That's the question that everyone asks in the gym, "What's your bench?". If you're a strong lifter, you'll probably boast and brag about it but if you're a average lifter, you are probably ashamed of it. It's a type of gym stereotype that needs to be stopped because people do different bench presses. Don't compare benches first of all because there are reasons. One, if you're a tall guy, your going to have a slight disadvantage because the distance is greater rather than for a short guy who has a short distance for the bar to travel. Also, one guy could have more experience than you or just genetically gifted. Back to what I was saying, everyone's bench is different. For instance, some do cheat bench, some do partial bench, and some do the touch and go. But if you really want to display your strength and make others drop their jaws, do you bench with rest-pause like powerlifters do. These guys could do touch-and-go, but why waste the effort. Plus, when you do rest-pause, you make the weight look easy. Not everyone is going to have a good bench starting out and everyone is going to hit a plateau on the bench. But working hard in the gym and at the table will do wonders for your bench…BIGTIME. Wanna know why powerlifters are able to increase their lifts in such a short time? It's because they cycle their bench. They have a light phase and they have a heavy phase. During the light phase, they increase their endurance and perfect their form. In the heavy phase, they plug in the strength and watch themselves get stronger. That's all. Anyone who does their max more than once at any given time, they are not doing their max at all. For instance, if I did my max of 320 one week and did it again next week, it isn't my max. Your max is a ONE time deal, you do it once and work towards another max. There are things needed to go about when increasing your bench and this steps came from Dave Tate, who is known to be benching 585 currently.
- Train the Triceps
- Keep your shoulder blades in and tight
- Keep the pressure on your upper back and traps
- Push the Bar in a straight line
- Keep the elbows tucked and the bar directly over the wrists and elbows.
- Bring the bar low on your chest
- Fill your belly with air and hold it
- Squeeze the barbell and try to pull the bar apart
- Train lats on the same day as bench.
These tips, if followed correctly and doing it in conjunction with the routine and diet, you should yield results on your bench. I'll show you how to go about it and if you read my first report "Keys to Gaining Size and Strength", then you know half of what I'm about to tell you, if you haven't, get ready to blow your mind.
Before we talk about the routine, there are a few key things I need…no must to tell you first. First, you have to get the correct form on the bench. Time and Time again, I've seen people raise their ass off of the bench or squirming all over the bench. You have to stay tight on the bench by keeping you feet planted on the ground. You can also arch your back, but not to a degree where your ass is off the bench too. By arching your back, you make the distance shorter to your chest, especially if you have long arms. Make sure that when you do the movement, the bar lands or gets near below your chest. Reason for this is because when you bench directly to you chest, it puts pressure on your shoulders, which is the reason people don't bench at all. Now this brings up the grip, the grip doesn't matter on the bench.
But if you want to make sure your hitting your chest, then use the "thumb-under" grip, which is basically your thumb horizontal to the bar. There is another grip called the "false grip", where all your fingers are on the same side and nothing is supporting the bar. This is a grip only for experienced lifters only, not for beginners. Also, don't move your head, keep it stationary on the bench. Now to get all the strength your chest needs, put your knees up and feet in the air, not on the bench. This makes sure your chest is doing ALL of the work. Now, for the routine. The routine below is a 11-week bench routine that's focused on increasing your bench. The cycle is not the typical powerlifting cycle I discussed above, but its sort of a "wave" where you go heavy one week and go down another week. This confuses your chest because it expects heavy weight every week. You will only do bench on Mondays. On Fridays, you will do close-grip bench press. This exercise is more for triceps than for chest. Powerlifters use this exercise to increase the mass and strength on their triceps. Now also on the routine is bench partials. Now I would only do bench partials up to week 6 and what it is doing the bench in a power rack and setting the pins at the "halfway" point on the bench so that you can focus on locking out. You'll start out with 75% of your max for a set of 2 reps then work up to 96% of your max. The reason why you shouldn't do partials after week 6 is because you want to focus on increase your strength and by then you should have no problem locking out easily. Also your warm-up sets on the bench should be nothing but warm-up sets. For any max, I used 135, 185, 205, 225 and if the workout permits, I'll add a set with 235. For big men whose maximums are more than 350, I would do 135, 225, 275, 305 and if workout permits, then a set with 315. But in any case, I would use 45s only warming up so that I would do 135 and 225. Now you have to do more than 2 no less than 5 warm-up sets. On Fridays, you will also do Incline Bench. Now for the reason for the arrangement of exercises is because of rest. First, Believe it or not, Squats produces the most GH or Growth Hormone out of any movement you might do. It also serves to increase your bench, that's why strength coaches and Physical Ed teachers use it. Second, your bench works more than the chest, it works the shoulders and triceps as well. But your triceps will be more effected than the shoulders, so you do triceps on Wednesdays. This routine is great because it was modeled after a mass routine topped with some of my own exercises and variations of the methods below.
The methods are designed to help increase strength as well as mass. Here are some of them below: The 1-6 method-all you do for this method is you do 1x1 with the most weight possible and then drop the weight to do 1x6. To intensify this, take a minute between sets. On the program, I changed this, but its still the same method with a set of 2 reps, then a set of 6 reps, and so on.
5x5-This method involves doing a weight that's heavy enough for two or three sets of the five. If you do all five sets of five reps, you have to go up in weight the following week and if you fall short of doing the first set, you have to lower the weight. But if you do 2-3 sets of the five for five reps, its good weight. That means that last 2-3 sets you should not hit the fifth rep.
One more point, there are two exercises that you should know how to do before you do it, the Bradford Press and the Swing Curls. The Bradford Press is a combination of shoulder and behind-the-neck press. You start out doing the shoulder press but as you bring the bar down, you take it behind the head and back up again and back to the shoulder press position. You can't do heavy weight on this because its more of a finesse movement. This is a great workout that will have you on the way to a bigger bench. But the workout is only half of what you have to do, the next thing is your supplementation and diet.
*Wide-Chest Hammer Strength-you can substitute Dumbbell Bench Press
*Bradford Press- you can substitute Lateral Raises
The only supplement you would need would be protein. Protein is the ultimate muscle builder and your body needs this. Now if you read my "Keys to Gaining Size and Strength" article you'll know that protein is especially important after a workout. Protein is needed if you want to get your bench stronger. Now whey protein, meal replacements, weight gainers and other protein products will do wonders. Just make sure you take enough times your bodyweight. Meaning if you weigh 150, you have to take between 100-150 grams of protein daily. Now there are other options, but protein would be your best bet. Creatine is another supplement that has made great strides since it came out. But again, the powdered and the pill forms are useless save Cell-Tech. Look for the liquid or effervescent forms, they are better. They are made to get the creatine to the muscles faster and better. They give great pumps as well and makes your muscles stronger. Now for these growth hormone or testosterone products, they are kind of up in the air. They work and they don't work. The testosterone products will be useless for anyone whose ages is 14-29, men over 30 gain more benefits from testosterone products. But there is another supplement that works just as well…its vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 metabolizes fuel and protein during workouts. B6 also raises GH or Growth Hormone levels. If taken in at 600mg , the user will get an increase in their GH naturally. It also lowers the cortisol levels, which is the stuff that causes your muscles to fatigue. So by using vitamin B6, you can increase your GH naturally and inexpensively. B6 can be found in orange juice, whole-wheat bread, spinach, turnips, and whole-grain cereals. So if your looking to build size through GH, look no further than vitamin B6. Also taking amino acids or BCAAs will aid your protein in the muscle-building process. Also, be sure that when making a protein shake, that you use milk. Milk is the number 1 source for protein. Now if buying protein supplements isn't your thing then there is a recipe for a protein shake below. I got this shake from a book called "supercuts".
MUSCLE MASS BANANA SHAKE
1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites
dash ground cinnamon.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Use medium speed. Like I said, protein is number one and you need it. Now onto the diet.
Believe it or not, there are different ways to diet. When someone mentions diet, they suggest that they must loose weight. Not necessarily. Bodybuilders have diets, a weight-gain diet and a leaning down diet. For this report, I'm going to discuss the aspects of a weight-gain diet. Supplements alone won't do much unless you change your diet. Now this doesn't mean go out and eat everything including the stuff that you know will pack on fat. You want to be a "smart-pig", literally. You want to eat for muscle-gain, not weight-gain. To weight-gain is not to gain fat weight. I have three diets outlined below that can be used in conjunction with your routine, your smarts, and your supplements. Now the last one, most mesomorphs (naturally muscular) or ectomorphs (naturally skinny) won't gain much off of, but endomorphs (naturally big) can gain a lot on this diet.
Now none of these diet plans are made in stone. You can have broiled fish instead of broiled chicken or steak. But what ever cook it must be one of three things.... broiled, baked, or steamed (vegetables), NEVER fry anything. They have tons of fat and that won't aid in helping your goal at all. Your main focus is protein...the muscle builder. Get as much as you can. If you choose a weight gainer, make sure you take enough throughout the day so that you body can use it...sort of give it more than it needs. If you choose a meal-replacement, then substitute one of the meals for it, so that you won't miss a meal, which is always good. Also, milk is your new best-friend since it widely used in any protein supplement. Milk also has protein so the more the merrier, but using water is also an option. Also you'll pack on the weight more this way. Count calories and keep track if you can. Sometimes it's a bother to count all, but try nonetheless, if not that then count the grams of protein your taking.
Now I've given you everything I know about increasing your bench, all you have to do is follow the above routines and diets and you will be on you way to a bigger bench. This stuff isn't going to work unless you use it. If you can't get excited about increasing your bench, then you should go back to the gym and do what you were doing before you read this. If you are excited, then get dedicated and motivated and LET'S GET STARTED!!! Later on this year, I will do a "Hybrid Bench" program for those who are dedicated benchers and/or for those that want advanced stuff. THANX FOR READING AND GOOD LUCK!!!