When it comes to measuring strength, most people tend to turn to the bench as the ultimate… well benchmark.
Tell someone you work out and they’ll ask ‘how much can you bench?’
The bench is perhaps the most approachable of the ‘big three’ and it is a fantastic compound movement that combines a number of different muscles in a single motion. Problem is, many of us will have bench pressed so much in our lifetimes that we end up kind of burned out and no longer seeing the progress that we once did.
If you’re bench press has stagnated and you aren’t getting the results you used to, then what can you do to inject some passion back into the movement? Let’s take a look at some tips that will boost your performance.
Go Unilateral To Get a Bigger Bench Press
If you were to film yourself bench pressing, you might be surprised to learn that the bar is very often going to be unstraight. The reason is simply that most of us are stronger on one side than the other and as such we will end up relying on one side more than the other to shift the weight.
To change this, you can take a little time out in order to fix any imbalance. That means taking dumbbells and performing dumbbell presses for a while making sure to use the exact same weight on each side.
Work on Your Bench Press Grip
No muscle group is an island. Rather, it is far better to think of your muscles as an interconnected chain that will work together. At the end of that chain is your grip and in many ways, that’s actually one of the most important elements for a stronger lift.
Don’t believe me? Try building your grip strength for a while then come back to the bench and you’ll likely feel the difference. The same goes for pretty much any other exercise – this is your connection to the weight after all!
Try Microplating Your Bench Press
In order to increase in strength and to increase in size, you need to be using progressive overload. That means that you need to be gradually increasing the challenge by adding more and more weight to the bar that you’re pressing above yourself.
The problem is that once you reach a certain point, it becomes very difficult to go any further and you start to see diminishing returns. A clever way to get around this roadblock is with ‘microplating’. That means you’re adding just a fraction of a kilogram to your lift on a regular basis. You won’t even feel it, but over time it can add up to a fair amount!
Shout When You Bench
Finally, I want you to stop worrying about what other people think in the gym and give me a big yell the next time you’re on the bench. Studies show that shouting actually releases adrenaline which in turn increases muscle-fiber recruitment. Long story short? Noisy gym-goers are annoying but they actually get more out of their muscle…