If you have been to a gym, you have surely seen a beefy guy lifting a hell of a lot of pounds off that one bench press. You have been impressed like everyone else and have got your mind set on it. But how does one lift such heavy weight? Is it all about how big your muscles are or is it about the strength? As a newbie or someone who has just started benching, the incredible weights pulled off by powerlifters may seem an impossible task. But is it?
Well, lifting heavy loads, in the beginning, maybe impossible but you can increase the load pretty quick. What you need is dedication and a methodical approach to increasing the weight that you can lift.
How can I increase my bench press faster?
While it is impossible to lift many pounds at the first go, you can surely make quick progress if you follow some tips handed over by expert lifters as well as professionals. Here are a few ways to help you improve bench press:
This may seem pretty basic but if you want to increase your bench press faster, you must warm-up before you lift any weight. A bench press primarily works the muscles of the chest and the upper body. That is why your warm-up must be such that you break a sweat and pump up your heart rate. However, it shouldn’t be intense or you will get tired even before you start lifting weight. That would be quite counterproductive. Just make sure that your muscles are triggered and ready for the heavy weight.
Choose the right foot position
In order to increase your bench press, you must take care of your foot position. As you lie on the bench, you have four points of contact – head, shoulder blades, and butt on the bench and foot on the floor. How you position your foot will affect the quality of your benching. While some people believe that positioning the foot flat on the ground is ideal for a leg drive, there is a better alternative. Powerlifters often position their feet backward towards their hip with only the balls touching the floor. This will create a better arch for your back and will still allow you a leg drive.
Build a shelf
Benching is not just an exercise for your chest or shoulders; it targets your entire upper body. So, instead of trying to work it off with your triceps or chest muscles alone, try building a bench. Make sure that your abdominal muscles are firm to offer support and your back muscles and lats are contracted. This will help build a shelf that will offer support for lifting heavy weight. A solid shelf will, thus, help increase your bench press faster.
Use proper technique
To improve bench press, you have to ensure that you follow proper lifting techniques. Your elbows should be tucked by your side and at a 90-degree angle. Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulder width while holding the bar. This will help you lift the heavy weight with maximum force. Breathing should be normal at all times. If you are inexperienced, do not go for inclined bench press. Using a flat bench can keep you away from bench press shoulder pain and other injuries like osteoarthritis, tendon tear, sternum fracture, etc.
Push your limits
Techniques apart, you will need to keep adding weights at regular intervals to be actually able to increase your bench press. Without adding actual weight, it would be impossible to know whether your techniques are working. So, instead of lifting the same weight every day, try progressive lifting, adding some pounds after every few sessions. In this way, you can easily increase the weight you lift significantly.
Use a spotter
You may or may not like it, but having a spotter as you perform your bench press is a great way to improve your benching. Apart from helping you unrack and re-rack, the spotter will also be your support as you lift heavy weights. You will have peace of mind knowing that you have someone to look after you. Moreover, your spotter will help increase your bench press by encouraging you during practice.
Lower your reps
If you are looking to build body strength, higher reps with lower weights may be ideal. But if you want to improve bench press, you will have to increase the weight you lift each time. There is only one way to do so – lower the number of repetitions and increase the load you lift. There is no easy or shortcut to do this. You will have to slowly reduce the reps and increase the load. Over a few weeks, you will be able to increase your bench press faster and lift loads equivalent to your 1RM.
Take longer breaks
To be able to increase the weight you lift, you must ensure that your body isn’t tired. So, instead of performing reps in quick succession, you must allow the body enough rest to recover. Ideally, you should have a recovery time of 3-5 minutes after every press. This will save the body from exhaustion and help you lift more weight with every rep. Moreover, it is recommended that you have a gap of at least 48 hours before you start benching again. So, ideally, you should your bench press only twice per week.
Practice other exercises
One of the common tips from experts is that benching alone wouldn’t help you reach your full potential. Practicing accessory exercises regularly is essential to improve your strength and bench press. Military presses, pull-ups, dumbbell presses, etc. are some common exercises that you can practice. They enhance shoulder stability and improve the rotation of joints. All these help the body be more ready to lift heavier loads during a bench press.
Following the above tips can help you add more pounds to your bench press very easily. It will be a quick and stable journey to success and you will soon have impressive numbers on the bench.
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