Increasing Strength: Increase your Bench-Press Max Weight & Tips

Increasing your Bench Press Strength

Keep Progressing to Excel in your Bodybuilding Goals

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To become good at benching first you have to bench a lot. It's a practiced skill. You don't get good at throwing a baseball by swinging a bat. You throw a baseball. If you want to get good at benching, then bench a lot. Next you must cut back on your sets of flys, crossovers, pec-decs, and inclines and do more sets of bench presses, especially heavy, low-rep ones (1 to 6 reps). I suggest about 8 to 10 sets of bench presses along the following lines: 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 2 x 6, 2 x 4, 2 x 3, 1 x 2, 1 x 1. Rest for three minutes between sets, but extend your rest to four or five minutes on the last couple of really heavy sets. Have a partner stand by to assist you in case you fail and can't rack the weight yourself. Bench heavy but smart.

A great way of rapidly increasing your bench press is through the use of heavy partials and heavy negative-only reps. Set the pins of the power rack or bench so that the bar is at the mid-point of your rep. Do 2 sets of 6 (partial) reps. Change the pins so the bar is only six inches from lockout.

Example for individual stuck at a 225lb bench press

Again do 2 sets of 6 reps. Next set the pins two inches from lockout and do 2 sets of 6 reps. Make sure you lift with concentration. At this point because the bar will be traveling only inches, you should be handling some pretty hefty poundage's - at least 100 to 150 pounds over your max for a full rep. Finally do 2 sets of 10-second supports. Have your partner help lift the weight up so you can hold it in the fully outright contracted position. Hold for a count of 10 seconds - or as long as you can, You'll be amazed at how grueling holding 150 to 200 pounds over your max for 10 seconds can be on your deltoids, wrists, and pecs.

Handling such heavy poundages creates greater tendon and ligament strength. The body also gets used to the feel of heavy weights. After holding 400 pounds for 10 seconds, 200 pounds doesn't feel so heavy the next time you go to bench.

Heavy negatives work great but you first must find a partner (or partner's) willing to lift that kind of poundage so that you can then lower it down. Assuming you can find people to help, do your negatives at the end of your regular benching. I recommend that you do 10 heavy sets of regular benching plus the partials for one chest workout, then do 6 sets of 6, plus the negatives, the next workout. Keep alternating your bench workouts this way every four or five days.

Let's say you've just finished your final set of bench presses for 6 reps and it was with 245 pounds. Leave the weight as it is and rest a few minutes before you begin your first set of negative-only benches. Since the average bodybuilder can lower 40 percent more than he can raise, negatives with the same 245 pounds is obviously going to feel a little light. Consider this first set with 245 as a warmup. Do 8 or 10 slow downward-only reps (remember, we're doing negatives). Each rep should last about six seconds. Try to slow, or even stop, the descent of the bar. It's time to end the set when the bar feels as though it's about to drop like a rock and can no longer be safely controlled.

For the second set of negatives, go to 300 pounds and shoot for 6 reps. Remember, stop the set when you can no longer slow the descent of the bar. Rest at least three minutes and begin set number three. This time aim for at least 325 pounds and get as many slow negatives as you can. Make sure your partners are alert and know when to take the bar. It is safer not to rely on your grunts and groans to alert them, better to give aloud, "take it, man!"

For the fourth set go to 350 or 360 pounds. Be very deliberate in all procedures when handling this kind of weight. Make sure you feel up to the attempt. Do as many negatives as you can - which probably will be two or three. It's all a question of feedback. If you're on a roll, try one more set with a weight that is more than the previous set. If you feel as done a dog's dinner, pack it in for the day.

Those are the key exercises to work on when trying to develop a heavy bench. Keep in mind that strong lats are a prerequisite for heavy benching so include heavy barbell rowing in your back routine. Strong triceps are also important for heavy benching so include heavy close-grip bench pressing and weighted dips in your triceps workouts. Strong front delts are the third important ingredient necessary for heavy benching so include lying barbell front raises (a Jim William's favorite) in your delt workouts.

It helps to lift heavier when you're bulked up, so if possible gain some bodyweight (preferably good lean muscle mass). Make sure your diet is high in protein and calories and rich in nutrients. Eat good, eat lots, and take supplements known to aid size, strength and recovery - like creatine monohydrate, protein powder and glutamine.

Lastly, make sure you always warm up well before attempting any heavy lifting. If you feel any aches, pains or strains, back off for a few workouts. Learn what your body can handle and what it can't. Learn when you should push yourself hard and when you should not. Be patient and keep track of your progress by keeping a training diary. Try to beat what you did the previous workout in weight or reps whenever possible. Slowly but surely, your bench press should go up like a thermometer on a hot summer's day.

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