No one has ever said, “Man, I wish I didn’t bench press so much”. The bench press is a gym favorite and a common barometer of strength. No one’s going to ask what you hamstring curl, but everyone wants to know what you bench.
If you want to get stonger, and bench press more, try these tips out.
Squeeze The Bar
When you’re trying to move a lot of weight, form and efficiency play a primary role. You can lose 10-15% of functional strength just through poor form. That also means you can boost your power by cleaning up your form if there are current inefficiencies.
One of the most overlooked elements of bench press form is the grip. If you squeeze the bar through the entire motion, the tension will help with the transfer of power.
Squeeze Your Shoulder Blades Together
You want a flat base, and stable platform to press all that weight. This is accomplished by squeezing your shoulder blades together before picking up the bar. When you get on the bench, imagine there’s a pencil between your shoulder blades and you’re trying to hold it in place.
It will feel awkward at first so try it out with light weight and concentrate on form before moving on to heavier lifts.
Slightly Arch Your Back
There’s a distinction between a good arch and a bad arch. With your shoulders already in position under the bar, scoot your hips back and create a slight arch in your lower back. If you go too far back, you’ll lose stability with your legs sliding around and butt lifting off the bench during the lift. That’s not what you want.
Push Supplementary Muscle Groups
Bench, bench, bench. If you want to get stronger you gotta bench. That’s the mantra you hear when guys are stuck in a plateau. It isn’t until you begin to work complimentary muscle groups that you’ll notice greater gains.
It isn’t all about the chest either. The bench press draws power from your shoulders, arms, and even your legs. Leg drive plays a role in benching pressing, so don’t neglect your squat work.
Change Your Short Term Goal
If you’re struggling to break through a plateau by inching up the weight, you may want to try taking a break from chasing a one rep max, and increase your volume instead. Instead of focusing on that one rep max, change your goal to hitting a higher rep count at a lower weight.
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