What’s more important when you’re performing the bench press? Some people are focussed on building muscle and size but in reality, what you should really be interested in is building muscle. Forget impressing other gym goers with how much you can lift… how about making things harder for yourself so that you actually get benefits, get stronger and get bigger?
And what’s more, how about focusing on not injuring yourself?
In this article we’ll look at how to do bench press right so that you get maximum benefits and so that you avoid injuries or accidents.
Tip #1 – Avoiding Should Pain
It’s all too common for bench pressing to lead to shoulder pain which is a big problem. If you get a bad shoulder, this will leave you out of the game for weeks if not months, during which time your chest will undoubtedly atrophy. So how do you make sure that you give your pecs the workout and not your shoulders?
The secret is to tense your traps which will engage them and help to stabilize the bar and thereby prevent the bar from wobbling around and potentially causing a shoulder injury.
Tip #2 – Putting Back the Weight
Here’s something that people rarely think about when performing the bench press: how they’re going to put it back on the rack.
Too often, people will wait until they are almost completely fatigued then struggle with the weight, pushing it up and backwards onto the rack. This means you’re now compromising your technique by pushing backwards at a point when your shoulders are at their most fatigued.
What you should be doing instead, is to straighten the arms and then let them rock backwards once fully extended. This way, you’ve completed your last set with good form rather than risking injury. Does it look less impressive to finish one set earlier? Sure. Does it matter? Nope!
Tip #3 – Doing More Sets
If you’re confident on the bench press, then you should be doing more than 3 sets. Ideally you should aim for 5 or 6 which will really stimulate it into growth.
And you know what? A great chest workout can consist of solely bench pressing. If you do 10 x 10 for instance, you’ll get an excellent workout with no need to start getting inventive with wide grips or narrow grips etc.
Of course for the big bodybuilders out there who are looking to add detail and definition for their chest, working the upper and lower heads individually makes a lot of sense. But if you’re starting out and your main aim is just to get a big chest? Then keep it simple stupid! Doing a whole bunch of bench presses is perfectly adequate and a great compound way to build some real size and power.
Oh and again, you might find that you start having to use a little less weight towards the end. But again, focus on your goals – not on how you look in the short term!