The bench press is the move that separates the boys from the men in the gym. This is a single exercise that guys the world over use to measure their strength and compare it with one another.
Want to know how strong someone is? Then very likely the first question you’re going to ask is how much can they bench?
The bench press is also an incredibly satisfying exercise and one of the more enjoyable moves in the gym. And when you’re good at it, you will build massive pecs that give you a superhero-like physique.
So the question is: how do you get better at the bench?
The first and most obvious answer is: get stronger.
But specifically, what you need to focus on is your pecs. Your pecs are the main pushing muscles that will help you through the movement and the more power you can generate from your pecs, the more repetitions you’ll be able to perform with heavier weights.
But it’s not just the pecs that you need to be focussing on here. Equally important is to focus on the other pushing muscles that support the pecs through those reps. These include your triceps, your shoulders and your traps – so make sure you’re giving them some care and attention too if you want to improve your performance here.
One problem a lot of people have with the bench press is that one side is working harder than the other. This can even lead to a scenario where one pec is visibly larger than the other – which is not a great look!
The solution is to train using dumbbells. This way, you’ll be able to focus on each muscle independently without the other stepping in to ‘help out’. That means it’s impossible for one to get ahead of the other. Perform dumbbell presses for a while until your pecs even out, then get back into the bench press. [ezcol_divider]
Strengthen Your Grip
In any movement, it’s important to try and avoid ‘energy leaks’. In other words, you need to make sure that 100% of your effort is going toward moving that weight and not being wasted! To that end, you should strengthen your grip in order to make your connection with the bar as strong as possible.
Practice Your Breathing Technique
Many people begun to really focus on their breathing in recent years since the introduction of the yoga trend. Breathing is important in every aspect of life, and the same is true when it comes to lifting weights. Not only is it important to make sure you’re actually breathing while lifting, but it’s important to ensure you’re doing so properly. You want to take a breath in as the weight is being lowered down onto you and blow out in one smooth exhale as you lift the weight up. This simple task will not only help you last longer in the gym, but it will also increase the amount you’re capable of lifting.
Use Warm-Up Sets
When trying to beat your PB, always start with a warm-up set. This will allow you to activate the neural pathways that control the press movement and in turn, to lift heavier when you go for the your real attempt!