Information on how to run faster, lift stronger and think deeper

5 Tips to Immediately Boost Your Bench Press

Posted by Evelyn Kail

Feb 17, 2017 4:37:48 AM

Boost your bench press

5 Tips to Immediately Boost Your Bench Press

The bench press is one of the key exercises in weightlifting. Almost everyone who lifts weights will want to know just how much you bench-press. This is why people look for ways to improve their sets and debate on whether incline and decline bench press is better.

There's a good reason for the importance placed on the bench press. No other upper body exercise can claim to give the same results as the bench press. When performed correctly, the bench press trains the pectorals and also develops one's legs, shoulders, and triceps.

Bench press calculator

What's the Best Type of Bench Press?

There are contradicting trains of thought when it comes to which is the best type of bench press. Some believe that the flat bench press is enough to get good results. Meanwhile, there are those who believe in the incline and decline bench press benefits. So, which is which?

As the name implies, the flat bench press is performed while lying flat. The incline bench press is done with the body slightly inclined. Meanwhile, the decline bench press is performed with the head at a lower angle.

The flat bench press works the whole chest and front shoulder muscles. Weightlifters who want to target the upper chest usually opt for the incline bench press while the decline bench press focuses on the lower chest. But determining the best exercise depends on one's preference. There's no question though that combining the three will give you an optimal chest workout.

Psyche yourself up

Stretching or getting a good warm up is crucial before any sport or exercise. So is psyching yourself up and preparing yourself mentally. You've probably seen some powerlifters going through certain postures or rituals before attempting a lift. It might look weird for some but there's actually a scientific reason for this.

One study has shown that rugby players who psyched themselves up before doing a bench press set actually increased their force production by as much as 8%. It was also discovered that lifting while distracted resulted in a 12% decrease in force production.

Essentially, pumping yourself up helps improve your bench press set. Some do this by listening to music while others repeat a mantra or do a ritual. There are also those who just focus and visualize the exercise.

Prioritize the bench press

A lot of weightlifters might not be aware of this but the order in which they do their exercises has a big impact. To reap the full bench press benefits, make it a priority in your weightlifting routine. You can then move on to other compound lifts and wrap up with several isolation-type sets.

Find the perfect balance

Just like the debate on the benefits of incline and decline bench press, how often one benches is an often-discussed topic. As a rule, using lighter weights and fewer sets per workout means you can train a certain muscle group more often. Conversely, using heavier weights and more sets dictates that you have to train the muscle group less.

Training every muscle group two to three times a week appears to be the norm for a lot of weightlifters. It's undoubtedly a good number, but it's not necessarily better than training each muscle group once every five days; as long as you're doing it at the right volume and intensity, that is.  

You don't want to undertrain or overtrain. To make the most of your bench press routine, remember that working out at the right volume and intensity is infinitely better than frequency.

Get in the right position and maintain it 

The bench press is notorious for causing shoulder injuries. While it's admittedly a grueling routine, the main culprit is actually performing the exercise incorrectly. For instance, one major mistake that a lot of weightlifters make is flaring the elbows out as the bar ascends.

When setting yourself up to bench press, make sure that your eyes are directly lined up under the bar. This will let you pull the bar forward while setting your shoulders and back in the right position. How you position your feet and grip are important too.

Take your cue from powerlifters and pull your feet back towards your hips, but make sure that you keep the balls of your feet on the floor. As for the grip, place the bar in the heel of your hand, right above the wrist. This will help keep your wrist straight and position your forearm to be in direct line under the bar.

Take a break from benching

There's no question that the bench press is an intense and challenging exercise. On top of that, it's done on the shoulders, a joint that's susceptible to injury. This is why it's important to take a break from benching and give your shoulders time to rest and recover. Instead of pushing through with the bench press, you can focus on supplemental exercises like the dumbbell press, military press, or pull-ups.

It doesn't matter whether you prefer the flat or the incline and decline bench press. What's important is your form and intensity when you bench. Prioritizing the bench press and getting enough rest from it is crucial if you want to boost your bench results.

Further Reading




Topics: Lift stronger, Bench Press