"How much do you bench?" This is the first question you'll get asked in the gym. That's because the Bench Press is arguably the most popular exercise, and people judge how strong your are based on how much you can bench. It's not the best method, but it is what it is.
No one wants to be embarrassed by their answer. These three Bench Press strategies will help you get stronger, build a bigger Bench Press and answer your fellow weightlifters' question confidently.
Bench Press Strategies
Overload Your Muscles
How are you ever going to improve the amount you can press if you never try to lift more than you can now? The short answer is, you won't.
Overloading means lifting with more weight on the bar than you can actually lift. The key is to have a spotter help you. The spotter gives you a lift off, you lower the weight as controlled as you can to your chest on your own, then the spotter helps you press the weight back to the starting position. These are also known as forced reps. Use 5 percent more than you can lift and do 1 or 2 sets of 3 reps. After three weeks, attempt to lift the weight on your own.
Build Your Triceps
The triceps play an important role in the Bench Press, especially the second half of the press. Strong triceps will eventually lead to a stronger bench. Exercises that can be big assistant movements include Close-Grip Bench Press, Neutrail-Grip Dumbbell Press and Weighted Dips. These are accessory movements, so always do these exercises after the Bench Press or other big lifts.
If you're going for a huge Bench Press, it might be time to consider wrapping your wrists and elbows. Wraps help maintain stability in those joints when under a heavy load, which is important for executing the lift and keeping them healthy outside of the gym.
The wrist wraps help you focus on gripping the bar and can prevent tendonitis—this is particularly important if you've broken your wrist in the past. Elbow wraps or sleeves take pressure off the joint so you can focus on pressing the bar using your chest, shoulders and triceps.
One word of caution: If you're benching 135 then you have no right using wraps. There's no specific weight where you must start using wraps, but it's something to consider as you get over 300 pounds.
Big Bench Press Workout
- DB Scarecrows - 2x15
- Flat Barbell Bench Press - Warm-Up Set: 1x15; Work Sets: 2x2-4 with very heavy weight; Overload Sets: 2x3 with 105-percent max
- Incline Dumbbell Fly - 3x6-8
- Close-Grip Bench Press or Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Press - 3x6-8
- Weighted Tricep Dips - 3x8-10
*Rest for two minutes between each set
RELATED: The Bench Press Pyramid Workout
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