The Bench Press is the go-to weighted exercise for impressing your friends. Often, the best way to increase your Bench Press is to include some training away from a bench.
Here are seven bench-free training approaches that will increase your Bench Press one rep max.
A Push-Up is essentially a face-down bodyweight bench press. If you can control raising and lowering your own body weight, you'll be on your way to raising and lowering more weight on the bench. Sprinkle Push-Ups in on your chest days, and do them weighted or do them until failure.
Training your triceps hard with exercises like Dips can give you strength in the second half of the press. Many people are able to press the weight off their chest, but fail to "lock out" the bar.
Pull-Ups are crucial to increasing your Bench Press max, because they help you control the weight during the eccentric phase—i.e., lowering the barbell. In a Bench Press, your back muscles control the weight on the way down, and your chest, shoulders and triceps work together to press the weight. You will not have a chance to press the weight if you cannot control it, and you might suffer a bruised sternum.
Bench pressing is a horizontal move, but you still need to attack all angles in your training. If you perform pressing motions in both the horizontal and vertical planes, you will build your shoulders and your bench numbers will increase. Overhead Presses such as the Strict Press and Push Press with a Barbell translate greatly in strength gains.
If you have a strong Squat, your entire body is strong. Lower-body heavy lifting will increase testosterone production and overall strength.
Have confidence and envision the completion before you sit on the bench. A lax attitude will result in a failed rep and possibly an injury.
Extensive chest workouts several times a week take a toll on the body. To lift big, you must rest big. Besides taking a break on certain days, try soft-tissue work with a foam roller or lacrosse ball, drink plenty of water throughout the day and get plenty of sleep.
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