Bench Press Alternatives

The vast majority of weight trainers love the bench press. It’s a great test of upper body strength and it will help you build thick and powerful looking pecs. It’s also a relatively easy exercise to perform and won’t take as much out of you as heavy squats and deadlifts do. However, sometimes you may want to find bench press alternatives if you don’t have the required equipment available to do the exercise with or want to make some changes to your routine to kick start your body for more strength and size gains. You may also want some other exercises to do after benching.

The most obvious alternative to flat and incline benching with a barbell is to use dumbbells instead. Benching with dumbbells will allow you to get a deeper stretch at the bottom of each rep unlike a barbell which will stop when it hits your pecs. You can also move the dumbbells closer to each other as you complete a repetition, which you can’t do while barbell benching.

Another great bench press alternative is to perform the exercise (with dumbbells) while lying on a core ball. Dumbbell bench pressing on a core ball will force many small muscles to stabilize your body on the ball. You’ll activate many rarely used muscles by doing this. Just be sure not to use too much weight.

Dips are one of the best bench press alternatives. If you perform dips the right way, you can hit your pecs hard. Place your hands on dip bars (preferably wider apart) and tilt your body so you will use your pecs to do the exercise before lowering and raising your body. You can use a belt that allows you to add weight to it for a great strength training exercise.

Another one of the best bench press alternatives is the classic push-up. You can do normal push-ups or put your feet on a bench to make them more like an incline bench press. This is a great exercise for getting a lot of reps on and makes for a great finisher to a chest workout.

All of these exercises make for excellent bench press alternatives. At some point you will likely want to go back to the classic barbell bench press. However, if you only have so much equipment to lift with, you can get a great bench workout without doing normal bench presses.

Increasing Bench Press Max

There isn’t a weight training exercise that people will try to find out how much they can lift for one rep on as much as the bench press. For competitive powerlifters it’s a must to increase bench press max. However, even average weight trainers will test their strength for one rep on the bench press every now and then. The biggest reasons for this are that many people will ask how much you can bench if you look like you lift weights and it’s an easy exercise to max out on – all you need is a spotter watching you. Whatever the case, increasing bench press max is a major goal for many weight trainers.

One key to increasing your bench press one rep max is to use proper form on the exercise. This doesn’t mean that you should keep your back perfectly flat when you bench. Of course, it also doesn’t mean that you should raise your hips up off of the bench to greatly decrease the distance you have to lift the weight. You can decrease the distance you have to lift the weight by pulling your shoulder blades inward and contracting the upper back muscles. You can also keep a natural arch in your back while keeping your rear end on the bench. This is actually the most efficient way to bench press as you’ll focus more of the resistance on the pecs. Doing this will certainly help you at increasing bench press max.

One technique you can use to increase bench press max is to identify which part of a rep you are weakest on and do some sets focusing on just that area. Do you have trouble when you first start lifting the weight off of your chest? Do you have a problem locking out the weight at the top? You can remedy either of these problems by doing bench press sets in a squat rack with stoppers set up that force you to only do partial reps that focus on your weakest point. Strengthening your weak point on a rep will certainly help you succeed at increasing your bench press maximum.

There is a mental aspect to increasing bench press max. Say your goal is to bench 300 pounds. You have been able to bench 295 for a while, but just can’t seem to get 300 whenever you try it. One day, you do your usual 295, but when you look at the weight you realize that you actually had 300 or 305 on the bar. You just broke 300 without knowing it. Your mind couldn’t get around the number 300 – it was all in your head. This happens to many lifters when they get to those ‘milestone’ weights. You may even find that your max weight starts going up again when you finally break one of these milestones.

Another way to increase bench press max is to get your body used to heavier weights. You can put on a weight that’s 10 pounds more than your max and have a spotter assist you for a rep. If you have a spotter to watch each side of the bar you can even try some negative only reps. To do these you slowly lower a very heavy weight to your chest and have the spotters lift it off of you. This will allow your body to ‘feel’ super heavy weight and could make it easier for you when you try increasing bench press one rep max.

Work on your benching techniques and always try to do just a little bit more weight. With some hard work, you’ll be able to reach your goal of increasing bench press max. If you want to increase your bench press max by as much as 50 lbs. you should check out Critical Bench.

How To Gain Bench Press Strength

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 Press Techniques

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.

Bench Press Workouts

Due to the fascination that the general public has with the bench press, the vast majority of people who lift weights want to increase their strength on this exercise. If you’re a powerlifter, the bench press is one of the 3 exercises you need to build strength on. If you’re into bodybuilding you’ll want to do bench press workouts to build the chest muscles. If you are the average weight trainer, you’ll want the bragging rights that a bigger bench will give you. No matter what your ultimate goals are, intense bench press workouts need to be part of your routine.

If your goal is to increase strength through bench press workouts you’ll want to train heavy for the most part. This means that you should perform sets for low reps when you bench press. Using heavier weights will help you raise your one rep max on the bench, which is particularly important if you compete in power lifting competitions.

If your main goal is to increase muscle size from bench workouts, you’ll want to do more reps per set. This will allow you to get more of a pump in the chest muscles when you bench. This is the best way for bodybuilders to perform bench press workouts. If you are trying to improve the shape of your physique you may want to begin your bench workouts with incline bench presses rather than flat benches if you have overdeveloped lower pecs.

One great idea for most weight trainers is to combine training for strength and size and vary your rep ranges during bench press workouts. If you lift heavy all of the time you’ll build more strength when you do low rep or one rep max lifts. If you lift lighter weights for more reps you’ll get stronger on high rep sets. Training heavy activates different muscle fibers than training with high reps. If you always do 12 to 15 reps per set you may be able to use more weight for a set done with that rep range than a lifter who always uses low reps. However, they will likely have a higher one rep max. You can try using both low and high rep ranges during your bench press workouts to get the best of both worlds.

If you want to do this you should set up your bench press workout routine so you do a light day with high reps done on every set, a medium day with medium weights and reps, and a heavy day with low reps done on every bench press set. Do your high rep bench press workout, then make sure to have enough days off from training your chest so you are fully recovered by the time you do your medium workout. Do the same thing when you get to your heavy workout. After that, you repeat the process again. Your body never gets the chance to get too accustomed to the same weight and reps and you train both fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers. You could try using various rep ranges during the same bench pressing workout but this could take a lot out of you, though you should finish all of your workouts with a high rep set or 2 to end with a pump.

Be sure to go all out on every set during your bench press workouts. To gain size and strength you need to constantly challenge yourself. Try to get one more rep or 5 more pounds than you did last time. When you get to failure have a spotter assist you for an extra rep. If you train hard, you won’t need to spend hour after hour at the gym. You should be able to finish a bench pressing workout within 30 to 40 minutes. If you train for too long you won’t be able to lift with a lot of intensity after a certain point. Get to the gym, lift hard, get out, and rest. This the key to gaining strength and size from the bench press or any other weight training exercise.

Improve Your Bench Press

If you’re a guy who’s into weight training, there’s a good chance you’d like to improve your bench press. Though it doesn’t require as many muscles to lift the weight as squats and deadlifts do, it remains the measure of strength for most people. Without a doubt, improving your bench press strength will boost your confidence, and your chest muscles.

When you want to improve your bench press, proper form is key. Using sloppy form to bench more weight is a temptation many trainers succumb to. However, not only does it not work the muscles you should be working as efficiently when you bench, it can also be dangerous. When you bench, lie on the bench with your feet on the floor and a natural arch in the lower back. Scrunch your upper back – shoulder blade area inward to force the pecs to pop out. This puts more of the resistance on your chest rather than the front deltoids and triceps. When you’re in the proper position, unrack the weight and lower it in a controlled manner to your chest before trying to explode the weight upward. You should also have somebody spot you when you bench, especially when going heavy.

Another key to improving your bench is to train with high intensity. You should always try to go to failure on your working sets. Set small goals, and once you hit them, increase the amount of weight you bench or the number of reps you do. These incremental increases will eventually lead to exponential results. It’s also a good idea to make changes in your routine to give your muscles a kick, especially when you’ve grown too used to always doing the same thing.

Avoiding overtraining is also important when you want to improve your bench press. Too many beginning weight trainers get over zealous and believe that the more sets of bench and more workouts they do, the better. However, this will just end up burning you out. You can also overtrain, and not be recovering enough between bench press workouts. This can lead to sticking points and even strength decreases.

Another key to success when you want to improve your bench press is to train the rest of your body proportionately. Having strong shoulders and triceps will certainly help you bench more. Building your upper back muscles will make your upper body thicker, which will mean that you won’t have to lower the bar as far, and consequently, will be able to bench more. Even training you legs will help, as heavy leg workouts will boost your testosterone levels so your whole body gets bigger.

If you decide to try to improve your bench press, all of these things will help you in your quest.

Bench Press Warm Up Sets

Warming up before you bench press is very important. You need to the muscles to be loose and warm if you want to bench press at full strength. Bench press warm up sets will also help you avoid an injury.

It should only take a few bench press warm up sets to be ready for your real workout. The first one can be with some light dumbbells or with a little weight on a barbell. You may even start out with a set of push-ups. This set will have you doing 15 to 20 reps and won’t have you going anywhere near failure. The next set will have you doing 12 to 15 reps with more weight, but still not getting too close to failure. Your last bench press warm up set will have you lifting weight that’s not too far off of what you will be using during your working sets and will have you only coming up a couple of reps short of failure.

One thing you can do while you are warming up for bench pressing is to do some warm up sets for your upper back. Getting a bit of a pump in the upper back may help you bench press more weight as your body will just be a little bit thicker. Some light cable pull-downs and rows will warm up your upper back and get blood flowing into the area.

To help loosen the muscles up, be sure to stretch the chest muscles between each warm up set. Doing this will help you get ready for an intense bench press workout.

Best Bench Press Workout Routines

If you want to get a stronger bench press, it’s a must to train hard and get the right amount of recovery time between bench workouts. There are certain exercises and techniques you should try to further your bench strength increases. With the best bench press workout routines, just about anybody can build strength on this great exercise.

To take advantage of the top bench press workout routines, you need to always try to use a little more weight or do more reps with the same weight without breaking form. It’s important to keep good form because you will train the muscles more efficiently, prevent injuries, and build real strength. The key to making consistent strength gains is to train with high intensity when you bench press. This means that you need to get to a point on a bench set where you can’t get another repetition without assistance. With a spotter, you can go beyond failure with some assisted reps for a really intense set. It will be impossible to make a gain during every single bench workout, but the incremental gains you make from time to time will add up after a while.

The best bench press workout routines won’t do as much for you if you overdo it by doing too many sets and exercises and not giving the muscles enough rest between workouts. Full recovery will be needed between each workout to get optimal strength and size gains. The muscles actually get bigger and stronger during the recovery phase. Not only will you get better gains with full recovery, you will also feel more fresh and fired up to get a good workout in. How many days you should have between bench press workouts depends on how much you do during each workout. For most, this will probably be 4 or 5 days. If you feel any soreness before a chest workout, you should take another day off.

Making changes to the best bench press workout routines will help you make consistent gains. If you constantly do the same amount of sets on the same exercises for the same reps your workouts will grow stale and your gains may slow down or stop. You can try doing incline benches before flat benches for a change or do more dumbbell work. One excellent way to change your routine is to go for different rep ranges during each bench workout. To do this you would set up your weight training routine so that you have a light, medium, and heavy bench press workout. During the light bench workout you would do all of your sets for high reps – between 12 and 20 reps will work well. The next time you do a bench workout you will use medium weights for a medium amount of reps – 8 to 12 will do. The last workout of this cycle will have you going heavy with sets of 3 to 7 reps. You then repeat the cycle. How much weight you use during these workouts depends on your level of strength.

Another great bench press workout routine you can try to give your muscles a kick is the 10 sets of 10 routine. Take the amount of weight you can bench press for 20 reps to failure and do 10 sets of 10 reps with it. This may not sound that tough, but you only get one minute to rest between each set. The first few sets will be quite easy, but the last few will be hard to complete. These 10 sets will be your whole chest workout. This is a routine you just want to do for about 3 weeks to a month before going back to a more normal bench routine.

Working harder and smarter can help you succeed with the top bench press workout routines. You just need to keep at it.

Bench Press Tips For More Size And Strength

Who doesn’t want to be stronger on the bench press? It’s easily the most popular weight training exercise to do and people are always impressed by a big bench press. Of course, you do need to follow certain guidelines to gain benching strength. There are many great bench press tips for getting stronger on this incredible exercise.

Without a doubt, one of the best bench press tips is to learn proper lifting form on it. It should be the first thing you do for the bench press and every other exercise when you start weight training. Too many beginning weight trainers try lifting too much weight too soon and end up developing bad lifting form on the bench press. Performing this exercise the wrong way will just give your joints a beating and could lead to injury. If you start out by constantly cheating when you bench, it will be much harder to curb those habits later on. Buy a book or magazine that shows you proper bench press form or have a personal trainer show you how to perform it properly.

Another great bench press tip is to train with high intensity. If you are trying to build strength and size in your chest from bench pressing, you need to constantly challenge yourself. Once you’re finished warming up, do all of your working sets of bench press to failure. This means that you do reps during a set until you can’t possibly do any more. You also need to try to either lift more weight than you did during your last bench press workout or do the same amount of weight for more reps. It’s impossible to improve during every single workout, but as long as you try, your weights and/or reps will eventually go up.

Avoiding overtraining is another excellent bench press tip. If you do set after set on the bench and don’t give your chest enough rest to get stronger and grow, you’ll end up stuck at the same weight or may even get weaker. Too many beginning lifters believe that they will get a bigger bench by doing numerous sets and only giving themselves a few days off between bench workouts. If you train with high intensity and perform the bench press properly, it won’t take very many sets to get a response. You also need to make sure that your chest is not still sore from your last bench press workout before you do it again.

Another one of the best bench press tips is to have somebody spot you when you are going heavy. Getting stuck on the bench with a heavy bar on your chest can be extremely dangerous. It would be optimal to have someone spot you during every single working set of the bench press you do. However, not everybody has a training partner and wants to ask some random person at the gym to spot them during every set. If you don’t have a lifting partner, you should at least make sure that somebody is around when you are benching in case you get stuck and always ask for a spot when you’re maxing out. Doing bench presses on a Smith machine can also be safer.

Once you start following these basic bench press tips, you’ll be on your way to more benching strength and a bigger, thicker chest.

Bench Press Routines

Most guys who weight train want to bench press more weight. It’s the favorite exercise for the majority of people who lift weights. If you’re brand new to weight training, a huge bench won’t happen overnight. It takes time for your muscles to grow. Fortunately, you can build strength and size with the right bench press routines.

Obviously, your bench press routine will be part fo your chest workout routine. Most of the exercises you do for your chest are going to be some form of the bench press. Isolation exercises such as flyes and cable crossovers should be done towards the end of your chest workouts. While the flat barbell bench press should be the main exercise in your chest routine, you also need to hit the chest muscles from various angles for overall muscular development in the pecs. This means that exercises such as incline and decline bench presses should be part of your bench press routine.

Bench pressing with a barbell is certainly the most popular way to perform the exercise. However, you should do some sets of flat and incline benches with dumbbells during your bench press routines. Using dumbbells will allow you to stretch deeper at the bottom of a rep. This could help make you stronger at the point during a bench press rep when you are starting to lift the weight off of your chest. Doing some dumbbell exercises will also activate more small stabilizing muscles to control the weights.

To avoid hitting a plateau in your bench pressing routine, you should make changes regularly. You should always keep flat and incline bench presses in your routine, but you may want to switch around some other exercises. Switch between flat and incline dumbbell bench presses at every other workout. Do the same thing with decline presses and dips. You should also vary your rep ranges. Try setting up a bench press routine where you do high reps on every set during the first workout, medium reps during the next workout, and low reps during the last workout. If you do these things you’ll always keep your body guessing and you won’t be as likely to hit a wall in your progress.

Here is a sample bench press routine.
First workout (15-20 or 12-15 reps on every set)
2-3 sets of bench presses
2-3 sets of incline bench presses
1-2 sets of decline bench presses or dips (switch every other workout)
1-2 sets of flat or incline dumbbell bench presses (switch every other workout)
Second workout (10-15 or 7-12 reps)
2-3 sets of bench presses
2-3 sets of incline presses
2-3 sets of decline presses or dips
2-3 sets of flat or incline dumbbell bench presses
Third workout (5-10 or 3-7 reps)
3-4 sets of bench presses
3-4 sets of incline benches
2-3 sets of decline presses or dips
2-3 sets of flat or incline dumbbell bech presses
Make sure to give yourself enough rest between workouts. This depends on your recovery ability, but 4 or 5 days in between workouts will work for most natural weight trainers.

Of course, that’s just a sample benching routine you could try. You should experiment to find what works best for you. Blast Your Bench and Critical Bench also have some great bench press routines you can try out to increase your benching strength and build bigger chest muscles.