Bench Press Blasting Techniques
The bench-press is probably the most frustrating of movements for people searching for muscle gain. Everyone who has tried to progressively increase the bench-press max will know what a sticking point or training plateau is. We offer a solution by listing two important tips for improving your own bench-press 1RM.
1) Position Your Body Correctly On The Bench
When you change your body position and your alignment you can increase leverage, decrease the distance for the bar to travel, and increase your mechanical advantage. But just learning a simple technique that decreases the distance the bar has to travel will help develop a powerful foundation from which to press from. There are four key parts to setting a correct body position for the bench-press:
a) When looking up at the bar it should be in line with your eyes, directly above you. Doing a bench-press from any other position is going to waste strength you need to lift the barbell, it can throw you off balance and reduce your power.
b) Both your feet need to be set firmly on the ground next to the bench leg. If you lift your legs onto the bench, straighten them or just lightly touch the floor you're wasting precious strength and reducing your power to push the weight up.
When both feet are firmly planted on the floor, you'll be able to draw extra power by pushing through your feet when you hit that sticking point. With both your feet against the bench, it'll also be easier to maintain that important arch in your back.
c) Shoulder blades should be retracted and squeezed tightly together firmly planted on the bench. When bench pressing heavy weight it's important to be stable from top to bottom. When you lift the weight and you retract your shoulder blades as you press upwards, your back will stay firmly in contact on the bench, giving you that solid foundation you're going to need.
d) Maintaining that slight arch in the back with a tight torso and a slight arch in your lower back. Your lower back should only be slightly arched, but not pressed hard into the bench. Excessive arching and thrusting your hips upwards can injure your lower back. By raising your chest using a slight arch of the lower back you're reducing the distance the barbell has to travel. The shorter that distance is, the more weight you will be able to lift.
2) Get A Firm Grip
Improving your grip-strength will improve your strength doing bench-press 1RM. The tighter your grip on that barbell the more control you're going to have. Wrapping your thumbs around the bar, prevents serious injury. You should always use that grip. Never hold the barbell too high on your palm near your fingers, that will bend your wrist. The barbell should always be against the heel of the hand which then allows the transfer to chest, deltoids and arms, and not your wrist.
Grip is vitally important when trying to increase your bench-press 1RM. Most people find that their first sticking point is around mid-point in the press. It's because the front deltoids are handing most of the weight over to pecs and triceps take over.
If your deltoids are weaker than your pecs and triceps, or the other way around, you can compensate by taking a grip width which will minimize your weak muscles as it maximizes your strong muscles. People have extremely different body sizes, strong points and weak points and different limb lengths, resulting in widely different ideal grip positions. Dr. Squat, Fred Hatfield identified several critical anatomical anomalies that he said we must adjust our own benching style for:
Long arms should use elbows out, and a wider grip.
Short arms should use elbows in, with a closer grip.
Weak pecs should be with elbows in, and a narrower grip.
Strong pecs should use a wider grip, with elbows out.
Weak front delts should use elbows out, and a wide grip.
Strong front delts should use a narrower grip, with elbows very close to the torso.
Weak triceps should do elbows out, with a wider grip.
Strong triceps should use elbows in, with a closer grip.