The Bench press is one of the exercises where most gents want to perform well in, and the question that catchs all us lads off guard is “So what do you bench?”
Now some of you will be honest because you’re confident in your number but the others? You know who you are. Always adding that imaginary 20kg to the figure to get the reaction you want. Its cool, i’ve been there
Heres some reasons why your bench may not be up to standard:
You bench like a body builder
First off, this is fine if you’re solely building mass, and of course, theres no absolute right or wrong way to perform any exercise, but there is definitely always an optimum way.
When benching for strength and power you want to be lifting as a power lifter would, you can add kilogrammes onto your next bench by checking all muscles are in the right position. Here it is:
- Lie on the bench with the bar directly in line with your eyes.
- Grab the bar as tightly as possible, as if you were trying to snap it in half, hands no wider than index fingers on the rings.
- Arch your back slightly and drive your shoulder blades together like you’re trying to put them in your back pockets.
- Scoot your feet underneath your hips, dig the balls of your feet into the floor and squeeze your glutes.
- Fill your belly with air and unrack the bar by pulling with your lats as if doing a Straight-Arm Pulldown.
- Pull the bar down just below your nipple line with your elbows tucked at about 45 degrees in relation to your torso.
- Pause briefly and drive your heels into the ground as you press back up to lock out.
Your Upper Back is Weak
The upper back is the foundation for a strong bench press. Quick question:
Would you rather live in a house built on a cement foundation or a wet sand pile?
Much like the house on the sand pile your bench may be falling apart because you don’t have the upper back to support your chest.
Your Triceps are weak
The chest and shoulders may be the drivers when lifting the bar off your chest but it’s the triceps that finish off the lift.
If your triceps are weak they’ll not on form to lock out your arms when completing the lift.
You Fail Too Often
Let’s be real with each other here, when’s the last time you failed on a squat or deadlift?
Answer is probably not recently (for fear of decapitation or as Aaron brilliantly puts it “Folding yourself in half”
Stop each set two or three shy of failure, otherwise its like driving your car into wall and then keeping the foot on the accelerator, that wall isn’t going anywhere and you aren’t going through it.
This doesn’t mean you should go hard and heavy, just play it smart, e.g doing 5 sets of 3 reps of your 5 RM is a sure way to build strength without driving into that wall.
This keeps form consistent, the last rep should look the same as the first!
You Don’t Bench often enough
Monday is your chest day, right? So that’s the only day you bench? Not if you want to get great at benching.
Like any skill, it takes time and practice. Twice a week is ideal for most people looking to build a strong bench, don’t be afraid to do the same workout twice in a week just space them out.
You Bounce the Bar Off you Chest
It’s so tempting to just dive bomb that bar off your sternum isn’t it? I get it, believe me.
Rather than bouncing the bar, pull the bar to your chest as if you were doing a barbell row. Tuck your elbows, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar down under control.
Touch your chest gently with staying air0tight and crushing the bar in your hands. Drive your heels down and press back up.
You Don’t use Your Legs.
Some would argue a bench is a full-body exercise. IF you only press with your upper body, you’re leaving out the large muscle groups that are your quads, glutes and hamstrings.
Slightly arch your back and scoot your feet under your hips which puts your hips on stretch storing potential energy.
Avoid dancing feet syndrome it doesn’t serve, feet planted and drive up.
Boom. Stronger Bench Press.
“So what is it you bench again?”
Want to take it to the next level again? Adding size, losing fat?
I’ve got you dude.
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