“How much do you bench”?
This question in the lifting world is equal to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” or “What nationality are you?” which are typical questions in the real world.
Even though I may be more impressed with Squat, Deadlift and Shoulder Pressing numbers, it’s still important to have a strong bench.
It seems like everybody just wants to bench press a lot nowadays. I think it’s an ego thing. The most popular pressing exercise used to be the standing military press. Now it’s the bench press. Many people say that the bench press is a shoulder killer and they may be right. The bench press is an open chain exercise which means that the scapula can’t move. Combine that with the fact that most people flare their elbows for ego purposes. Then you know you have an exercise dangerous exercise. The bench press could be a solid exercise if done well. It could also be safe if you train the muscles more than the ego. Here are some ways to improve your bench press:
1) WORK ON YOUR WEAK POINTS.
Some people are weak at the bottom which is also known as the hole. Others are weak when it comes to locking out the weight. There are a million ways to work on your weak points. If you struggle when it comes time to lockout the weight, then you should be doing heavy partial range presses. This will improve your lockout strength.
If you’re weak in the hole, then you could benefit from a pause bench press. Make the bar touch your chest for 1-3 seconds and then explode back up.
Identify your weaknesses. Then you can you work on them. You can’t know what the answer is if you don’t even know what the problem is.
2) IMPROVE YOUR VERTICAL PRESSING
Some lifters can bench 315lb and can’t even shoulder press half of that. Your bench press numbers will improve if you increase your shoulder press numbers. Don’t forget that you should be balancing horizontal and vertical pressing for healthy shoulders.
3) RACK PULLS, HEAVY DEADLIFTS AND/OR HEAVY ROWS
Rack pulls, heavy deadlifts or heavy rows are great for improving your bench press. Two important things you need for improving your bench are:
• A strong upper back for a solid foundation
• A powerful grip
If you’re able to squeeze the bar harder than your bench will improve. If you have a strong upper back, then you will have a more solid foundation for pressing. Rack Pulls, heavy deadlifts, and heavy rows will do good things for you.
4) ADD DIPS FOR STRONG TRICEPS
Pat Casey was the first man to ever bench press 600lb raw. One of his main exercises were heavy weighted dips to increase his triceps strength. Understand that heavy is a relative term and heavy isn’t the same for everybody.
5) TRAIN WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE STRONGER THAN YOU
This is one of the most important rules when it comes to increasing your bench press. You’re only as strong as your gym. If the strongest person in your gym is benching 315lb for 3, then you will be start thinking that 315lb is a strong bench. If your gym doesn’t have strong people, then make sure then just change gyms altogether. Being in an environment where you’re a weak bencher will force you to adapt and get stronger. This is one of the best tips that I could give you. It’s easy to be the strongest wolf in a room full of sheep.
I hope that you learned a few things. Remember, if you want to be a good bencher then you have to make it a priority. If you are a natural, then you can’t be doing everything at once. Make goals, make plans, put in the work while being patient and the results will come.