Welcome to The Bench Press Page
I’m going to start out on a personal note by saying I’ve never had a big bench press and this was always a struggle for me since day one. I remember years ago when I was in junior college being intimidated by this one kid. My goal was to bench press 225 lbs and I was stuck at getting 185 lbs for just two or three reps. This guy came over asking if he could try it and said ‘I might not be able to get as many as you did.’ He pumped out about 12 easy reps. Of course my bench press increased over the years with consistent training and eating enough good foods.
The concept of that last sentence is extremely important, not only with weight training but with anything you want to be successful at in life. Consistency. Even if you don’t aspire to be a professional bodybuilder or powerlifter you still want to get bigger and stronger. The competition most of us face in the iron game is the person in the mirror. We want to be better than the person we saw in the mirror yesterday. Consistency is the key.
How Much Can You Bench?
When people notice that you lift weights the question you often hear is ‘how much can you bench press?’ What I find even more humorous is I’ve had people come up to me and simply ask ‘how much weight can you lift?’ I don’t even know how to respond to that, so of course I ask what exercise they’re talking about. And as expected the majority of the time they’re asking about bench pressing. The question of how much can you bench press really leads to an inaccurate example of strength though as there are many other compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, barbell rows and so forth. But rarely does anyone ask how much weight you do on barbell rows or any of the other exercises listed.
None the less deep down we do indeed want a big bench, right? Actually every weight lifter or bodybuilding enthusiast wants to be strong on every lift. So here are a few weight lifting techniques that will help increase your bench press so that you can throw out an impressive number the next time someone asks you how much can you bench press (or lift!).
Weight Lifting Techniques to Increase Your Bench Press
5 X 5 Powerlifting Technique – This is an old school weight lifting technique known to build strength and is often done for bench press. You want to do a couple of warm up sets first then throw on some heavy weight and do 5 sets of 5 reps (give or take) for bench press. Do this once a week.
Negative Reps – Doing negatives (taking several seconds on the descent of the lift, lowering the bar towards your chest) forces you to control the weight. In turn your chest muscles will get used to handling heavy loads. Negatives are usually performed on the last set of bench press and the last rep or two.
Forces Reps – This should go without saying but you really need a trusted spotter when you’re doing forced reps on bench press. You need someone who isn’t going to help you too much and will make you work for those extra reps. Forced reps will make you grow and will make you strong.
Rest-Pause – The rest-pause principle is a great way to increase both muscle mass and strength. This is where you perform a set followed by 7-8 seconds of rest then perform another set with the same weight. Many will often repeat this so that it’s like three sets in one. This will work deep muscle fibers and increase overall strength.
Training Back and Legs – It’s also important to work all body parts with equal amount of attention and dedication. Having a strong back and legs will increase your overall strength. If you want to increase your bench press you also need to be doing movements like deadlifts and squats.
Building Size and Strength
The best chest exercises for mass and strength are quite simple and consist of exercise you’ve done or heard of. Chances are you may be already hitting one or two of them in your current routine. So this won’t be too difficult on paper. Executing these chest exercises properly is what we’re concerned with. The weights will be heavy and you’re going to be using what’s called a power-building technique which is a mixture of powerlifting and bodybuilding techniques. The powerlifting techniques will help you to lift massive loads and the bodybuilding techniques implemented will help you get the most out of each rep in regards to building the muscle.
Best Chest Exercise for Mass 1: The Bench Press
There are a lot of misconceptions with the bench press. Some claim it causes injuries, which it certainly has the potential to. If at all possible, you need to implement the bench press as it will give you solid mass.
Best Chest Exercise for Mass 2: Incline Barbell Press
It’s been said by pro bodybuilders that you can’t have too much upper chest development. Incline barbell press will certainly build and shape your chest like no other exercise. It’s a good idea to alternate this chest exercise every other week with bench press, doing it first.
Best Chest Exercise for Mass 3: Dumbbell Press (flat and incline)
Dumbbells will quickly let you know if one side is stronger than the other. Both flat and incline dumbbell presses are excellent mass builders. You can alternate them each week (flat, incline).
Best Chest Exercise for Mass 3: Hammer Strength Chest Machines
I’m personally not a huge fan of machines in general but Hammer Strength machines are an exception. Hammer Strength Chest presses (flat, incline, and decline) mimic the true movement of the exercise and allows you to concentrate on the muscle contraction.
These chest exercises should make up the foundation of your chest routine if you’re going for mass. Use heavy weights, low reps and train until you reach muscle failure. This will promote muscle growth. Don’t forget to consume a lot of quality calories and get proper rest as these are essentials for muscle growth and recovery.