When performing a bench press , just like any other exercise, you are going to get the most out of it by going through a full range of motion. This means bringing the bar all the way down very close to your chest, and all the way back to the top just before locking your elbows out. That’s one rep! Basically, think of bringing your elbows down just below shoulder height. You should feel a slight stretch in your chest, then press up squeezing/contracting the chest all the way through to the top. That is how each bench press rep should look, and will improve the amount of weight you can actually bench much quicker!
Hit All Angles
The chest is a large muscle group with different origination points.
Clavicular Head (Upper Chest): originates at the clavicle / collar bone.
Sternocostal Head (Mid and Lower Chest): originates running down the sternum / center of your chest.
Hitting all heads and fibers of your chest will help improve overall strength in your pectoralis major “chest muscle”. The way we do this is by pressing at different angles. To hit the upper portion of your chest, simply perform incline press such as an incline bench press, incline cable fly, or incline dumbbell press or fly. To hit the center portion, perform your press on a flat plane such as regular bench press, dumbbell press, or cable flys set at shoulder height. Lastly, hitting the lower portion of your chest is the same idea. Pressing in the direction of the muscle fibers you want to build. So for instance, lower chest would be decline bench, or cable cross pull downs from the top setting.
Speaking of various exercises, make sure you change up what you are doing for chest day. There are plenty of exercises to build strength and muscle mass in your chest. So don’t just stick to the barbell chest press. Add in some dumbbell chest press at different angles to hit all portions. By using the dumbbells, you are forced to recruit more muscle fibers for stabilization, which will obviously help you build strength faster! It is also beneficial when you don’t have a spot, as you can drop the weights by your side when you hit failure and the end of your set.
When looking to increase strength or your max bench press, you must lift heavy. This may seem obvious to most people, but many actually aren’t lifting the right way to build strength even if that is their main goal. Start off by warming up, and working your way up to your 5 rep max. Hitting 5 reps will help you specifically increase your muscular strength, and you’ll definitely see quick increases in the amount you can lift!
So by incorporating these quick tips, you can progressively increase your bench press quickly, while developing full muscle mass!
Thank you for reading, and I hope it helps! For more tips or info, please visit my training page, youtube channel, or other blog posts!