The weekend is over and next weeks grind has begun. Monday is a dreaded day for most, but not for you. For you it is a special day, the holy grail of workout days. It’s Chest Monday! You’ve been dreaming of this day since Tuesday of last week, eager to feel that sweet chest pump again. You walk into the gym with your stringer singlet, chest exposed, ready to start your workout only to find 40 dudes standing around 2 benches. Your heart breaks. It’s not worth the wait; you decided to do legs instead. For the days you do get a hold of a bench to use on International Chest Monday, here are three tips for a better bench press.
1. Strengthen your supportive muscles
A better bench begins when all muscles are working together in unison; a summation of forces beginning with your back, shoulders, triceps, chest and forearms. By strengthening each individual muscle group we can improve your bench-press through the principle of the compounding force; produced from each muscle group up the line of the movement. This is why it is so important to make sure you develop your body evenly as every muscle group directly or indirectly affects the performance of other movements.
2. Grip positioning
When performing a bench press, the grip position you choose to use will determine the force output of your bench-press. If your primary motivation is to bench as much weight as possible then you will want to make sure your grip position reflects your desired goals. To generate a maximum force output we want to make sure that our hand/forearm position is perpendicular to the bar and a 90- degree angle has been created between our upper arm (Humerus) and your forearm (Radius/Ulna). This positioning will allow for a greater strength response and result in a better, heavier lift.
3. Train with a spotter
Have you even found yourself at the gym laying on the bench, with the bar above your head worrying whether or not you’re about to die as you go for that one last rep? Did you then decide that you’re better off just racking the bar in order to preserve your life? This is an all too common theme for guys that train alone; you can’t train as hard. If you have a spotter you’ll find that your one last rep can turn into 2-3 with the knowledge that your spotter has got your back if you are about to drop the bar on yourself. The power of our brain is amazing, just knowing that we will be safe allows us to focus all of our energy on the lift, often lifting more weight for more reps. On big lift days find a good spotter that will push you to do more, lift more and keep you motivated. These are my three tips for a better bench. Now lets lift some heavy ass weights!