Most people when they go to increase their bench they work their chest three times a week figuring more work will mean more gains. There is more to the bench than just the chest. On May 19th, I met with Bill Kazmaier who held a meet as well as a seminar. He told us that you should work the muscles that work the bench. Hence, the delts and triceps. He also mentioned using controlled explosion from the chest while benching since getting out of the bottom is where a majority of lifters have trouble at. Now going on what he said and what I'm saying, we are going to setup a workout that will improve the bench...hence THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS OF THE BENCH.
1 Never work the chest on the same day as triceps.
The reason why I say this is because the triceps is the indirect muscle being worked and if are done on the same day as the bench, you'll be cheating your triceps of the work they need.
2 Work your delts with Dumbbell Press, Front Shoulder Press, and Behind-the neck Shoulder Press.
These exercises work on strengthening the delts. The lateral raises can be thrown in but they are not needed for increasing the bench.
3 Work your chest with not only bench press but with Dumbbell Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Incline Dumbbell Bench Press, Decline Bench Press, and Decline Dumbbell Bench Press.
Notice a pattern here. They are all barbell and dumbbell movements. Meaning, you have to go back to "old school" to get your bench up. No machines here!!
4 Do SQUATS and/or DEADLIFTS!!!
These two exercises produces the most testosterone amongst any exercise and they aid in helping to increase your bench. The effort you put out in these movement(s) is so much that when going back to benching it no problem. Leg Presses are a substitute for the squats.
5 Use Close-Grip Bench Press and Tricep Extensions for the Triceps.
These two exercises will aid greatly in making your triceps stronger for the bench press and need to be done at least 48-72 hours after working the chest and delts(if you choose to work them together).
6 Work the chest, delts, and triceps no more than twice a week.
Too much work leads to fatigue and I would recommend that any lifter to work the three only once a week and hit them hard.
7 Do about 3 sets of 8 reps for the chest, delt, and tricep work (except for the bench which will be periodized) and 3 sets of 12 for the lower body. Increase the weight when you complete 3 sets of 8 reps by five pounds but stay at the same weight if you have trouble.
8 Work your best angle on the bench utilizing your hand position or grip.
This is a major factor that helps to improve your bench. Everyone is familiar with the hand spacing or the link-like space on the Olympic bars. Well, where you have your fingers is useful in helping what muscle to utilize on the bench. - use the pinky finger on the link if your triceps heal faster than your biceps. - use either of the middle fingers if your chest heals fast. - use the index finger if your biceps heal faster than your triceps. With the pinky finger, you'll be a what powerlifters call a "tricep bencher". You'll be using your triceps out of the bottom of a bench press. With the index finger, you'll be utilizing your back in the bench press. I'm not sure how this is done and only index fingered lifters can do it. With the two middle fingers(doesn't matter which one) you'll be utilizing your chest.
9 Keep cardio down to once or twice a week.
You don't won't to expend too much energy when increasing your bench press. You'll need all the energy you can get to keep going up.
10 Workout no more than three times a week.
When increasing your bench, Rest and Recovery are the most important two that is utilized. If you don't feel like your recovered take can extra day off and go the following day with what you planned.
11 Work the Forearms
Having "Popeye" like forearms really help the bench press in maintaining and controlling the bar. Do Hammer Curls...heavy!!
12 Do Rows
Rowing is on the same plane as pressing, so it makes more sense to do.
rows when you work your back. Dumbbell, Barbell, or Cable Rows, Pulldowns, and Shrugs for the traps.
There it is in a nutshell. If you want a idea on how to schedule your bodyparts here's a good schedule to go by: (this is with two exercises per bodypart)
- Monday- Chest, Delts, and Back
- Wednesday- Legs and Traps
- Friday- Biceps, Triceps, and Forearms