So, you wanna know how to increase your bench press? Hmm..Welcome to this article my distant gym bro!
The bench press is one of the most popular and effective compound exercises for building upper body strength and muscle mass, so let’s see how to increase your bench press.
However, it is also one of the most challenging exercises to master, especially if you want to increase your bench press weight or the number of reps.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, there are various techniques, tips, and strategies that you can use to boost your bench press performance and achieve your fitness goals.
In this article, we will explore some of the best ways to increase your bench press, including proper form and technique, training frequency and volume, strength-building exercises and accessory movements, nutrition and supplementation, recovery and injury prevention, and mental preparation and focus.
By following these tips and staying consistent and disciplined in your training, you can make steady and sustainable progress in your bench press and overall strength training journey.
What is considered to be a good benchpress?
But before we start, I’m sure everybody is wondering what should be their ideal benchpress max… After all, “How much do you bench?” is the most commonly asked question in the Gym community.
Here are some examples of good bench press values for men based on their weight:
150 lbs: 125-150 lbs
175 lbs: 150-175 lbs
200 lbs: 175-200 lbs
225 lbs: 200-225 lbs
250 lbs: 225-250 lbs
275 lbs: 250-275 lbs
300 lbs: 275-300 lbs
Here are some general guidelines for good bench press values for men based on their fitness experience level:
Beginner (less than 6 months of training): A good bench press value for a beginner male who weighs 150-200 pounds is around 135 pounds, while a male who weighs 200-250 pounds may aim for 185 pounds.
Intermediate (6 months to 2 years of training): A good bench press value for an intermediate male who weighs 150-200 pounds is around 185 pounds, while a male who weighs 200-250 pounds may aim for 225 pounds.
Advanced (more than 2 years of training): A good bench press value for an advanced male who weighs 150-200 pounds is around 225 pounds, while a male who weighs 200-250 pounds may aim for 275 pounds or more.
It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines, and every individual’s strength levels will vary based on factors such as age, body composition, and genetics.
Additionally, it’s important to prioritize proper form and technique over the amount of weight lifted, as this can help prevent injury and improve overall performance.
Proper Form and Technique for Bench Press
Proper form and technique are crucial for increasing your bench press weight. The correct form helps you to target the right muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
When performing a bench press, lie on the bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
Lower the bar to your chest in a controlled manner, keeping your elbows tucked in. Pause briefly at the bottom, and then press the bar back up in a straight line.
It’s important to keep your core tight, back flat, and feet firmly planted throughout the lift. Proper form and technique will help you to lift more weight and get the most out of your bench press workouts.
Muscles Used in Bench Press
The bench press is a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups in the upper body. The primary muscles used in the bench press include the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and triceps brachii.
The pectoralis major is the largest muscle group in the chest, and it is responsible for the horizontal adduction of the humerus, which occurs during the pressing motion of the bench press.
The anterior deltoids are the front head of the shoulder muscles and are responsible for flexing the shoulder joint, while the triceps brachii is responsible for elbow extension.
The bench press also recruits other muscles such as the serratus anterior, upper back muscles, and rotator cuff muscles, which help to stabilize the shoulder joint during the movement.
Properly engaging all of these muscles during the bench press is crucial for maximal strength and hypertrophy gains.
Training Methods for Increasing Bench Press
Here are some common training methods for increasing your bench press:
Progressive Overload: The principle of progressive overload involves gradually increasing the weight you lift over time to force your muscles to adapt and grow stronger. As you increase weight, it’s important to maintain good form and avoid injury.
For this, you will need a spotter in order to help you push it to the limit and beyond so your muscles will start to adapt to a higher weight even tho you can’t hold it on your own.
Variations of the Bench Press: Incorporating variations of the bench press, such as the incline bench press, decline bench press, and close-grip bench press, can help target different muscles and improve overall bench press strength.
Accessory Exercises: Accessory exercises can help strengthen the supporting muscles used during the bench press, such as the shoulders, triceps, and upper back. Common accessory exercises include dumbbell flyes, overhead presses, and pull-ups.
Rep Ranges: Varying the number of reps you perform can help stimulate muscle growth and improve overall strength. For example, focusing on heavier weights and lower reps (1-5) can help improve maximum strength while performing lighter weights and higher reps (12-15) can help improve muscular endurance.
Rest and Recovery: Adequate rest and recovery time is essential for muscle growth and overall strength. Make sure to give your body enough time to recover between workouts and avoid overtraining, which can lead to injury and hinder progress.
By incorporating these training methods into your workout routine, you can help increase your bench press and achieve your strength training goals.
Nutrition for Improving Bench Press
Nutrition is an essential aspect of any strength training program, and it plays a crucial role in increasing your bench press. Here are some nutritional tips to keep in mind to help you improve your bench press:
Consume enough calories: Your body needs a surplus of calories to build muscle, so make sure you’re eating enough to fuel your workouts and support muscle growth. Aim for a caloric surplus of 250-500 calories per day.
Eat protein-rich foods: Protein is essential for muscle growth and recovery. Aim to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, and make sure to include high-quality sources like lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
Include healthy fats in your diet: Healthy fats help to reduce inflammation and support joint health, which is important for any strength training program. Include sources like nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil in your diet.
Time your meals appropriately: To maximize muscle growth, it’s essential to eat a meal with a good source of protein and carbohydrates within an hour after your workout. This will help to replenish glycogen stores and support muscle repair and growth.
Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is crucial for optimal performance and recovery. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day, and more if you’re sweating heavily during your workouts.
Remember that nutrition is just one aspect of your overall training program, but it’s a crucial one. To see significant improvements in your bench press, make sure you’re fueling your body with the right nutrients at the right times.
Recovery and Injury Prevention
In order to increase your bench press safely and effectively, proper recovery and injury prevention measures should be taken. Here are some tips to help with recovery and prevent injury:
Rest days: It’s important to take rest days between workouts to allow your muscles to recover and rebuild.
Stretching: Proper stretching before and after a workout can help prevent injury and improve range of motion.
Warm-up sets: Starting with a few lighter warm-up sets can help to get your muscles ready for the heavier weight you’ll be lifting.
Proper technique: Using proper form and technique can help prevent injuries and ensure you’re targeting the right muscles.
Gradual progression: Gradually increasing the weight you’re lifting can help prevent injuries and ensure you’re building strength safely.
Listen to your body: If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, it’s important to take a break and allow your body to heal.
By implementing these recovery and injury prevention measures, you can reduce the risk of injury and improve your bench press performance over time.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
To increase bench press, it’s also essential to avoid common mistakes that can hinder your progress or even cause injury. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:
Improper form: As mentioned earlier, maintaining proper form is crucial to avoid injury and make progress in the bench press. Common mistakes include arching the back too much, lifting the head, and flaring the elbows out too much.
Lack of variety: Doing the same exercises repeatedly can lead to a plateau in your bench press gains. It’s essential to switch up your training routine and include various exercises that target different muscles.
Overtraining: Overtraining can lead to injury and hinder your progress. It’s crucial to give your muscles enough rest between workouts to allow them to recover and grow.
Poor nutrition: Proper nutrition is crucial for building strength and muscle mass. Make sure you’re consuming enough protein and other essential nutrients that fuel your body.
Neglecting accessory exercises: Bench press is not the only exercise that can improve your strength. Neglecting accessory exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and dips can limit your progress.
These exercises work the same muscles used in the bench press and can help you build overall upper body strength.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can maximize your bench press progress and reduce the risk of injury.
In conclusion, the bench press is a powerful exercise that can help you build a strong and impressive upper body. However, increasing your bench press takes time, patience, and dedication.
By focusing on proper form and technique, targeting the right muscle groups, using effective training methods, following a nutritious diet, and prioritizing recovery and injury prevention, you can increase your bench press and achieve your strength training goals.
By avoiding common mistakes and staying consistent with your training, you can continue to make progress and see results over time. Remember, building strength is a journey, so stay motivated and enjoy the process!
Here are some references for the article on how to increase bench press:
- Spitz, R. W., & Norwood, J. T. (1985). Factors affecting bench press performance and the electromyogram of the pectoralis major. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 9(3), 159-163.
- Schoenfeld, B. J., Peterson, M. D., Ogborn, D., Contreras, B., & Sonmez, G. T. (2015). Effects of low- vs. high-load resistance training on muscle strength and hypertrophy in well-trained men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(10), 2954-2963.
- Wendler, J. (2011). 5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System to Increase Raw Strength. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
- Bird, S. P., & Tarpenning, K. M. (2004). Influence of circadian time structure on acute hormonal responses to a single bout of heavy-resistance exercise in weight-trained men. Chronobiology international, 21(1), 131-146.
- Escamilla, R. F., Fleisig, G. S., Zheng, N., Barrentine, S. W., Wilk, K. E., & Andrews, J. R. (1998). Biomechanics of the knee during closed kinetic chain and open kinetic chain exercises. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30(4), 556-569.