5 TIPS TO ADD 25KG TO YOUR BENCH PRESS
Whether you're a novice to the sport, more likely an intermediate or are even an advanced lifter you are going to benefit from the following few pages
A great technically-executed bench press is a marvel to see. I love every aspect of powerlifting, but have honestly always been drawn most naturally to pressing.
While it's a lift that has come naturally to me in terms of strength, it's also the lift that I have ironically had to learn the most about!
When something comes naturally to you, you're likely going to have a poor ability to actually teach it to others - it's for that reason that I have spent a lot of my career understanding the mechanics of the shoulders & ribcage, the finer details of what makes a press successful and what comprises good technique.
I could talk for hours about the marvels of the human body & the functions of the rib cage & shoulder.
Instead I am going to distill it down to precisely what you need to do, TODAY, to start stacking kilos on the bar and creating elite pressing strength of your own.
WHAT EQUIPMENT WILL GIVE ME THE BEST CHANCE TO MAKE THESE IMPROVEMENTS?
Technique & time are always going to be your best allies when it comes to adding kilos to the bar in the bench press.
That doesn't mean that you cannot give yourself every competitive edge in being successful right now though.
Ideally, though, you are going to want access to:
- A competition standard bench (they are wider, on a harder surface, create more friction/grip & support the shoulders)
- Wrist wraps (technical execution of the bench is going to require a lot of wrist extension + internal rotation, so you want support)
- Chalk or liquid chalk to ensure the bar doesn't roll in the hands
- Flat rubberized sole shoes to avoid slipping and max leg drive (ideally a slipper of some kind like A7, Skinners)
DO I NEED TO BE A POWERLIFTER TO SEE THIS KIND OF PROGRESS?
NOPE! You don't ever have to be all about that powerlifting life - you are going to benefit from the information in this e-book no matter how you like to lift.
I have helped powerlifters, crossfitters, bodybuilders, wrestlers & grapplers and well over 100+ general clients who just straight up wanted to get strong.
With that said, you MAY want to consider a powerlifting gym simply because of higher quality bars, plates & equipment availability!
STRETCHING, MOBILITY & MOVEMENT PREP
The big focus for your performance in bench press has to be improving shoulder internal rotation, shoulder retraction and holding your position i.e. chest high and reaching for the bar for the entire rep, to make sure you don't collapse on your touch.
For those reasons you want to prioritize mobilising:
- Pecs - Door frame stretch + pec minor Lx Ball
- Lats & Tris- Archer stretch + Foam Roller thread the needle
- Shoulder IR PNF similar to this
HOW DO I STRUCTURE MY WARM UPS?
This is going to depend entirely on the rep range you are aiming for
You can look at two methods:
- Warm up sets are all at the desired rep range for your top set
Likely to accrue more fatigue but have a more accurate idea of your top set/heaviest effort for the day. Your top set will likely be lighter because of moving more kilos, but your chance of overshooting is much lower.
- Warm up sets are lower than the desired rep range
For example, for a set of 5 you may want to warm up with triples.
For a set of 1, if going for a top single, you may simply want to warm up with singles - you'll be moving fewer kilos, but there is a higher risk of overshooting due to the rep range differing from the top set!
The Top 5 Tips to Add 25kg To Your Bench Now
KEEP YOUR TOUCH LIGHT TO THE CHEST
As you bring the bar down, I want you thinking about just barely touching it to your shirt - not sinking into the chest. A sink can be useful as a larger lifter, but a light touch will force you to keep the arms & legs engaged, stay high on the traps and maintain total control over the bar.
GET WIDE & BIG
Relax your hands when you set up, push your hips up and get as high on your traps & neck as possible - then think about driving the elbows out wide, making the chest big and proud, and flaring the shoulders back into the bench.
DRIVE THE ELBOWS OUT AND TURN THE HANDS IN
Wider elbows means less ROM required from the shoulders. It will also emphasize internal rotation of the shoulder, driving the shoulder back into the bench. Let the wrist extend - straight wrists just roll the bar forward.
MOVE IT QUICKLY TO THE CHEST
Stay tight & move fast. Don't gas yourself out moving it at a snail pace to your chest. Squeeze the hands and arms, and get it to your chest so that you can focus on driving it back up.
DRIVE THE SHOULDERS INTO THE BENCH
For every push up there's an equal push down - as you drive the arms up and away, I want you driving 200% harder down into the bench, like you're trying to touch the basement with your back.
Programming Tips For Bench Results
EFFICACY COMES BEFORE FREQUENCY
Benching multiple times a week is definitely a good move if you want to improve your pressing - repetition is important, BUT you need to be able to control the bar. Otherwise you're just getting good at doing messy reps. Clean it up, then add it up.
BUILD YOUR BASE
Before looking to immediately boost your top single or 1RM, spend a lot of time in rep ranges of 5-8 at 70-80%. And I mean a lot. My best bench progress has come from spending 4-6 months pushing up my best sets of x5 - a great single will always come from this.
STOP PULLING YOUR ELBOWS IN. SERIOUSLY STOP.
There is straight up no need to be doing this, and it's simply holding your bench progress back - it increases your ROM, the demand on your shoulder rotation, and more often than not collapses your position & makes pressing feel like garbage. Embrace the elbow flare.
You're going to pick up some easy wins from these tips in your first couple of weeks. You could very easily add 20-25kg on your bench for a set of 5 today as a male lifter, and likely 5-10kg as a female lifter if you adopt them all. But time & technique are always your best allies.
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
Your next steps are totally up to you!
Powerlifting is great in that you truly can see some incredible results if you want to fly solo - it's just a matter of checking in with yourself and doing your research!
You can work out completely from your own home if you'd like to invest in the right equipment.
You can get a commercial gym membership to have access to potentially a broader variety of machines without the hassle or of creating your own home-set up.
If you want to know more about coaching or memberships, just email email@example.com today!