Every guy wants a bigger bench press, even guys who don’t spend much time in the gym. For many people this is the ultimate measure of strength and is a great way to monitor your overall progress. It’s also just one of the best exercises in terms of how many muscles it works in the upper body and how much fun it is to perform. You’ve got to love an exercise that lets you lie down while you’re doing it…
But if you’re not performing your best on the bench press it may not be an issue with your pecs. Rather it might be down to your form. Follow these two tips below and you should find that bench pressing big weight becomes significantly easier which can help to rekindle your love for this classic compound movement.
Don’t Flail the Elbows
When you flail your elbows out, this puts more pressure on the shoulders and thereby takes a lot of the power out of your press. What’s more is that it can easily lead to injury in the shoulders and even makes you more likely to drop the weight.
So when you have your arms extended and the barbell over you, you want to twist your arms inwards thereby bringing the elbows in towards the body. At the same time, try to feel your elbows ‘tuck’ into your body so that they gain more support.
Now there should be a much more directly line through your arms to the ground, which means you’ll be pushing up more directly through the weight to power it off the rack and through each rep.
Tighten Your Grip
Old time strongmen used to train their grips religiously. For them, this was the number one way to build strength in every single movement and that’s something that is backed up by a ton of research.
To get a stronger grip, you will likely want to bring your arms in a little closer to where you normally would. This will also make it easier to keep your elbows tucked in slightly more. Avoid going in too close however, or you’ll essentially be performing a close-grip bench press. While this move is useful for training the triceps, it once again removes some of the pressure from your pecs which are the big movers in this exercise and the source of most of your power.
Then, just squeeze the bars a little more and concentrate on trying to crush it in your grip. As you do this, the entire movement should feel that much more stable, you should feel that much more connected to the bar and to cut a long story short, you’ll be able to pump out a lot more reps.
Obviously this also means that you can increase your bench press power by increasing your grip strength. Get to work training your grip and you should see it improve every single one of your other exercises that involve some kind of bar!