How To Improve Your Bench Press

How To Improve Your Bench Press

Information about How To Improve Your Bench Press. A couple of weeks ago, a colleague asked me about how to increase bench press.  Increasing bench press is something I used to train for a long time ago.  While it’s not one of my current goals. The first question out of a lot of people’s mouths in the gym is: how much do you bench? However, the first thing you should be asking yourself is: why do you want to increase your bench press?  This question is important because you should adjust your bench press routine based on different end goals.  Below I outline how to increase bench press – How To Improve Your Bench Press. If your goal is simply increasing your one-rep max, increasing muscle mass and strength. Or just building a better-looking chest.

Increase Your Bench Press

No matter what your goal, the first recommendation for increasing your bench press is to develop proper form.  A few pointers:

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart
  • The grip should be slightly wider than shoulder-width
  • Keep your shoulder blades together
  • Push the bar in a straight line by keeping your elbows tucked
  • Keep the bar directly over your wrists and elbows as you raise and lower the weight to your chest/abdomen
  • Exhale as you push upwards while squeezing the bar, your glutes, and abs as tightly as possible

The last tip is particularly important.  In Power to the People, Pavel describes how hyper irradiation (squeezing the bar, glutes, and abs) can immediately improve bench press by 10lbs.  That just scratches the surface in good form.  Try to have an experienced bench presser watch you and offer some more advice on correcting your form.  These adjustments alone can help you immediately increase your bench press.

Workouts To Increase Bench

How To Improve Your Bench Press
How To Improve Your Bench Press

Once you have the correct form, the next step is deciding why you want to increase your bench press.  Are you in a contest where your only goal is to bench press a certain amount of weight?  If so, then your goal is really to increase your one-rep max bench press independent of any other lifts.  For this purpose, I would recommend practicing with heavyweights.  I’ve discussed this technique, known as greasing the groove, in another post.  The concept is to do 3-5 sets of 1-3 reps over the course of a day using a weight. That is heavy but not heavy enough for your muscles to fail.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say you can bench press 200lbs for 3 reps (equating to a max of around 220lbs).  Rather than performing 5 sets of 3 reps 2 times per week as part of a broader workout routine. You’ll be performing 3-5 sets per day (spread throughout the day) for 5 days per week.  However, you don’t want to lift 3 reps of 200lbs for these sets, otherwise, you’d exhaust your muscles.  Instead, you could perform 1-2 reps of 200lbs 3-5 times each day (more if you’d like). 

Bench Press Program:
Increase One Rep Max Bench Press

How To Improve Your Bench Press

Alternatively, you could perform 3 reps of 175lbs 3-5 times each day.  By practicing an exercise and avoiding failure, your muscles adapt to the movement making it easier.  Increase the weight each week and you’ll soon find that lifting your prior max weight is a breeze.  Just be sure that your muscles don’t fail during any set.  Fatigue is the enemy when it comes to greasing the groove.

There are other ways to incorporate a little more variety when focused on increasing your one-rep max bench press. And Pavel outlines those in Beyond Bodybuilding.  He goes over the method used by the Russian National Powerlifting team, ways to bust through a plateau. A weekly “singles” routine, the 54321 system, a ladder approach, and a Moscow bench press champion’s program. Here you know about Sayri Ki Dayri.

Bench Press Routine To Increase Muscle Mass And Strength

Chances are that you may not be simply trying to increase your one-rep max. But rather trying to gain overall strength or muscle mass. In this case, the bench press is a component of a more comprehensive program.  Instead of just focusing on becoming more efficient at one movement. (the bench press). Ybe training all your muscles to get bigger and stronger.  I don’t consider myself an expert in this area. So I’ll defer to programs like Critical Bench or Blast Your Bench.  Critical Bench is ideally suited for beginners and intermediate lifters while Blast Your Bench is generally for more experienced lifters.

BenchPress Routine To Build A Better Chest

Finally, if you’d like to increase your bench press to build a better chest, then I’d go in an entirely different direction.  While the flat bench press is a great overall exercise, it develops the lower chest faster than the upper chest leading to a more rounded look.  The reason to incorporate incline exercises is that they create a squarer, more masculine chest.  Instead of starting your workout with the flat bench press, start with the incline press.  Additionally, if you’re trying to increase the size of your chest, lift in the 10-15 rep range and train your muscles to failure.  If you’re after a tighter, toned chest, then stick with 3-5 reps and never let your muscles fail.

As you can see, increasing your bench press isn’t as simple as it may first appear.  If you simply want to increase your one-rep max bench press, then just practice really often.  You may have to sacrifice your other lifts, but you’ll get really good at bench pressing.  If you’re trying to gain overall strength and muscle mass, consider a program designed to increase your bench press that involves exercises that target your other muscles as well.  If you’re trying to learn how to increase bench press to build a better chest, then I’d recommend performing incline bench press rather than the traditional flat bench press.  Whatever way you go, I think the bench press should be part of any workout routine since it’s a compound exercise that utilizes multiple muscle groups.

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