Have you ever struggled with your bench press and don’t even know how to fix it? Believe me, you’re not alone because I had the same problem. Today, I’ll share with you some tips so that you will know how to increase your bench press instantly. Here are they:
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- How To Increase Your Bench Press
- Improve Your Form
- Shoulder Blade Retracted
- Full Grip
- Straight Wrist
- Elbows Tucked
- Vertical Forearms
- Feet On The Floor
- Diagonal Bar Path
- Add Weight On The Bar
- Change Things Up Constantly
- Do Not Overexert Yourself On Warm-up Sets
- Tuck In Your Elbows A Little Bit
- Add Some Assistance Exercises
- Bench Press More Often
How To Increase Your Bench Press
Improve Your Form
This is the first thing you need to check if you want to bench heavier. Proper bench press form not only increases efficiency but also prevent injuries. Therefore, make sure you check all of the following things before you bench for maximum performance.
Shoulder Blade Retracted
Your shoulders have to be on the bench and never shrug them forward, especially while you’re lifting heavy weights. Keep your shoulder back, chest up and back tight during the set instead of just lying on the bench.
Hold the barbell low in your palms using the full grip instead of thumbless grip. This way, the bar will never slip out of your hands and drop on your face or chest.
Always keep your wrist straight the entire time your bench. And keep in mind that bent wrists hurt and can make it harder for you to lift heavy weights.
Tuck your elbows about 75° at the bottom instead of flaring them out 90°. Or else, you will impinge your shoulders and that will definitely smash the rotator cuff tendons. You can flare the elbows, but only on the way up to press the barbell away from your chest over your shoulders.
Keep your forearms vertical when the bar touches your body. Make sure there is a straight line between your wrist and elbow. This can help you create a perfect leverage, resulting in more power transfer and you can also prevent wrist pain. If your elbows are too forward or backward, just adjust the grip width.
Feet On The Floor
Your feet are not useless for benching. Honestly, using leg drive effectively can help you bench heavier than you thought. Do not bench with your feet resting on the bench. Keep them on the floor while you’re benching, but not in a random way. Remember that your knees should be above your ankles and do not raise your heels off.
Diagonal Bar Path
Bench in diagonal line by pressing the bar from your chest to above your shoulders instead of benching in a vertical line. Holding the bar over your shoulders is much easier than holding it over your mid-chest as it is your balance point.
Add Weight On The Bar
Sounds pretty simple, huh? However, it’s actually what you need to try out. If you want to increase your bench, you have to get used to heavy weights. You will never bench 100kg if you keep benching half that each time you bench, right? In fact, there are hundreds of lifters wondering why they can’t improve their bench press or worse, decrease it. The reason is that they’re not giving their body a reason to get stronger on the bench press.
There are different weights plates of different sizes. Therefore, it’s not hard for you to find a couple of plates under 5lb to micro-load your bench press. That also means you have to lower the reps. Thus, keep adding a little weight gradually so that your body can have enough time to get used to it.
Additionally, if you are a beginner, having a spotter is very important for you to try heavier weights. If you can’t, just do the exercise using a flat bench or an adjustable one and a power rack with firm spotters. Nobody wants to end up crushed by a barbell, am I right? Besides, wearing elbow compression sleeves is not a bad idea to prevent elbow pain when lifting heavy.
Change Things Up Constantly
Do you want to know how to increase your bench? My advice is to change it up. The point is that your muscles have been used to the movement for so long and they need some changes. That’s why don’t bench with the same rep scheme or the same hand placement for a long period of time.
Just forget about what you usually do, instead, try a new rep scheme. For examples, do a 5×5, a 3×5, 5×8 or something like that. For me, if I feel like I’m hitting a plateau, I’ll do a 5×5 in the first week. And for the next 3 weeks, I’ll do a 3×3 or 4×8. When I come back to my 5×5, I can make a little bit of progress at least.
Additionally, you should change your hand placement. Maybe you need to try the wide grip bench or close grip bench. I suggest you try anything new you want then come back to your bench press and see what happens.
Do Not Overexert Yourself On Warm-up Sets
Warm up is crucial, especially when it comes to compound movements like the bench press. Therefore, you need to do a few lighter sets first. However, do not overexert yourself, or else, your body will be exhausted before you reach your work weight.
The purpose of this part is to make sure your body is ready for the work sets to come later. For examples, if you intend to bench 100 kg 5×5, then you don’t want to bench 60kgx12 and then 80kgx8. This is because in total it is 1360 kg and 20 repetitions, too much for a warm up. Instead, the proper way to warm up it is 20kgx5, 40kgx5, 60kgx3, 80kgx2, and 90kgx1. It is 21 reps and 830 kg in total but just enough for you to bench 100 kg.
Tuck In Your Elbows A Little Bit
Grab the bar at the exact same spot as you usually do on the bench press but tuck your elbows in. This way, the barbell will be much lower on your chest and your elbows will be still underneath the bar. That’s why you can put way more power into the bench press, recruiting more muscles throughout the chest and triceps.
This personal tip may conflict with the forearm technique I’ve mentioned above. But it is still okay if you make sure you’re doing the other things properly. I don’t know about you guys but for me, tucking in our elbows a little bit can make you somehow stronger.
Add Some Assistance Exercises
Another way to increase your bench is to do some other exercises which can help you strengthen the involved muscles. In fact, the barbell bench press does not only work your chest but also your shoulders, triceps, and even back. Here is a list of exercises which helped me with my bench press:
- Board Press Raw Bench groove
- Close-grip bench
- Triceps extensions
- Lat pulldown
- Barbell overhead press
Bench Press More Often
Switching from doing the exercise once to twice a week is also a useful way to increase your bench press. For instance, if you bench press on Monday, do it again on Friday. It is the fact that increasing the bench press frequency allows you to practice the movement more often. Therefore, you can improve the form and also your bench press strength.
Have you already known how to increase your bench press yet? Well, in my opinion, if you feel you’re hitting the plateau, then try anything you can to fix it. If you already tried out all every tip and nothing happens, then accept it as it’s your bench press genetic limit.