5 Tips to Increase Your Bench Press Max | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

5 Tips to Increase Your Bench Press Max

October 25, 2012 | Conor Doherty

Must See Strength Training Videos

The Bench Press is one of the first exercises guys drift to. There's something about pushing a bar packed with iron off their chest that makes guys feel manly.

I'm not here to tell you to avoid the Bench Press. (Check out more Bench Press tips.) It's important for building upper-body strength. I'm am here to tell you how to increase your Bench Press numbers—to the point where you'll be shocked at the amount of weight you're putting up.

Add these five tips to your workout routine:

Perform Pin Presses

Do them once a week or once every two weeks. Pin Presses work on the top part of your Bench; you don't bring the bar all the way down to your chest. This allows you to place more weight on the bar, and it should improve your ability to move the bar smoothly and drive through sticking points.

To perform a Pin Press, adjust the pins in a full rack to six inches below where you would set them for a traditional Bench. Explosively push the bar off the pins and lower with control.

Add More Incline Bench Presses

The Bench Press works the chest, but it doesn't hit every pec muscle fiber to the fullest degree. To hit the upper chest, perform Incline Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Presses. They also strengthen the shoulders, which can be a limiting factor in your bench.

Work Your Back

A strong back helps your chest become stronger. When the antagonist (opposite) muscles in an exercise are strong, the exercise is easier to perform because of the additional support. When designing your program, include a 2:1 back to chest exercise ratio—e.g., if you do one set of Bench Presses, do two sets of Rows. (Start developing your back with these exercises.)

Lift Heavy Weight

If you want to get stronger, you have to challenge yourself. Lifting within a range of 10 to 15 reps won't help. You need to lift in a range of 2 to 5 reps. That means you must add more weight to the bar so that you are challenged on your last two reps of each set.

Take a Break

I'm not telling you to neglect your chest in your upper-body workouts, but taking a week off from the Bench Press can help you blast through a plateau. Use the time to work on supplemental exercises, like Push-Ups. This will give your upper body a chance to recover from all the heavy lifting you've done over the past three or four weeks.

Conor Doherty
- Conor Doherty, PTS, is an athletic trainer in Dryden, Ontario, who specializes in sports performance. The majority of his clients are hockey players. Learn more...
Conor Doherty
- Conor Doherty, PTS, is an athletic trainer in Dryden, Ontario, who specializes in sports performance. The majority of his clients are hockey players. Learn more...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Why Proper Exercise Form Is Crucial for Young Athletes

With all of the different training tools and exercise choices at their disposal, there's no arguing the fact that today's athletes are becoming...

Average to Great Bench Press

How to Add the Bench Press to Your Workouts

Build A Bigger and Better Bench, Part 3: The Triceps

You're Doing It Wrong: Exercise Tempo

Fix the 3 Key Exercises You're Doing Wrong

STACK Challenge: The Bodyweight Bench Press

Injury-Free Bench Pressing

Golf Exercises: Big Lifts for Big Drives

Why You Should Ditch the Bench Press

Benefits of the Incline Bench Press

7 Reasons Why Your Bench Press Is Weak

Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

The Secret to Bigger Pecs

For a Bigger Bench Press, Try These Variations

Benefits of the Decline Bench Press

Build a Bigger Upper Chest with These Exercises

Build A Bigger and Better Bench, Part 2: The Shoulders

Build a Bigger and Better Bench, Part 1: The Back

Build a Bigger Bench With Band Presses

Why Baseball Players Shouldn't Bench Press

How to Build a Stronger Chest

Build Strength and Size With Incline Bench Variations

Build Your Chest Without the Bench Press

Man Sets Record for Most Bench Presses...Under Water

3 Techniques to Increase Your Bench Press Max

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

Alternate Dumbbell Press for Baseball Players

4 Easy Fixes for Your Bench Press Routine

Sculpt a Chiseled Chest With a Machine Bench Press

A Guide to Bench Presses and How to Use Them

Add Pounds to Your Bench Press