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Bigger Bench Press Guide: The Three Steps to Get You There

Exercise
Incline Bench Press

Doing a bigger bench press is not as easy as slapping on more weight and struggling to push it up until you feel the veins popping from your head. The easiest way to get a bigger bench press is to start benching more, but you need a plan.

Benching is just like a sport. You need to practice if you are going to get any good or get any better at it. When you practice your bench press, not only are you building up the strength to bench more, but you are building up the form to support a stronger bench press as well.

There are three stages for a bigger bench press, and this guide will help.

Why You Are Having a Hard Time with the Bigger Press

First, you need to figure out why it is that you can’t bench press more. The biggest problem is that you keep focusing too much on the bench press in the first place. By that, I mean you think “Bench press, okay; that’s chest and arms.”

Get that out of your head. There are other muscles involved in the bench press. Your bench press routine is just as cliche as your bench press. Change your technique and focus on the non-bench when it isn’t chest day to make your bench stronger.

If you have been stuck at the same bench press weight for weeks or months, regardless of your intense training schedule, you need to refocus and start the process by first focusing on your technique.

3 Tips to a Bigger Bench Press

The guide to a bigger bench press focus on three important tips to help you improve your weight: technique, more muscles, and microload.

1.Improve your technique

The biggest indicator of a bigger bench press is improving and perfecting your form. There are several benefits to perfecting your bench press form. When you have the right technique, you prevent injuries, you reduce pain, support your joints, and you can start gaining more weight with fewer tweeks.

Common bench press technique mistakes

The most common bench press technique mistake is arching the back. In fact, arching is more of cheating. When you arch your back, what your body is trying to do is compensate to thrust more weight forward.

Arching your back impedes your range of motion so you can thrust the bar up easier. Unfortunately, arching your back gives your only immediate satisfaction. It has no benefit otherwise. Arching your back when you bench press reduces range of motion. This means that fewer muscle fibers are activated and loaded. There is no way to improve muscle strength when you don’t really use them in the first place.

Arching your back when you bench press also kills your lower back and your shoulders. Lower back injuries are common among weightlifters. Few think to save the spine. If you mess up your spine, you fail at the bench press so good. To protect your spine and perfect your form, here are a few tips:

  • Work the entire core. By that, it means not just your abs. The muscles of the core are the abdominals, diaphragm, obliques, erector spinae, lats, and the multifidus.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • When doing the bench press, push your hips down to the bench. Don’t over exaggerate the lower curve in your spine.

A few more mistakes include benching without a spotter, avoiding the rotator cuff, flipping the wrists back, and lifting your head off the bench.

Most weightlifters are guilty of straining their necks to lift their heads off the bench. Now, instead of back pain, you get neck and shoulder pain, too. Always remember to press your shoulder blades, butt, and head on the bench when you push up.

 

How to improve your bench press technique

Here are a few pointers to help improve your bench press technique. I want you to keep in mind that your entire body is helping you bench. From your feet to your grip, focus on every angle and contact point.

Keep your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be directly above your feets, and your arms shoulder-width apart. Make sure you maintain a solid and tight natural arch in your back. This avoids transferring strain to the shoulder; instead, it allowing for the body to engage the lats.

When you grab the bar, make sure your grip allows you to hold the bar low in your hands. It should be closer to your wrists, but your wrists must not be strained back toward your arm. Squeeze with a full grip, not a flimsy one. Your elbows should be directly under the bar, held at about 75 degrees. Make sure you have the correct angle by holding your forearms vertical to the floor. With the correct arm, shoulder, elbow position, you can draw a straight line from the elbow to the wrist and the bar.

As you prepare to bench, squeeze your shoulders together and raise your chest into the air while lying on the bench and take a deep breath in when you lower the bar to your chest. Hold the breath in your chest as you lower the bar. When you push the bar up, exhale. You always exhale on the most challenging part of the exercise so you benefit from intra-abdominal pressure that gives you the thrust your body needs to improve power and strength.   

If you are an experienced bench presser, try bench pressing more than one rep with a single breath. To do this, take in a deep breath when you get ready to do your first rep. As soon as you draw in a deep breath, lower the bar. While holding the breath, press out as many reps as you can, but don’t try to push yourself all the way through all 5 reps. As you start to approach the last couple reps, they will get harder, but fortunately for you, you will release a strong powerful breath to give you the energy you need to finish them.

The bar path should be in a diagonal line from the middle of your chest to the shoulders. Do not put the bar directly over the chest or the shoulders. The encourages isolating single muscles, which leads to poor proprioception, limited range of motion, training dysfunction, and overuse injuries.   

To rack, lock your elbows and position the bar over your shoulders. Make sure your spotter is there to help you.

Injury-free tip: If you suffer from shoulder pain, injury, or impingement, make sure you adjust your grip. If you prefer the close grip, don’t hold your hands too close together or too far apart.

2. Work more muscles

For a better bench press, you need to think outside the chest and arms. Earlier, I told you to work all the muscles of the core, and in the list you noticed back muscles. Instead of always focusing on the biceps, put your triceps to work. Read about the best triceps exercises to build bulk that I recommend.

You will need stronger triceps to bench press more weight. So, before we move on to adding more weight, I want to focus on the triceps and other muscles that help you bench more. When you have your bench press routine coming up, try changing up your bench press with heavy extensions, the incline bench, and a closed-grip press.

Now for the back. You want a strong, healthy back. You won’t be in the game very long if you are in pain, you hunch, or you damage your discs. Some of the best back exercises that you do in the gym are ones that will help you press more weight.

You also need to strengthen the lats. To support a stronger bench press, try adding bentover rows to your bench press workout.  

3. Increase your press

When you try to achieve a bigger bench press, you notice that you begin to struggle, so you don’t add more weight. As you squirm through the struggle, you begin to compromise your for, you are less likely to add more weight, or you add too much weight and force yourself to the point of injury.

Yes, to get a bigger bench press you have to bench a bigger weight, but you cannot exceed 200 lbs. If you only stay at half the weight every time. As you try to build up to more than 200 or 250 lbs., you cannot stay at the same weight day in and day out, but you also can’t just throw the weight on and expect to see results either.

To get a stronger bench press, break it up and add a little more weight each time. When you are on the bench, challenge yourself to add more weight each time. Don’t go crazy here. Adding just 5 lbs. each time you press.

Now that you have 5 extra lbs., cut your reps as well. Instead of doing 3 sets of 8 reps, try doing 5 sets of 5 reps. This is he 5×5 workout. The best part about the 5×5 workout, is now you are pressing more weight and you are getting in more reps. Yeah, you probably won’t even realize.

Okay, so let’s say you hit the plateau. Now what? Stop adding 5 lbs. Try microloading your bench press to avoid plateaus and work to a stronger bench, don’t reach the 5 lbs. at all. No, stop short of 5 lbs. by adding half that each time. Sure, microloading slows down the progression, but if you think about it, if you plateau because you always reach the plateau, then you aren’t going to progress anyway. You can even start smaller than 2.5 lbs. if the gym where you are doesn’t have smaller plates.

Remember this rule of thumb: when you start to struggle, start the microload.  

After the Press

In most of the posts you read here, you notice that the focus is not only on the exercise or the muscle. Holistic workouts are the best ones. That means you need to think about the bigger picture, how you can prepare for a strong and safe workout, and how you can recover from the most intense workouts you’ve endured.

There are three things you can do outside of the gym that make your life a lot easier in the gym and help you bench as much weight as you challenge yourself to press. The three things that make your bench press the strongest one, when you aren’t even pressing, are the following:

  • Pre- and post-workout supplements

Good muscle health and strength is possible when you add more to your routine than steel and chains. Protein supplements and muscle builders are the most effective and targeted to your needs. You can choose from creatine, beta-alanine, nitric oxide boosters, or  glutamine. Of course, the workout supplements your choose have a lot to do with  your existing weight, your goals, and your dietary demands.

You should also supplement your lean muscle supplement with a proper diet, and cycle support supplements to rebalance your body. Muscle stacks are a good way to build the strength you need, and some come with protein and cycle support. Mass agents, lean muscle agents, on-cycle therapy, and post-cycle therapy from Vaxxen Labs help you achieve a bigger bench press.

  • SMR

A lot of sites recommend stretching to have a stronger bench press and to support muscle health, but that is not the way to go. There is no evidence to support stretching before a workout is safer or better for your workout. For most, stretching is a ritual they have been doing for decades. Stretching before working out is something most of us remember from grade school and high school gym class. Stretching can increase range of motion a little more than you want. If you are going to stretch, save it for after your workout if you do it at all. Maybe you rethink the stretch. Switch it up with SMR instead.

SMR,or self-myofascial release, is foam rolling. SMR can assist with correcting muscle imbalances, improves range of motion at the joint, and it reduces soreness after a difficult workout.

You can do SMR after your bench press with several different types of items. You don’t need a foam roller. Other tools for SMR can be baseball or tennis balls, a medicine ball, hand-held rollers, or even a bat.

When you SMR after a bench press, don’t rush it. Move slowly over the muscles and the joint. This helps you reduce inflammation, remove adhesions, control muscle spasms, and work out any trigger points in the muscle. As a result, the muscle can work at its optimal level and function properly.

  • Recovery

It’s okay to give yourself a break. For a bigger bench press, rest and recover. Rest doesn’t only begin after the workout. Include rest in your bench press as well. The first way to add rest to bench more is to rest a little longer in between sets.

Give yourself 5 minutes between each bench press set. This allows you to do more reps with more weight. When you rest, you help your body rebuild up the ATP stores you will need for your next set.

Recovery after your bench press workout will help you bench more as well because it allows your body to repair damaged muscle, which makes your muscles stronger.  Prepare your body for the ext bench press workout. When you workout, tiny micro tears appear in the muscle. The key to building more muscle and making them stronger is the process of the tears healing. BUT, if you neglect this process, you only damage the muscle because your body doesn’t have time to recover to 100%.

A few ways to boost muscle recovery is to eat a nutrient-dense diet. Make sure you add foods that encourage repair. Lean meats are loaded with protein, and carbs give your body the energy it needs to repair itself. One of the most effective “diets” to give you the energy and strength your need for the workout and for the recovery process is flexible dieting. When you start flexible dieting, you count your macros, and the macros your body needs for a bigger bench press are carbs and protein. What better way to boost muscle production and repair is to eat a diet that maximizes the amount of macros you take in.

A bigger bench press is possible, but you just need a method and  you need a whole lot of patience. With this guide, you can learn both. Vaxxen Labs has the supplements to prepare you for a bigger bench press, the fuel to support it, and the products your body needs to recover. Find out which supplements you can add to you regimen to help you achieve a bigger bench press.

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