How to Bench Press More Weight
The bench press is considered the benchmark lift for many sportspeople and is the most often used to compare two athlete’s relative upper body strength. For this reason, many athletes choose to train the bench press extensively in the hopes of increasing their one-rep max in the exercise.
These tips will help beginner and intermediate level athletes increase their bench press total.
How to increase your bench press
The easiest way to improve your bench press is to make sure that your form is correct. Improving your condition will help you to move more weight safely.
- Focus on form: Before you can safely increase the amount of weight you are using, you must ensure that you perform the bench press correctly. Grip the bar tightly with a medium grip, slowly bring it down to your chest, pause, and then move it back up until your arms are straight. Make sure you use the full range of motion – don’t stop halfway down, and don’t bounce the bar off your chest.
- Use dumbbells to work both arms: Performing dumbbell bench presses will ensure that both components have to work hard and will correct any strength imbalances you may have.
- Perform supporting exercises: Tricep dips and overhead presses are both good supporting exercises for the bench press. Strengthening your chest, shoulders, and triceps will reduce the risk of injury and help with your bench press.
- If you can’t get up the weight, do more reps: Sometimes, your progress will stall – in that case, don’t despair. Instead of increasing the amount of weight used every workout, try increasing the number of repetitions you do. When you find you can do eight repetitions at a specific value, try increasing the weight slightly and see if you can manage five repetitions at a higher weight.
- Avoid over-training: Make sure you take a few days off each week. For most people, three or four good workouts per week with lots of rest in between are more effective than working out every day.
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How to avoid injury while training the bench press
Make sure that you always have a spotter watching over you while you perform a barbell bench press. Do not move the barbell over your head or neck unless your arms are straight and your elbows are locked out. It minimizes the risk of your strength, failing you at an inopportune moment and may cause you to drop the barbell on your neck.
Always warm up with a lightweight before progressing to weights that are close to your one-rep max.
Resist the temptation to try weights that are too heavy. It is better – both in terms of safety, and effectiveness, to exercise at a lower value, with good form, than to lift with your ego and use lousy form.
An essential thing in the bench press is to perform the lift with good form. Many lifters find that improving their way allows them to move more weight. To further increase the value moved in the bench press, lifters should practice supporting exercises and ensure that they allow plenty of time for recovery between workouts.