The bench press is a power exercise that incorporates the strength of the chest, shoulders and triceps to push a barbell up from your chest until your arms are fully extended. The exercise is performed while lying on a workout bench. Power lifters, bodybuilders, athletes and even a novice to weight training can benefit from increased bench press strength. There are some key ways to increase your strength on the bench press.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Weight bench
- Set of barbells
Plan on using the pyramid technique for your bench press. Start out by determining your maximum lift, or how much you can lift one time. Establish this maximum or max during the workout prior to when you actually commence the pyramid technique. Write it down or make a mental note of it.
Start the pyramid technique by doing 10 repetitions during your first set of bench presses with 50 per cent of your maximum lift. Do eight repetitions with 65 per cent of your maximum bench press on your second set, five repetitions with 75 per cent of your max on the third set, three repetitions with 85 per cent of your max on your fourth set and one repetition with 95 per cent of your maximum lift on your fifth set. Rest about two to three minutes in between sets. Take a little extra rest after your fifth set, then start out with one or two repetitions at 95 per cent of your max on your sixth set. Rest some more, then do one to three repetitions using 90 per cent of your maximum bench press then four to six repetitions with 80 per cent of your max. Finish your ninth and final set by performing seven to 10 repetitions with 70 per cent of your maximum bench press.
Add five pounds to your maximum bench press the next time you work chest or do bench presses. Make that extra five pounds the starting point for calculating all of your subsequent sets of bench press that day. Drop back down to your original max if you are unable to perform the designated number of repetitions listed above during each set of bench press. Increase the weights you use as your maximum bench press goes up. Base your maximum bench press during each chest workout on how much you lift using 95 per cent of your maximum bench.
Build strength up in your other muscle groups such as your back, shoulders, triceps and biceps. Practice lifting faster with all exercises, including your bench press, to build explosive pushing power. Do push-ups on occasion to help build your explosive strength.
Eat more high protein foods like milk, beef, chicken, turkey and fish. Increase your calorie intake while maintaining a healthy diet.
Tips and warnings
- When you're trying to increase your bench press strength and lift a heavier weight, make sure both feet are firmly planted on the floor. Push off with both feet and use the power of your legs as soon as you start lifting the weight. Make sure you maintain your balance and keep the bar moving in a straight line above your chest. Moreover, tighten your abdominal muscles during the lift, keep your elbows tucked in and squeeze the barbell for greater leverage, according to the article "5 Ways To Increase Your Bench Press" at Stronglift.com.
- Never perform heavy bench presses without the aid of a spotter. A spotter can assist you when you are having trouble lifting the barbell up high enough to place in on the weight. Spotters can also prevent you from injuring yourself. Also, only perform the bench press twice per week. Doing bench presses more than twice per week is over training, which can detract from your progress in building up your bench press strength.
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