So you’ve been working out for a while now and you've hit a plateau. Now you want to increase your bench press. Whether you've taken a body building or powerlifting approach to your training, in order to improve your benchpress you’re going to have to borrow from both styles of training. You may even need to redesign your workouts to increase your bench. But don't worry, we’ve got you covered… This is GYMCADDY’s Advice On How To Increase Your Bench.
Whether you’re more of a bodybuilder or powerlifter, you’re going to need to introduce some key exercises into your workout plan to increase your bench press. The first major exercise you should be doing to help increase your bench press max are dips. But not just any dips, you should be doing weighted dips. By doing weighted dips you will not only train your pecs, but you'll also workout your shoulders and triceps. By doing full range and quality weighted dips you will also train yourself to be more explosive at the bottom of the bench. Which is great because for most guys the bottom portion of the bench press is usually the hardest. One major piece of advice is you want to invest into a weight dip belt. The belt makes it much easier to do your weighted dips. You can also use it when you graduate to weighted pull ups. Doing 4 or 5 sets of weighted dips for 8-10 reps will help in your training to increase your bench.
The bench press is a major exercise that uses much more than just your chest. If you really want to increase your bench press then you should also focus on strengthening your triceps, shoulders and core. And what if I told you there was an exercises that can do all of that and still help increase your bench… The exercise I'm talking about is the over head press. The over head press is another exercise you should incorporate into your workout routine because it will strengthen your triceps, shoulders, and core all at once. But in order to benefit from the over head press you need to look into your form. First off you want to make sure you’re getting a FULL RANGE OF MOTION. That means arms shoulder width apart, the bar STARTS at your clavicle AKA neck bone, the bar ends OVER your HEAD with arms fully extended, the bar then returns back to your clavicle all while getting absolutely no help from your legs. There are countless times where I’ve seen guys at the gym either doing half rep over head presses or using leg drive to do push presses. Theres a huge difference between the over head press and push press!
Alright, so weighted dips and over head presses can help with overall strength development and being more explosive at the bottom of the bench. But what if you’re having issues with the lock out portion of the bench. Don't worry, we’ve still got you covered. In order to help with the lock out portion of the bench you will want to look into the Pin Press. The Pin Press is a special set up where you set up the guards on the squat rack slightly below where you’re lock out struggle begins. The Pin Press is great because you can focus specifically on working on your lock out without having to worry about the the first three quarters of the bench press. In order to do a proper pin press you want to make sure your core tight, and scapula are retracted. You should press just like you would do in a normal bench press and bring the weight back down to continue doing a few more reps. It is important that you DON’T bounce the weight off the guards to help you with you reps. Concerning weight, you want to use somewhere between 80%-95% of your one rep max.
So, we’ve given you 3 very powerful exercises that will help you increase your bench. Weighted Dips, The Over Head Press, and Pin Press. But those alone might not be enough. If you want to increase your bench press max than you might also have to switch up your training style or rep range. If you’re a body builder who usually trains in the 8-12 rep range then you should start training in the 3-5 rep range with high intensity. By training in the lower rep range you will build raw strength and increase your explosiveness. But if you're more of a powerlifter then you should take up some bodybuilding training aspects. No matter how hard you workout, if you don have the necessary muscle mass you wont get any stronger. So you should focus on myofibrillar hypertrophy by working out in the higher rep ranges like 8-12. Whether you’re body building or powerlifting you should dabble into the opposite training style for a month or two to help you bring up your weak points.
Increasing your bench press doesn’t happen over night. It requires proper programming and experimentation. We’ve given you 3 major exercises that if used properly can help improve your bench press. But this advice is under the assumption that you have proper form. You'd be amazed at how much your bench press can increase by just changing grip width, bar path placement, or even just looking for certain cues. But remember, stay safe and always use a spotter or guards when trying to hit a new Bench Press PR.