Tips for Increasing Bench Press

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Increasing Bench Press
Question: Hey Daryl quick question. I’ve been going to the gym for about 4 months now and I feel like one the bench press I’ve hit a plateau and can’t get it up. All of my other chest and tricep workouts are increasing just not bench press. Any advice?

Answer: While the muscles that are associated with building a bigger bench press have gotten stronger, pecs, triceps and anterior delts, they haven’t produced a remarkably stronger bench press. A big bench isn’t necessarily the mark of strength, however, it is the one lift that everyone asks,” what do you bench?”

There are a couple of potential factors that are easy fixes that may be the problem.

  • One is simply how you set up on the bench.
    • Your feet need to be planted solidly on the floor.
    • You glutes should have a strong contact on the bench while your ribcage needs to be expanded and lifted which locks your shoulder blades on the bench providing a solid lifting platform from which to push.
  • One other simple fix are your wrists. Too often kids come in to us and hold the bar where their palms meet their fingers. This position loads their hands and forces the hand back towards the forearm at almost a ninety degree angle. That over loads the carpal ligament and changes the force of the push off the chest. By positioning the bar at the base of the palm, just above the thumb, you can keep the hand in a “strike” position loading the weight and the force is directed down the bone structure instead of against the carpal ligament. It allows a much stronger push from the chest.
  • One other reason may be weaker rotator cuffs. While dumbbells allow a greater range of movement, they don’t have a visual point like the bar that touches the chest. From the point where the bar touches the chest and two inches off of the chest, your rotator cuffs do the work of moving the weight. You may have weak rotator cuffs and may need to include internal and external rotations with a band to work them directly.

Also, when you train shoulders do posterior deltoid work first because those help secure a strong base for your pressing exercises for chest. Your workouts seem to be progressing well.

God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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