Using Bench Press Chains

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.

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.

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.