Four Tips to Supercharge Your Bench Press

If there is ONE exercise that needs no introduction

 

It’s the BENCH PRESS

 

Long been hailed as the KING for Upper body Strength development


It is arguably one of the BEST all round Upper Body exercises

 

Not only do you work your Pectorals (Chest)…..

 

You also work your Anterior Deltoids (Front of Shoulders)

 

Triceps Brachii (Back of upper arms)

 

Latissimus Dorsi (Wing-like muscles on back)

 

Trapezius & Rhomboids (Upper & Mid Back muscles), Forearms….

 

And Pretty much every muscle in your upper body (the list goes on)

 

But……the BENCH PRESS doesn’t just use the upper body

 

While it does place an emphasis on upper muscle groups

 

YOU WANT to engage the Lower body as well

 

Making it a FULL BODY MOVEMENT

 

So today I want to go over FOUR WAYS on

 

HOW TO set up for BENCH PRESS properly

 

Through teaching you how to maintain GLOBAL TENSION

 

Which will ultimately help SUPERCHARGE your Bench Press to the next level

 

So in the near future, next time someone asks you:

 

HOW MUCH DO YOU BENCH?

 

You will be able to start answering more confidently:

 

“More than You”

 

And maybe with a little cheeky ‘Pec Dance’ to go along with it

 

So let’s get into this pressing matter right away

 

By kicking it off with number ONE



1. Plant, Drive & Squeeze

 

Okay so the Bench looks simple enough

 

‘Lie on a bench with feet on the ground, unrack the bar & lower to the chest & press back up’

 

Simples!

 

Well, not quite…….

 

Especially If you want to bench press properly & shift some serious weight!

 

You see it all starts from the floor……

 

This is where you create a solid base that helps your generate force from the ground up!

 

And this is where focusing on the lower body begins……..

 

Remember these key principles & you are off to a solid start:

 

  • PLANT your FEET into the floor & dig them in hard

         * Your shins should be vertical to underneath you

 

  • DRIVE your knees out to the sides
  • SQUEEZE your Glutes A.K.A Butt cheeks

         *like you are trying to pinch a $100 note

 

  • Maintain ALL OF THE ABOVE throughout the entire movement

 

So rather than just relying on the upper body to do all the work

 

Think of your Whole Body as ONE SINGLE UNIT rather than specific muscle groups

 

That way when you go to Bench

 

The lower body doesn’t just limp around on the floor like a fish out of water

 

And you become more of a Jedi Bench Master

 

Using ‘The Force’ you produce from PLANT, DRIVE & SQUEEZE

 

Leading you to press more weight

 

So you can ‘Press to Impress’

 

Because you know…..

 

You have to be boss at an exercise that has gained International recognition

 

In having its own dedicated day ie. Monday

 

Which makes me wonder why Mondays are not most people’s favourite day?

 

I mean it’s Bench Day! *Insert First pumping

 

Although It may not be the weekend

 

And be the start of working weekdays for most people

 

I believe it should be the start of what I call strongdays (not week/weakdays)

 

See what I did there 🙂

 

Yeah you read that right  

 

Anyway before I get carried away onto the next point…

2.Grip it Real Good

You lower body is tight in position

 

Tighter than spandex would be on Honey Boo Boo

 

Check ✅

 

Now it’s time time grip that bar!

 

Use what is called a BULLDOG GRIP

 

Simply by rotating your hands in when you go to grip the bar

 

All you have to do is imagine how a Bulldog plants his paws..

 

Following the two pictures below with Super Coach Jackie demonstrating

 

Grip the bar with your thumbs & index fingers first

 

Then from there rotate your hands in

 

So that your thumbs point to the ground

 

That bar should now rest diagonally in your hands

 

Between the base of your thumbs & palms (hopefully not sweaty)

 

Then SQUEEZE those fingertips around the bar & lock it into place

Doing this badass grip allows you to drive force directly into the bar

 

As it creates a straight line from bar to wrists to forearms to elbows

 

It also fixes a common fault I see often which is bent wrists

 

Bent wrists + bench press = Wrist Pain + weaker bench press

^^^^^^^^^^This is what you want to avoid ^^^^^^^^

 

Now it starts getting serious!

 

  1.     RIP The barbell apart!

Think about trying to BEND the barbell in half upwards towards the sky

 

Or think of it of an annoying overhanging big tree branch you want to snap in half!

 

This action of trying to rip the bar activates & tenses the LATS (wing-like muscles in back)

 

And your REAR DELTS (back of shoulders)

 

Which allows you to take the next step

 

Which is PINCH your Shoulder Blades together

 

This helps immensely to tighten up your position

 

And TIGHTNESS is everything for a heavy bench!

 

It also protects the shoulders from injury

 

Which is a common occurrence from incorrect benching technique

 

So when SQUEEZING those shoulder blades

 

Do it as if you were trying to hold a pencil between them

^Supercoach Jackie gives an excellent demonstration^

 

Got that?

 

Great now think of ROWING your shoulder blades back & SCREWING them into the bench!

 

And raise your CHEST UP & EXPAND your ribcage

 

Creating a slight arch in your back

 

So that I could slide my hand between your lower back & bench

All of this will lock the shoulders into the bench

 

And will save your shoulders

 

Which brings me to another point

 

Make sure your bum doesn’t leave the bench!

 

It should be clenched while keeping those feet planted & knees driven out

 

This makes up part of what I call the ‘FIVE POINTS OF CONTACT’

 

Head, Shoulders & Butt (3) should be in contact with the bench at all times

 

Each foot (2) should be planted into the floor

 

Abide these and….

 

You are now in position to lower the bar that is SAFER & more EFFECTIVE

 

Almost ready to go….

 

But one more important step before you get too excited


4.Inhale & Brace the Abs

 

Pay attention to this one

 

It will serve you well & can easily help you bench more

 

Now I want you to imagine you are newfound superhero

 

One of your super powers you discovered is to be able to suck up all the air out of the room

 

Simply by breathing it all in

 

Let’s call you Captain Vacuum……


Because all superheroes have a corny name of some sort

 

Okay, so now you decide to attempt a Bench Press testing this power

 

Wearing your undies on the outside of your clothes

 

As you do when a classy superhero

 

You get in that super tight position

 

Applying all that you have hopefully read

 

You then proceed to absorb all the air in the room

 

Simply by inhaling as much air as you can through your nostrils

 

And if breathing effectively…..

 

Making your belly rise

 

Like you just polished off an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet!

 

You also BRACE your abdominals like you are about to be punched in the stomach

 

Then using that hold super deep breathe & bracing of the abs

 

You attempt your first rep

 

Lowering that bar under complete superhero control

 

Then using all that stored energy

 

You explode the bar off your chest with ease

 

Like you are Thor when he picks up his hammer & no one else can

 

As silly as it sounds

 

You should actually be trying to do this every time you bench

 

Or even the other big compound movements such as the Squat or Deadlift

 

Don’t be that person who takes a shallow chest breath & hopes for the best

 

To apply effective breathing & bracing of the abdominals

 

It all comes down using the DIAPHRAGM effectively


If you are breathing in properly you are using your diaphragm..

 

What you should notice is your belly will begin to rise

 

Like pumping up a bike tyre….

 

And by filling up the lungs using your diaphragm

 

You can effectively BRACE & create what is known as

 

INTRA-ABDOMINAL PRESSURE

 

Which helps facilitate FORCE production

 

And…. CONNECTS the Upper & Lower halves of the body

 

Making the Bench a FULL BODY MOVEMENT

 

Meaning BIGGER Bench

 

To test yourself to see if you are breathing deep enough & effectively bracing the abs

 

Try the following superhero method below

 

Captain Vacuum’s Training

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent & flat on the floor
  2.  Place hands on sides of stomach/ribs.
  3. Create a neutral spine
  4. Inhale using your nose, while feeding pressure into the floor & out to the sides (should feel it with your hands)
  5. After fully inhaling, take one last gulp of air with your mouth
  6. Now exert pressure in a full 360 degree fashion – expanding all directions  

Can I Bench now?

 

You sure can

 

By MAXIMISING all of the above Four ways

 

YOU WILL be able to ADD MORE weight to the bar

 

Be equipped with the ammunition needed to blast through plateaus  

 

And as a bonus!

 

Help lay the foundation needed to transfer to other badass compound movements (tightness, breathing, bracing)

 

Remember the Bench Press is like Life

 

If you don’t push the weight it will fall on you

 

So hopefully now you can push some more weight

 

Give it a go & let me know how you go

 

Or to find out more on how to get more out of your training

 

Contact me

 

Dave@thebodyconsultants.com

 

Signing off


Dave ‘Don’t Stress Bench Press’ Buck