Get More From Your Bench Press | STACK

Get More From Your Bench Press

March 24, 2013 | Drew Henley

Must See Strength Training Videos

Often called the "king of upper body exercises," the Bench Press is undeniably an important lift. However, many athletes are limiting their gains by not performing it properly. Below are a few tips to get more from your bench workouts.

Lift With Your Legs

Despite its upper-body focus, benching is a total-body lift. Proper foot position allows you to drive your legs into the ground to produce force throughout your body. As with most athletic movements, strength and power build from the ground up. Check out this video from trainer Kurt Hester for more on proper leg position and technique.

Develop Tension to Transfer Force

The force generated by a proper leg drive has to travel the length of the body to move the bar. So your body must be as rigid as possible. To do this, contract your glutes, core and lats to provide the tension necessary to prevent "energy leaks" or lost power.

Improving your upper-back strength with pulling exercises such as Rows and Chin-Ups will give you a stronger base for your pressing muscles to push against. Also, to complete the force transfer into the bar, you must squeeze it hard, as if you were trying to rip it apart.

Try Other Pressing Variations

There are several ways to develop your upper-body pressing strength. Variations include the Incline Press, Standing Overhead Press, Floor Press, Dumbbell Bench and Dumbbell Incline. Adding these movements will help develop your shoulders, improve lockout strength, increase unilateral strength and continuously challenge your muscles.

Build Your Triceps

The Bench Press is great for developing your chest, but strong triceps are necessary to take it to the next level. Incorporate Dips, Close-Grip Bench, Close-Grip Push-Ups and Tricep Extensions to complement your other pressing work and improve your bench results.

Check out for everything you ever wanted to know about the Bench Press.

Drew Henley
- Drew Henley is the creator of Henley Sports Performance, a strength and conditioning resource for athletes and coaches. A former Division I track and field...
Drew Henley
- Drew Henley is the creator of Henley Sports Performance, a strength and conditioning resource for athletes and coaches. A former Division I track and field...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Build a Stronger Chest

Benefits of the Incline Bench Press

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

Alternate Dumbbell Press for Baseball Players

Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

How to Add the Bench Press to Your Workouts

For a Bigger Bench Press, Try These Variations

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

Fix the 3 Key Exercises You're Doing Wrong

STACK Challenge: The Bodyweight Bench Press

Injury-Free Bench Pressing

Benefits of the Decline Bench Press

You're Doing It Wrong: Exercise Tempo

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

7 Reasons Why Your Bench Press Is Weak

Build Strength and Size With Incline Bench Variations

Build a Bigger Upper Chest with These Exercises

Average to Great Bench Press

Sculpt a Chiseled Chest With a Machine Bench Press

The Secret to Bigger Pecs

A Guide to Bench Presses and How to Use Them

Add Pounds to Your Bench Press

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

Why Proper Exercise Form Is Crucial for Young Athletes

Build a Bigger Bench With Band Presses

Build Your Chest Without the Bench Press

Why Baseball Players Shouldn't Bench Press

4 Easy Fixes for Your Bench Press Routine

Why You Should Ditch the Bench Press

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

3 Techniques to Increase Your Bench Press Max

Golf Exercises: Big Lifts for Big Drives