One of the most common desires for anyone who has been lifting for a while is to increase their bench press strength. The amount of weight you can bench press is a good indicator of upper body strength and is typically how others compare their strength with you. It’s easy to hit plateaus you are unable to overcome when attempting to increase the amount of weight you can bench press. This can be extremely frustrating. Read on to discover some of the best tips for increasing your bench press strength and busting through plateaus like a boss.
Increase Your Tricep Strength
In many cases tricep strength is going to hold you back when it comes to bench pressing more weight. Remember, bench pressing counts on a number of muscles. You need to strengthen all of them in order to take on more weight. A few exercises you can try to increase your bench strength include skullcrushers and close grip presses.
Push Yourself to the Limit
It’s way too easy to fall into a rut when working out. Your workout routine should be systematic, although you do need some variation to really grow. If you aren’t always pushing yourself to the limit you won’t see the big gains other guys are getting. You can try varying the intensity of your workout and changing up reps, breaks between sets and exercises. Always make sure you are doing at least one big compound exercise on your chest every workout. Make sure you are following the rule of progressive overload by gradually adding small amounts of weight to the bar, even if it’s just a couple of Kg at a time, the weight will start to add up as you will get progressively stronger.
Less is More
It can be really tempting to work out more than you should when you’re trying to get big. You have to realize that training too often is going to hold you back big time. Your muscles need time to grow and regenerate between workouts. You should be focusing on your technique and the quality of your workout, not the quantity. Working your chest hard once or twice a week is all anybody really needs to grow.
Try to Stay Negative
Of course I don’t mean your attitude. Negatives are when you’re lowering the weight to your chest. You can try doing negatives at 150% of your bench max then having a buddy help you lift the bar back up. Negative training is a secret not many lifters know about and can really help you blast through your 1 rep max.
Grub like a Champ
If you really want to see big gains you’re going to have to start eating more. If you don’t add additional calories to your diet you can forget about increasing your chest strength. Maintaining a daily calorie surplus as you grow is essential. Getting your protein in a number of different forms is great, but don’t forget about consuming those calorie dense complex carbohydrates. Both are essential to building muscle tissue and increasing strength.
Take a Vacation
Seriously, take some time off once in a while. All the pros take a week or two off every year to help their bodies recuperate. Your muscles and nervous system can become fatigued which will hold you back when trying to break through a plateau. I like to take at least a week off to fully recover at least a few times throughout the year. Everytime, without fail I get back into training after a week of rest and eating I come back feeling stronger and full of energy.
Supplements are your Friend
This is especially true if you have a hard time getting all of the protein and/or calories you need from your diet. We’re all busy and can’t always find the time to eat enough. While it may be possible to get everything you need from the food you eat, finding the right supplements guarantees your body will have the correct nutrients ratios necessary to get bigger and stronger.
Technique is Everything
Using the proper technique is absolutely essential when it comes to big strength gains. You would be shocked to know how many experienced lifters neglect to perfect their lifting form. Bad habits are easy to develop and extremely hard to shake. Consulting with an expert trainer to analyze your form could be just what you need to increase your bench press strength.