3 Best Tips to Improve Your Bench Press in a Week
Unless you have the luxury of a home gym or being able to go during off-peak times, you’ve got to fight to get your time on the bench. And that means you need to make your time count.
Regardless of where you train, the bench press is going to be one of the core exercises in your weekly routine, and it’s one of those exercises where just a small tweak in your form makes a huge difference to your results.
Here are 3 tips you can implement today to improve your bench press, up your weight, and see better results in just a week.
How to Improve Your Bench Press: Warm Up Properly
How many guys do you see walk in the gym, see the bench is free, and just jump on it? How often has that guy been you? It’s one thing grabbing the bench and warming up with a low weight set and doing some shoulder circles, but no warmup? That’s how you get injured.
It’s time to start warming up properly. When your muscles are warm and elastic – but not tired – they’ll be in their best form to help you lift more weight with good form. If you drive to the gym, start with a light jog on the treadmill and finish with a sprint to get your heart rate up.
Then work in some straight armband pulls, some windmills to stretch out your chest and shoulders, and then jump onto the bench and start with a warmup. There’s no shame in starting with an empty bar or with light weights – check your ego, you’ll get to lift heavier for warming up, anyway.
How to Improve Your Bench Press: Perfect Your Set Up
Your set up literally sets you up for success or failure. It’s the difference between your bench feeling amazing and feeling “off” and difficult. Here’s a quick rundown of how to set up for bench press properly:
- Slide under the bar until your eyes are right under the bar
- Walk your feet back so they’re behind your knees and flat and supportive on the floor (if you’re short, your toes are okay too)
- Create a slight arch in your spine and tuck your shoulder blades under you, so your ribs are pointing up slightly – this raises the point of contact for the bar and puts you in a better position to use your chest in the movement
- Ensure you have four points of contact – your head, your upper back/shoulder blades, your butt, and your feet on the ground
- Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders, where is most comfortable for you
If you’re not sure if you’re doing it correctly, this is a great video to watch.
How to Improve Your Bench Press: Focus on Your Form
Once you’re in position, tense your core and lift the rack from the bench and hold it straight up over your chest. Take a deep breath, hold it, lower the bar slowly down to meet your chest and then drive back up, using your lower body for support and exhale your breath.
Set up and practice this form again and again. When it starts to feel natural, use the mind-muscle connection to focus on each major muscle you want to engage in the exercise. Focus on your pectorals first, then your deltoids (especially the rear), and even your back.
Think about your arms last, as it’s all too easy to focus on your triceps and you’ll be back to square one – using nothing but them to try and move heavyweight. That’s not what we’re looking for.
It can be tempting to skip over the basics, especially if you’ve been lifting for a year or so. But if you’re struggling to up your max weight, it’s well worth going back to basics and ensuring you’re nailing your form. If you’re looking to support your training seriously, we’ve got the products that will help you take leaps and bounds forward with your physique. Click here to find out more.