Bench press is one of the best exercises to measure your upper body strength. It is even called the king of upper body exercises. One of the main reasons why people often fail to add significant extra pounds to their bench press despite several months of practice is that they follow wrong techniques. Some common bad techniques include lowering the bar to the wrong chest position, not keeping your body still while performing the exercise and incorrect hand position on the bar.
But, besides correcting your techniques, there are several other factors as well that you need to work on. Following are top 10 tips to increase your bench press.
How to Increase Your Bench Press
Make Sure Your Elbows are Tucked
You can make the best use of the broad flat muscles on either side of your back while keeping your elbows tucked. This position also helps you to push the bar in a straight line. The combined effect is that your upper body gets more strength.
Make Sure You are Pushing the Bar in a Straight Line
Besides keeping your elbows tucked, you should set a point on the ceiling and try to push the bar in a straight line toward that point. It demands great focus. Also, do not press the bar very low toward your face; always keep it above your elbows.
Drive Yourself into the Bench
You can do this efficiently by using your legs. This technique builds a solid base by putting pressure on your upper back, which eventually gives you more strength and enables you to handle extra pounds.
Keep Your Upper Back Tight
When you keep your upper back tight while performing bench press, it provides your body a solid base, allowing you to do bench press with more strength. Just pull your shoulder blades together and it will tighten your upper back.
Have a Solid Grip on the Bar
A wrong grip on bench press bar can result in injuries, not only in the wrists but also in the shoulders and elbows. The correct technique is to keep the bar close to your wrist, not fingers. Also, squeeze the bar hard making sure it does not move. These techniques also help in activating your triceps more.
However, the technique of grip also depends very much on your specific strengths and weaknesses. For example, you should widen your grip slightly if your triceps are not very strong. But, if your triceps are strong enough, try narrowing your grip slightly. In general, you should grip the bar in a way that is neither too wide nor too narrow.
Plant Your Feet Firmly on the Floor
While you are doing your bench attempts, make sure your feet do not come up or move around. Plant them firmly on the floor. In fact, while you are performing your bench press, your entire body should be stable, but feet are the most crucial part. This way, you can make your bench press more powerful, as it provides your upper body a solid base.
Keep Your Buttock on the Bench
By allowing your buttocks to lift off the bench, you will only invite injuries, specifically on your lower back. On the other hand, when you stick them firmly on the bench, it allows you to perform bench press more powerfully.
While performing bench press, you should protract your shoulder blades and flex your spinal erectors in order to make sure the height of your chest remains constant during the entire set. To add more power, you should consider pressing your heels hard on the floor and flexing your gluteus muscles during the lift.
Keep Your Breathing Under Control
A basic technique is to inhale deeply while going through the eccentric phase in bench press exercise. But, if you want to add more power to your upper body so that you can increase your bench press, you should try the valsava manoeuvre technique. This is a breathing technique, where you have to hold your breath during the concentric phase of the exercise.
It gives you more power by increasing internal pressure along the rib cage. However, this technique requires a lot of practice. Also, those who are suffering from cardiovascular impairment or high blood pressure should not use it.
Do not Over-Train
Besides using the right technique, you also need to make sure that you are not over—training your body. Over-trained and fatigued muscles may prevent growth. Therefore, take at least one day of break every week. Also, you must do proper warm ups before and after your workouts.
Also, get at least eight hours of sound sleep, preferably at night. Overall, if you follow the above tips thoroughly, you should definitely be able to add more strength to your upper body, which will allow you to do your bench press more powerfully.