Are you having trouble adding pounds to your Bench Press? There's a good chance you may be lacking tricep strength.
Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts think that if you simply bench every week you will get stronger. What they don't realize is that the triceps work together with the pectorals to press the bar off the chest.
Following your bench and other chest exercises, it's a good idea to add some tricep exercises. They will help bump up your bench numbers.
The triceps have three heads—long (upper inside), medial (lower inside) and lateral (outside). All three work together so it's impossible to target one at a time; but they work in different ways so you need to strengthen all areas evenly. To improve your bench, you need to train your triceps like you do your chest. The three triceps exercises below have a direct correlation to your Bench Press. Perform them on your chest day and you'll be on your way to a higher max bench.
Dips are an excellent exercise that will add pounds to your bench. In addition to the triceps, they target the anterior deltoids, pectoralis major, and pectoralis minor. They are also great for shoulder stability since you do them from a hang position. The beautiful thing about Dips is that they target every muscle that you use for the Bench Press and strengthens them as well. On your chest day, you should perform 3-4 sets of Dips for 10-12 reps directly after you bench. Avoid doing them before you bench because you don't want to fatigue your chest and triceps. The better you get at Dips, the more reps you can add to each set.
2. Close-Grip Bench Press
Close-Grip Bench Press is a great variation to the standard bench. By moving your grip closer, you put more triceps into the movement. These should be performed at the end of your bench workout as either a breakdown or additional sets. The weight should be significantly lower than what you were benching, since you are using more triceps and less chest. Adding variations to your bench is extremely beneficial, because it keeps your muscles guessing and not getting used to the same exercise every week. An example of a bench workout with close grip added would be 2x10 or 2x8 (Standard Bench) followed by 3x10 (Close Grip).
3. Triceps Extension with Rope
This supplemental exercise is great to do toward the end of your workout to really finish off your triceps. It uses a cable machine with a rope attachment. Begin with your arms bent, then fully extend your arms and spread them apart at the bottom. Slowly raise the weight up to the starting position in a controlled manor. Using cables enables you to control the resistance throughout the exercise, forcing you to work constantly. This exercise will help you extend your arms when the bar is on your chest. There are many ways to perform this exercise, but 4 sets of 10 should give you the strength you need to add weight to your bench.
Perform all of these exercises on your chest day and you will see and experience results in no time at all.
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