The moment people discover you workout, “How much can you bench?” is the #1 question on their lips.
Particularly from non-lifters.
And in a bid to impress, most guys answer with a lie.
But not any more. Not you.
This handy 3 step guide will teach you how to improve your bench press and pec development results significantly over the next three-to-four weeks.
In my time working in gyms, I’ve heard everything from “I feel it more in my shoulders” to “I can’t get out of the bottom half of the rep”. The following simple tweaks will help you to eliminate the biggest obstacles most guys come up against, and really drive your bench press to a new max.
Get stuck in, and if you enjoy these tips, recommend this post on social media. I really appreciate that.
Tip 1: Your Feet Go On The Fucking Floor
I don’t want to see any of that fancy “feet on the bench” nonsense in my gym.
“Oh but Russ, won’t doing that engage my core more?”
You are here to improve your bench press max. Not to work your core. Frankly, if you wanted to work your core there are far superior exercises you could be doing to achieve that. Play this exercise to it’s strengths and you will see a better return on your investment.
By placing your feet on the floor beneath you, you can focus on driving your heels hard into the ground as you push. This will give you significantly more power as you press the bar back up to the starting position.
Tip 2: Pull The Bar Apart
When you’re working the bench press with a barbell, one of the best ways to draw more from each set is to try pulling the bar apart with your hands.
Grip the bar hard, and pull as if trying to stretch the bar.
This technique is a great way to increase tension and zone in on the pectorals. As such, it’s not something I’d recommend when shooting for a rep with anything over 80% of your one rep max. Instead, use this one when working with a light-to-moderate weight.
The improvements in mind/muscle connection will add up quickly.
Tip 3: Use A Biacromial Distance Grip
Many guys feel the bench press in their shoulders more than their pecs. Most of the time it’s because we’re
trying to show off for a girl packing too much weight onto the bar, but grip placement can also play a big role.
If you really want to feel your bench press in your pecs more I highly recommend swapping out the regular wider-than-shoulder-width grip and bringing in a biacromial distance grip.
This much narrower grip is measured by taking the distance in inches between the two “lumps” at the top of your shoulders and multiplying by 1.5. Your grip will be tighter, and this will allow you to lower the bar to your lower pecs at a smaller angle (around 30-40 degrees) which is absolutely ideal for minimizing shoulder involvement in the bench press.
Here is a video of me demonstrating how to use the biacromial grip for bench press. It also features a useful technique to try when aiming to hit your upper chest – particularly useful if you feel your shoulders become the dominant player in incline work. Enjoy.
And there you have it!
Apply each of these tips in your training over the next few weeks and let me know how your performance improves. Got a comment? Join the conversation on Facebook here.