There are certain techniques you can use to gain strength on the bench press. These include forced reps, negative only reps, and training your weakest part of a bench press rep. There is another great technique you can try that involves using bench press chains.
For many weight trainers, the toughest part of a bench press rep is the point where they lift the bar off of their chests after lowering it. For most of us, the easiest part of a rep is the last few inches, also known as the lockout. If you’ve ever tried a partial bench press repetition (just performing the lockout portion of the lift), you could almost certainly use a lot more weight than you can for a full rep. Using bench press chains will allow the overall weight you are lifting to get lighter as you lower the barbell, and heavier as you lift it.
Bench press chains are basically heavy chains attached to collars that you can put on each side of a barbell after you’ve put weights on it. When the barbell is one the rack or at arm length, only a small portion of the chains are on the floor. As you lower the barbell to your chest, more of the chains pile on the floor – which decreases the overall amount of weight. As you lift the barbell the chains come up off of the floor – which increases the overall amount. This means that when you are using bench press chains you will be lifting less weight at your weakest part of a rep, and more weight at your strongest part of a rep.
You can take advantage of using bench press chains to get stronger on the bench. With the change in resistance through a rep, you’ll be challenged throughout the entire lift. Try a couple of sets with the chains added to the barbell and you will feel the difference.
At some point, your bench press workouts may become stale. Everybody hits a plateau where they don’t get strength and size gains at some. When this happens to you, you can try to make changes to your bench press routine. Using some intensity boosting techniques should help you break through your plateau and help you reach new highs on your bench. There are various things you can do to make your bench workouts more intense. One of the best is to do bench press drop sets.
In the simplest terms, to do bench press drop sets you do a set of bench until failure, then quickly drop the weight and continue to rep out until failure. This is easier said than done, since it takes a little time to take weights off each side of a barbell. This can be made easier by putting smaller weights on the barbell that equal the amount of weight you want to drop (if you’re going to drop the weight by 50 pounds, use 25 pound weights on each side). You can also have a spotter or two quickly take off weights for you so you can start lifting again.
A better option may be to use dumbbells while performing bench press drop sets. You can gather all of the weights you’ll use during a drop set and once you go to failure you easily go to the lighter dumbbells.
You can use bench press drop sets while benching on a flat, incline, or decline bench. Trying them on different exercises will allow you hammer the pecs from all angles.
If you want you can do more than one weight drop while doing bench press drop sets. If you do this you want need to do as many overall sets. In fact, if you decide to do drop sets on the bench press you have to try to avoid overtraining. Drop sets will take a lot of you, so be sure to get plenty of rest and recovery before the nest time you do them.
You may not to do bench press drop sets all of the time, but they are great if you want to give your intensity level a kick. They also make for great finishers to a chest workout.
The vast majority of men who weight train want to know how to gain bench press strength. It’s certainly the most popular exercise to do, so most of us want be able to push up a big weight on it. Also, people are bound to ask you how much you can bench if they know you lift weights. when you consider these things, you should realize that it’s about time to learn how to gain bench press strength.
The first step to gaining bench press strength is to learn how to properly perform the exercise. You don’t just lie on a bench and push a weight up. You also shouldn’t use too much weight and end up cheating. To perform the bench press properly you should pull your shoulder blades when you lie on the bench to pop your pecs out so the weights resistance is more focused on them. Then, as you lower the weight you should lower it slowly and under control. Dropping the weight too quickly can lead to injury.
When you want to know how to gain bench press strength you also need to set up a routine that will allow you to train hard and get enough rest to build muscle size and strength. Gaining mass and strength requires intense training and enough rest between workouts no matter what muscle you’re talking about. When it comes to increasing bench press strength this also holds true. Train hard when you bench, and then make sure to get plenty of rest so you are ready to rock the next time you do a bench workout. This means you should take a few days between bench workouts, depending on how much work you do during each workout.
There are some techniques that can help you if you’re learning how to gain bench pressing strength. One is to strengthen the area where you are at your weakest on the bench press. This means that if you have trouble getting the bar off of your chest, you should try do partial reps focusing only on that part of a rep. You can do this in rack to stop the weight a few inches above your chest. You can do the same type of thing if you have trouble locking out.
Making regular changes in your bench workouts is a good idea when you want to know how to increase bench press strength. You can change the order of the exercises you do, like doing incline bench presses before flat benches. You can try different rep ranges. Anything that can keep your pectoral muscles guessing will help you avoid a plateau in your benching strength.
As you can see there are plenty of things you can do to answer the question of how to gain bench press strength. Keep at it, and your chances of success will be that much better.
Bench pressing more weight is a major goal of just about any guy who weight trains. Whether you’re a serious powerlifter or just a normal gym rat, increasing your bench press max is likely something you strive for. However, a huge bench press won’t come overnight. It takes time for most people to get up to a 300 or 400 pound bench press. Fortunately, there are some bench press techniques you can take advantage of to raise your max.
One of the best bench press techniques is to perform the exercise the right way to lift more weight. While you will see many people cheat like crazy to bench more weight, you’ll also see lifters who appear to be benching with perfect form but aren’t getting as much as they could out of the exercise. For instance, many lifters believe that the best way to bench press is to keep the back completely flat against the bench. However, when you do this you are doing yourself a great disservice. You will actually be training your chest more efficiently if you pull your shoulder blades inward while you perform the bench press. Using this bench press technique will pop your pecs out and target them better. When you keep the upper back perfectly flat you’re going to working your front deltoids and possibly your triceps more than you need to. You should also keep a natural arch in your lower back when benching and never raise your behind off of the bench.
Performing forced reps and negative only reps are both excellent bench press techniques. When you’re doing a bench press set have a spotter assist you with an extra forced rep or 2 to add some intensity to your workout. You could even try benching a weight that is just a little bit heavier than you can lift and have a spotter assist you throughout the entire rep. Negative only reps will require a spotter on each side of the barbell since you are basically doing only the negative part of the bench press. To do them you take a weight too heavy for you to bench and lower it slowly to your chest. When the weight gets to your chest the spotters help you lift it up. You need to lower the weight slowly and with complete control for safety and effectiveness when you do negative only reps. Both of these bench press techniques are useful for getting a feel for heavier weights when you’re trying to increase your max.
Another great bench press technique is to identify where you have the most trouble during a bench press rep and doing sets targeting just that part of a rep. Many lifters are weakest at the point of a bench press rep when they first start lifting the weight off of their chests. If this is true for you, you can do bench press sets where you only lift the weight a few inches off of your chest. The best way to do this is to set up in a rack that will allow you to place stoppers a few inches above you when you’re benching. When you do a rep, hold the weight against the stoppers for a couple of seconds before lowering it. If you have trouble locking out, you can use the same bench press technique in a different way. In this case you would set the stopppers so that you lower the weight to them and do only the last few inches of a rep. Soon, you’ll find that you are stronger at your weakest point in a bench press rep and you should be able to handle more weight.
If you take advantage of these great bench press techniques you will succeed at increasing your bench max. You can find more great benching techniques at Critical Bench.