20 Bench Press Tips
Increasing your 1RM (one rep max) comes from learning how to bench-press properly. If your objective is to increase your lean body mass and lose fat, the bench-press is something that you will eventually have to master. The following 20 bench-press tips listed below will definitely help you increase your 1RM if you apply these basic principles.
1. Shoulders Back:
Keeping your shoulders retracted backwards is a key aspect of benching correctly. If you stand upright and place your hands pressed against a wall and take a step backwards, you then, without bending your hips or leaning forwards, you then stretch out your arms as far as they can go in front of you trying to touch the wall.
It is that protracted position where you would be at the top of the bench-press. To reach the retracted position from where you will be pressing at the bottom of the bench-press. This comes from pulling your shoulder girdle as far back as you can, without bending your elbows. It takes a bit of practice but when it is mastered your bench max will improve radically.
2. Use Your Feet:
Your feet need to be placed firmly on the ground without coming off the floor when you attempt the press. It creates the stable foundation or base which will increase the power of your bench. Over time you'll learn to "push" from the ground up using your feet.
Visualizing yourself doing your 1RM is a key component to increasing your max. It takes a bit of practice but you are trying to "feel" the weight of the bar before you lift the weight. It is recommended by the experts that you visually and physically go through the bench-press motions to help prepare your mind and your body for the coming shock of pressing a huge weight.
4. Lie To Yourself:
This technique does not work with everyone but the trick is to lie to yourself about the weight you are going to lift. For example, if you are doing a 200lb bench-press attempt you convince yourself that you're actually only lifting 150lbs.
5. Squeeze Your Glutes:
Whether you are aware of it or not your body is as strong as your weakest link. If you tighten your glutes when benching, you will be able to reinforce the stability that your body needs in order to channel the power you need using your whole body to force the barbell upwards.
6. Find Your Grip:
The grip you use to complete your 1RM will depend on your specific strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you are genetically stronger or weaker on your triceps then changing the width where you hold your hands on the bar will make a big difference.
7. Work On Your Weak Areas:
Whether you always get stuck at the bottom, the top or you get stuck halfway through a bench means you need to concentrate on those areas to break through the plateau. It's important to remember that your shoulders play a vitally important part of a bench-press, so it's good to use a power rack to concentrate only on the weak zones.
8. Try A Thicker Bar:
If you use a thicker bar it will be able to help, make benching seem easier. Many powerlifters use this technique to help them break through a training plateau.
9. Move Past Your Mental Barriers:
If you don't push the mental barriers, you'll be benching the same weight for years without seeing results. You need to learn how to bench-press outside of your comfort zone.
10. Ensure Proper Warm Up:
Starting your bench-press training with your 1RM could be a very costly mistake. When maxing out with a 1RM you have to be warmed up thoroughly but not excessively. Your muscles should not be tired before your maxing session starts but you need to be adequately warmed up to prevent injuries.
11. Pyramid Up:
Let's say your objective is to reach a 400lb bench-press, you should NEVER start your benching session with 400lbs, that's stupid because you'll get injured. When warming up you will not get to failure doing more reps as you slowly reduce the reps and increase the weight until you reach 1RM.
12. Take 3-5 Minutes Rest Between Heavy Sets:
Whenever you max out and you are doing low reps with a huge weight you need to fully recover between sets.
13. Keep Warm:
Taking more time between sets to fully recover could get your body to cool down too much, depending on the outside temperature. It is a good idea to wear hoodies and sweatpants to keep warm before you attempt the next set.
14. See The Top:
Experts tell us that you need to visualize yourself getting the barbell to the top of the movement before you start. You need to "see" yourself reaching the top and never let the barbell stop moving till it gets to the top.
15. Chest Up:
If you push your chest up towards the barbell, you'll increase the height of the chest and decrease the distance to the bar which decreases the force required to move the weight.
16. Keep Glutes Hard Down On Bench:
Pushing your feet into the floor does NOT mean you need to lift your glutes off the bench, it's dangerous and will weaken your bench-press.
17. Deep Breath Before The Bar Is Lowered:
If you take in a deep breath and then hold it, you'll be able to stabilize the muscles in your thorax which helps your body to generate more power.
18. Use Your Lats:
Your lats play an important part in getting out a power bench-press. Squeezing your lats out and then "pushing" with them will enable you to lift a heavier weight on your bench-press.
19. Train Helper Muscles:
If your shoulder strength is less than the comparative strength of your triceps and your pecs, you'll not be able to improve your 1RM. Always make sure you are able to identify weak points in your bench max so that you know which muscles to work on.
20. Avoid Over Training:
Overtraining is a very controversial subject but it can and will destroy any gains you might get in your max bench-press. Eating good quality nutrition and resting adequately are prerequisites for any good benching program.
For more information checkout Increase Your Bench Press Fifty Pounds in Ten Weeks