'How do I increase my bench press?' This is one of the most popular requests I get from my male clients. Whilst yes, it is cliché, like it or not it is importance to 95% of the gym users I encounter, and I as a coach love helping my clients smash their targets. From unveiling a leaner them or smashing their bench PB, your goals are my goals.
Below are three simple tips I use with my clients on a day to day basis to help them increase their bench press, give them a try in your training and you could see your bench press numbers increasing in as little as six weeks!
Three Tips To Increase Your Bench Press
Before you give our three tips to increase your bench press a go make sure that you are setting up correctly on the bench for optimal power, stability, and safety. I could write an entire article on the bench press set up but we are trying to keep this simple so I suggest getting a good coach to talk you through a good set up- butt on the bench, shoulder blades pinched, feet driving in to floor etc . This will form the foundation of any good bench press and without it you won't have a chance.
1) Increase how often you Bench Press
The Bench Press is one of those movements which responds pretty well to a high frequency approach and this is an approach many of the worlds best powerlifters employ to bench superhuman weights! The reason this works so well is because it allows more practice of what is actually a very complex movement when trying to maximise what you can lift. The more you practice the more you will neurally adapt and that means you will be more efficient at the movement. This does not mean you need to be lifting maximal weights every time as this is a sure fire way to wreck your shoulders, we suggest 2-3 bench press sessions a week using a rotation of volume, technique, and heavy which with something like this:
Day 1- Bench Volume 4x8-10 reps
Day 2- Bench Technique 5x3 (slow eccentric and fast concentric)
Day 3- Bench Heavy 3x 2-3 reps
2) Get stronger on other pressing exercises
Constantly grinding away on heavy bench pressing can be frustrating, can cause shoulder issues, and can be a game of diminishing returns. This is why working on other types of bench press and pressing in general can cross over and lead to increased bench press numbers. Some examples of lifts you can work on with a strong cross over element to your bench press are:
- Military Press
- Floor press
- Close grip press
- Pause press
- Many more!
Odds are that if you increase your military press numbers you will be stronger in the bench press, and the same goes for the other pressing variations listed above. Using these different variations keep things interesting and target other elements of the pressing movement you may be weak in such as the lock out and bar speed. So if you find yourself getting frustrated with the bench press try something slightly different which will still work on the muscles and motor pattern which will improve your bench press.
3) Build your back
As already mentioned the bench press can place a lot of strain on the shoulders, more specifically the shoulder blades and the rotator cuff muscles. Due to this it is important to build and strengthen the back muscles which keep the scapula tight as this allows for stable and pain free bench pressing. Use the following exercises in your back workouts or supersetted with your bench pressing to set up a strong platform for a stronger bench press!
- Face pulls
- Bent over dumbell row
- Band pull aparts
- Pull ups
Get to work
There you go, give these bench press tips a go and you should be progressing towards a stronger bench press in no time. Be patient and put the work in under the bar but never underestimate the importance of good technique and practice to increased strength! Go get it!