How To Increase Your Bench Press (quick tip)

Posted on 10. May, 2011 by in Exercises, Muscle Mass, Strength & Power, Workouts

How To Increase Your Bench Press (quick tip)

First off, I have to mention that while I consider the bench press a valuable exercise and use it and variations of it in my programs the bench press by itself is a poor indicator of athleticism or even overall body strength.

For some reason the bench press has been elevated to the gold standard of a man’s fitness.  How many times has someone asked you once they discover you train, “What’s your bench?”

In high school and in college I performed poorly on the bench press.  I was much stronger than my peers on the squat and deadlift but always fell short on the bench.

On the field, however, my relatively poor bench press had little bearing.  It was the squat and deadlift and their contributions to my explosiveness that showed their worth.

Like many of you, however, I wasn’t satisfied until I “fixed” my bench, began to improve my “chest-icular” strength and started lifting higher numbers.

Here’s what I did.  Instead of going heavy and only lifting one day a week, I began to increase the total volume of reps I was doing on the bench press.

I would still lift heavy one day a week.  After that lift I would then attack lighter weight for maximum reps.

A few days later I would do another chest workout this time using more of a body building template.  My goal was to get in a high volume of reps so my weight was again much lighter than my max lift day.

I can’t say if this will work for everybody but it did work for me.

My theory is that by getting in all of these additional reps I was improving my muscles’ ability to contract and therefore move the load.  As I increased contractile capacity, I brought more muscle fibers into play and began to lift with greater efficiency, thereby leading to an increase in my ability to lift heavier weight.

You should also pay close attention to your bench press fundamentals.  I made a video on the subject sometime ago and you can view it here.

The two main things you should take from this video are the angle of the elbows and the point to which the bar is ideally lowered and pressed from.

As you lower the bar you want to angle your elbows down around 45 degrees.  At its lowest point the bar should come right to the bottom of your sternum, about where the top of your abs met the bottom of your pecs.

These two points will prevent you from wrecking your shoulders, a major inhibitor to overall fitness.

Another great resource for the bench press is my good friend Mike Westerdal and his program Critical Bench.   Mike is an expert on the bench press and brings many years of experience to his program.  Mike’s website is

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