Bench Press Do's and Dont's
Is the bench as important as you think it is?
Yes, it's as important as the squat, but when a conversation about working out starts, it is a matter of time till some ask the question.. how much can you bench? You give out a number under 225lbs and no mater how big you are, you are going to get an ohhhh. You give a number from 250 to 320 and now we are getting a phone number, 350lbs and up, you might get some action. Sure there are more accurate ways to measure raw power and strength but, no one cares about your power clean, squat, or truck pull distance, they want to how much you can bench. You are not going to build incredible upper body thickness without benching. Every great body builder from Ronnie Colman, to the new pro's such as Jonnie Jackson started out powerlifting.
Two quick rules of the game:
Get off your lazy ass and go to the gym! You are not going to get a "monster" bench sitting on your ass working out two times a week, reading this article over and over. You may be able to maintain a monster bench, but you are not going to get one with a one or two day a week workout schedule.
Take all those workout programs you have been collecting from other magazines "used by the pros" and throw them away! Unless you are a "juice crew all-star," you are not going to get freaky mass gains from those workouts. Freaky mass gains come from freaky supplements (made for horses) not from 20+ set bench press workouts every 3 days drug free!
Dos and Don'ts:
- Take a multi-vitamin.
- Take a zinc supplement.
- Take antioxidants to speed recovery time and decrease soreness.
- Sleep 7-9 hours day/especially the day before benching.
- Warm up with light cardio (8-12 minutes), back and leg work (15 to 20 reps- 3 sets).
- Bench Saturday-Tuesday
- Take 2-5 minutes between sets when benching heavy in sets of 8 or less reps.
- Visualize your bench workout before you get to the gym. You will be stronger mentally if your brain knows exactly what you are doing before you get to the gym.
- Keep a log (mental or on paper). If you cannot remember what you did last time you benched, there is no way you will gradually increase your benching strength taking wild guesses. Also pay attention to meals and rest before good bench workouts and try reproducing those days every time you bench. If you consistently have sorry bench days on Sunday, stop benching on Sunday!
- Keep it dynamic. A great cycle is to do only flat bench one workout. Next workout warm up with flat, then do incline dumbbell. 3 rd bench workout warm up with flat then do incline barbell. Then repeat the cycle.
(Light cardio and leg work before benching will give you a crazy upper body pump when benching)
(Wednesday-Friday are not good benching days if you work a M-F job)
- Don't bench after sleeping less than 5 hours the night before.
- Don't bench heavy (70%+ of max.) with low reps (1-7) the day after training back.
- Don't bench the day after training legs, triceps, delts, or back. (rested tri's, delts and back are extremely important to benching strength, also if you hit legs hard the day before you will not have any energy to bench).
- Don't do more than 3 sets of tri's and delts the same day you bench 70% or more of your max (you are going to just tear down more muscle increasing time needed for recovery).
- Don't bench more than 5 times a month.
- Don't do decline press (declines only work the bell of the chest; the most responsive part of the chest) instead do more incline barbell, and incline dumbbells.
- Don't have sex within 2 hours of benching. Stress is good when benching, memories of sex is not.
- Don't expect to have a good bench workout when you got a list of things to do when you leave the gym running threw your head (including having sex), you will not be focused.
- Don't waste your entire life thinking about what you can do to push more weight tomorrow. By time you go to the gym you will not feel like benching, and when you don't lift planed you will spend that much more time pissed you are not making gains.
- Don't worry about size, size will come. There are no raw natural benchers benching 400 pounds plus walking around with 12" arms and a bird chest!
Many think the only way to increase the bench is to spend more time on the bench. That's incorrect; the bench press is a measure of pushing power of the triceps, delts chest and forearms. The back (even though a pulling muscle) is especially important for anyone over 5'11" or those who use a wide grip, as it is the base of the bench press movement, stabilizing the body. I find that my deadlift and bench press weight go hand and hand. I never broke 300lbs on the bench press until I started deadlifting. Also when training to increase your 1-5 rep bench press, train delts, and tri's for size (8-15 reps). I find it more important to grow these muscles to increase benching power. Your triceps and shoulder power will increase naturally with benching strength. You are not going to be benching 400lbs and not be able to do push downs with the entire rack for reps!
There is no way to write an article with tips to increase 100% of the readers benching strength, but if you are at a plateau or have no idea where to start, several of these tips work great for the natural weightlifter male or female.Written by Charles "Chuck Diesel" Curry, founder GET DIESEL NUTRITION