Today is Monday. If you’re a red blooded American male that can mean only one thing: today, is chest day. And what better way to inaugurate the starting of a new week than with the meat of all lifts, the bench press.
Our Weekly Video:
Love the music and this guy. His right hook is legendary around the Elk's lodge.
The bench press is sacred to the brommunity and everyone involved. Our world's greatest athletes use this lift as a standard of strength and power. You use it as a place of shame and 25lb plates.
Here are the tips to improve your bench press:
1. Touch your chest and keep your ass on that bench.
Listen, I used every excuse in to book to not touch my chest. I have lanky monkey arms and fucked up shoulders, but it does not matter.
Sometimes, in your life, you are going to have to be a man and admit your wrong. Like when you told people you benched 315, but your cock was 10 feet in the air and you bounced the weight like a trampoline off your boney chest.
It is impossible to really improve, if you keep cheating to progress. Bad form + heavy weight = snap city and nobody's impressed by how much weight you can re-rack. Take down some weight.
Get it done, do it right.
2. 5x5 sets
Talk to any serious power lifter and they will tell you about the importance of heavy 5x5 sets. They are the ultimate way to improve strength and muscle density.
The last set on these lifts should be tough. Tougher than accepting last weeks Game of Thrones episode WHERE THEY KILLED OFF ALL THE PROTAGONISTS TO MY FAVORITE SHOW. WHO DO I FUCKING ROOT FOR NOW!!?
Damn You George R.R. Martin.
You guys get the point- it should be hard, but incase you don't understand here's a good rule of thumb. If you feel comfortable without a spotter, it's not heavy enough.
3. Ancillary muscles can be an issue
My 'O' Face
Despite popular broscience, everyday is not chest day.
If you have hit a plateau, then you should consider spending some time on other important muscles involved in the bench press.
The main components being: Shoulders, Triceps, and your Back.
Focus on: pull-ups, barbell rows, overhead barbell press, and dips for a bigger bench.
4. Volume after heavy reps and elbow placement
To be honest, there is not a lot of science behind the a burnout set. However, they can be very beneficial in my opinion.
I am linking a video where Elliot Hulse talks about them as well. If you don't believe me, at least listen to this super jacked dude who benches in the 400's (He also talks about proper elbow placement in the video): HERE
After your 5x5 set, knock it down to 30% and bust out a bunch of reps on a final set. It has worked for me and will probably work for you.
5. Eliminate your sticking point
If your sticking point(place where you fail) is near your chest, you have problem with explosion. If you get stuck on the lockout, the problem is with your triceps. Set the pins to wherever you fail at and work on your problem.
Best video to explain this:
**Try not to spend too long in the squat rack doing this. Easy way to annoy your fellow bros.
6. Trade off between dumbbell and barbell bench.
Dumbbell bench is great because the balancing of the weights will improve overall muscular strength and the barbell bench is great because it's a solid press will improve your bodies thickness and size.
Trade off sometimes between the two and avoid sticking points. I suggest spending a month with one before switching to the other.
7. Stop Benching
The last and final tip is to stop benching. Sometimes, if you're serious about lifting, you can get into a rut. You're body is not some stable and simple piece of matter. It has massive complexities including, and not limited to, nerves, tendons, muscles, bones, skin, cells, etc.
Limiting yourself to mastering ONE exercise or muscle group will eventually come back to bite you. Actually, a lot of the modern posture problems in the U.S. are a result of spending too much time focusing on what we see (chest, abs) and too little time focusing on what we do not (back, triceps). The irony being that the back and triceps are signifigantly more valuable than their counterparts.
Just food for thought.
On a seperate note, I am STOKED that the anonymous commenting has arrived. Happy trolling!
Alex Nerney - Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Lord of Broscience.
Follow him to your doom on twitter: HERE
For college bros seeking more tips, check out his book: HERE