting stronger. The is called periodization and basically, you need to work up to maximum weights. As each week passes you need to keep improving from workout to workout. This is what happens to most trainers who can't improve on their bench press.
They'll show up to the gym and do 4 sets of bench press going to failure on the third set doing 3 or 4 repetitions. Each and every week, this person will keep doing this and keep on using the same weight. This is what not to do. You will not improve and you'll stay at that weight until you give up. Here's what you want to do:
For example, let's say you start off on:
Week 1 using 60% of your max for set 4;
And so on and so forth. Go to this page here for more details.
Tip #3 - Set up the bench press mechanics
Are you set up for proper bench pressing? This is very important and you should know this if you want to start using some heavy weight for benching.
While you are lying down on the bench, take a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. Make sure that your head is on the bench and moved down a bit. If your head is directly below the bar, move you head down a bit on the bench. You don't want to hit the racks while your moving the weight up - Can be dangerous.
Keep your feet flat on the floor and butt on the bench. I don't know why people lift their legs up while doing the bench press. Doing this will cause you to concentrate on balance instead of the weight. Also, keeping your feet flat on the floor will help you generate more power.
Now, grip the bar and puff your stomach out towards the roof and push your shoulder blades down into the bench. Your sternum should be up and chest should be slightly flexed while gripping the bar - Don't lift the weight. This is all done while the weight is racked.
Your head and butt should be on the bench at all times. Your feet should always be flat on the floor. Now your ready to bench press.
Tip #4 - Chalk up your hands
If your gym allows it, use chalk for the bench press. Chalk will allow you to get a better grip on the bar and get a better feel for the weight. Grip has a lot to do with a strong bench press.
Tip #5 - Grip the weight hard
As you are about to do the bench press, grip the weight hard. Once you got a strong grip on it, lift the bar from the rack and keep it at arms length and keep gripping it hard. By gripping the weight, you start to generate the necessary power to get that weight up and down.
Tip #6 - Keep that weight controlled
Always keep the weight under complete control. From the time you take it off the rack to the time you put it back on, the weight should always be controlled. The worse thing that I see in a gym is watching some dummy load up the weight and try and do 6 fast and uncontrolled repetitions. Most time the form is sloppy and dangerous. I don't care if it's the warm up or work set, the repetitions should always be controlled.
Remember, the bench press is about repetition pace. It's always in the quality of the repetitions.
Tip #7 - Boost supporting muscle strength
This is the secret to building a big bench press. In order to get a big bench press, you need to have a strong body. That is especially true for your triceps, shoulders and core. I strongly suggest you put a lot of emphasis on basic exercises such as the front shoulder barbell press, close grip bench press, dead lift, and squat. Once you start getting stronger in these exercises, your going to start to get stronger in the bench press. I strongly suggest that for shoulders, you start with front barbell presses, for the triceps, you start with close grip bench presses, for legs, start with the squat and for the back start with the dead lift.
This is key and you need to have strong supporting muscles for a big bench press. If you don't have strong compound movements such as these listed exercise, I'm going to bet you have a weak bench press. In conjunction with the bench press, these exercises should be your priority.
Tip #8 - Get psyched
You need to have a very positive and focussed attitude going into the bench press. If your tired and unmotivated, your not going to have a good bench press session. Here's what I used to to. After work, I'd come home and take a quick 15 minute nap. I'd wipe out all the crap that was happening at work from my mind and concentrate on the workout that was coming up. About 20 minutes prior to working out, I'd have a double cup of tea and start to get heated up. I'd than gulp down a glass of water. At this time, I was ready to hit the weight.
Tip #9 - Eat to grow
Plain and simple - You need to eat at least 25 calories per pound of body weight. If you weight 160 pounds, you should be eating at least 4000 calories each and every day consisting of quality protein, carbohydrates, and fats. If you're not eating right, your not going to improve your bench press, plain and simple. If you eat sporadically, your not going to get stronger. Eat a consistent diet with plenty of quality calories and your going to improve your bench press.
Go to this page here for more information on how to eat big to get big.
Tip #10 - Rest and recovery
How can a person get a big bench press when their falling asleep on the bench? Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and at a decent hour. Cut down on those late night parties and booze. I'll say this, you can't workout when your hung over and tired. Get some quality sleep, coupled with a muscle building diet and you'll start moving some serious weight under the bar on the bench.
Click here for more information on rest and recovery
There you go. Some very simple bench press that anyone can follow. I do have a bench press program that anyone can follow so if you want to improve your bench press, click here. Also, take a look at the video below. Its actually pretty good. This guy improved his bench press using Lee Haywayds blast your bench program. Take a quick look at it.
This is a good bench press. Everything seems to be on target. That is, he keeps his head and butt on the bench, pushes his pec girdle into the bench and puffs out his chest. Also notice his legs. He generates extra power by using his legs as a stablizing unit. A good, clean bench press.
All the best,
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