The bench press is a very complicated exercise and we tend to forget this. Rarely is the bench press performed correctly. There is a millions ways to improve your max bench but we’re going to cover 5 important tips to improve your bench press that often get overlooked but will add to your bench total in no time.
Additionally, people often focus on the workout and leave no time to post-workout optimization because once they’re not in the gym, it’s assumed no strength can be made. This simply isn’t true, refueling your body with the optimal post-workout recovery formula will lead to better recovery.
Leaving your muscles feeling well-rested and stronger than before allowing you to continue training at a high intensity, which will over time increase your strength and size.
Lets look at the 5 tips below to improve the way you bench today.
1. USE YOUR CHEST, NOT YOUR SHOULDERS
Most Common Mistakes
One of the most common mistakes people make when benching is allowing their shoulders to overpower the chest. Use the following key reminders to ensure you’re not one of those people:
- Squeeze your shoulder blades back. Pretend you’re holding a pen between them. This creates a solid shelf and increased stability while benching. Note to do this throughout the whole set, even before you unrack the weight.
- Never have a flat chest. Puff your chest up like that guy in the gym everybody hates (just don’t forget to return to normal after your set). Simply pushing your chest up helps put emphasis on keeping your back tight but also decreasing the range of motion travelled while benching, which will increase your ability to bench more.
2. BIGGER BACK = BIGGER BENCH
Ever hear the saying “a bigger back equals a bigger bench”? Most people assume to improve your bench you just have to bench and this isn’t the case.
Increasing the overall strength & size in your back will carry over to improving your bench press. We know that endurance during hypertrophy (and all other) forms of training is important, so be sure to use the right intra-workout supplement to fight fatigue, dehydration, improve endurance and performance.
- Your back is full of different muscles that play different roles, be sure to target them with the most effective exercises.
- Just like benching, make sure to squeeze the muscle your working at the peak of a lift, don’t just pull the weight for the sake of pulling; it’s all about the mind-muscle connection
3. USE YOUR LEGS & BUTT
Some of you are probably thinking “my legs? Why the hell would I use my legs while benching?”
It sounds weird on the surface but it’s simple, keeping your setup tight with your legs and butt in tact will create leg drive.
This leg & butt drive will assist in creating more force throughout the entire lift. Improving your squat will help keep your legs and glutes strong by allowing them to get stronger and learning how to activate each muscle, even when benching.
Main Points to Remember
- Drive you butt into the bench and don’t let it lift off. No matter what.
- Place you feet flat on the floor, keep them under the knees, usually shoulder-width apart unless you like them closer together.
4. BAR PATH
Yes, the direction of the bath path matters. Save your shoulders and press the bar in a diagonal path. Pressing in a vertical path will lead to shoulder injuries. Keeping your shoulders as healthy as possible will allow your bench to get stronger.
- At the bottom of the bench the bar should be under your chest and at the top above your mid chest.
- Never allow your lockout to be above your shoulders, this puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders and makes the lift even harder. Benching on a diagonal will stop this.
5. GRIP & GRIP WIDTH
Just like deadlifting, you should grab the bar with the same force when benching. Keeping a firm grip with the optimal width will allow you to have full control while benching.
- Make sure to hold the bar in the base of your palm, close to your wrist. Squeeze the bar, hard.
- Everyone is different so experiment with your grip, keeping the hand around the ring mark usually works best. Make sure your forearms are vertical, and make a 90 degree angle at the bottom to have the most force throughout the entire bench press.