The bench press can be a frustrating exercise. Few people can add weight to the bar week after week with little difficulty, but increases come much slower for many of us. When you’re stuck in a strength plateau, it can be not easy to see how you’ll ever make progress.
Luckily, there are many things you can do to work around your sticking point and build strength on the bench press. Here are 20 tips that will help you improve your bench press strength:
1. Use a spotter
If you’re working out alone, one of the best things you can do for your safety is to use a spotter. A spotter can help you unrack the weight, hand off the barbell, and spot you if you get stuck. If you don’t have a spotter, ask a gym employee to help you out or use the safety pins in the power rack.
2. Use proper form
Using the proper form on the bench press will help you lift more weight and reduce your risk of injury. When you lower the bar, aim for the middle of your chest. Then tuck your elbows so that they’re at about a 45-degree angle from your body. As you press the weight back up, arch your back and drive your feet into the floor.
3. Warm up properly
It would be best to warm up before you bench press for safety and performance. A good warm-up will increase your heart rate, raise your core temperature, and increase blood flow to your muscles. Start with some light cardio, and then do a few sets of lighter weights before moving on to your working weight.
4. Use Steroids for extra power
Since we’re on the topic of the full range of motion, you may as well buy steroids while you’re at it. Steroids will help you build muscle and strength quickly. If you decide to use steroids, be sure to do your research and talk to a doctor first.
5. Use a grip that’s comfortable for you
You can use many different grips on the bench press, so experiment until you find one that’s comfortable for you. A narrower grip will work your triceps more, while a wider grip will work your chest more. You can also try alternating grip or straps to change things up.
5. Don’t arch your back
Arching your back during the bench press puts your shoulders in a precarious position and increases the risk of injury. Instead, keep a natural arch in your lower back and focus on driving your feet into the floor to help you keep a solid base and stay safe while lifting.
6. Use leg drive
Most people think of the bench press as an upper-body exercise, but your legs also play an important role in the movement. When you press the weight up, drive your feet onto the floor and use your legs to help power the movement to help you lift more weight and stay safer while you do it.
7. Don’t bounce the bar off your chest
Bouncing the bar off your chest may help you get past a sticking point, but it’s also a good way to injure yourself. When you lower the bar, control it and lower it slowly until it touches your chest to help you stay in control of the weight and avoid injury.
8. Use a full range of motion
When you bench press, lower the bar to your chest and press it back up until your elbows are locked out. Using a full range of motion will ensure that you’re working all the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and arms and will also help you get stronger overall.
9. Try paused reps
If you’re stalling on your bench press progress, try paused reps. Paused reps are bench press reps where you pause for 2-3 seconds at the bottom of the lift before pressing the weight back up. It will help you build strength in the bottom part of the lift, which is often where people stall.
10. Don’t lock out your elbows
Locking out your elbows at the top of the bench press puts a lot of stress on your elbow joints and increases your risk of injury. Instead, stop short of lockout and lower the weight to your chest to keep you safe and reduce joint pain.