For some reason every alpha male out there wants to be the guy with the biggest bench. We could try to persuade you that it’s not the most important thing to aim for, but we’d probably fail. Instead we’re going to give you some solid strategies to boost up those numbers and develop a better, stronger bench.
The first thing that you need to be aware of is utilising your full range of motion (ROM). The importance of this point will only be seen when you’ve eventually got to a reasonable strength level, and notice that your flexibility is awful. Maintaining a full ROM is also necessary to actually claim that you can bench a weight. If you say you can bench 100kg but can only bench to the chest with 80kg, you’re lying to yourself. You can only bench 80kg.
The rep range is also a key factor in helping to develop a stronger bench press. In order to best stimulate the correct muscle fibres, you should ideally be keeping your rep range to a maximum of 6 repetitions. You will get stronger with a higher rep range, but you will also take a very long time getting there. We would suggest between about 4-6 when you are starting out as your body will be more able to deal with the (relatively) large volume. After a while you may find that you have to low the rep range to 1-3 to increase. Optimally however, we would suggest that over the long term you mix it up and use a variety of ranges between 1 and 6 repetitions.
Perhaps the most effective way of improving your strength is to incorporate pause reps into your routine. Luke uses these in every single bench press variation (as well as the overhead press) and he’s seen impressive gains in strength in these areas. The pause rep basically involves holding the weight at the bottom position (touching your chest) for 2-3 seconds and then explosively pushing the bar up to the lockout position. This enables you to build explosive strength and be stronger in the bottom half of the movement, which is usually a weak point for most people. If you decide to move back into the usual touch-and-go style after a few months of utilising this method, you will notice a significant improvement in the amount of weight you can move.
If you really want to be the king of the bench, follow these strategies and you will get there. Leave your friends in the dust by following our Blog and liking our Facebook page (to the right). We’ll get you to where you want to be.