Want to learn how to bench press more weight? Read on…
So you want to improve your bench press? Well, just so you know, it won’t magically happen by just adding more weight to the bar. My biggest bench press gains have come from taking a step back from max effort work, and focusing instead on speed work. I stopped worrying about the weight, and started worrying about how fast I could move the bar.
In a six week span I took my close grip bench press from 275 X 3 to 315 X 3 EASY, with visual proof here:
Making 295 look like a warm-up…
315 X 3 with a rep or two in the tank…
During this six week stretch, I didn’t put more than 235lbs on the bar. For, instead of constantly lift heavier weights, I started training with submaximal weights for very low reps but high volume. It worked, and here’s why.
If you don’t learn how to apply maximum force to the bar you’ll never reach your potential. How often do you see somebody warming up with the bar just going through the motions? I see this happen all the time and it’s a huge mistake. I don’t care if your bench-pressing 45 lbs, 135, 185 or 225, I want you to move that bar like your bench-pressing 500 lbs. The more force production you have, the more bench-pressing power you will have!
But how do you constantly increase your force production without benching all the time? This is where the exercises below factor in.
Dynamic Speed Bench
Setup for your normal bench press, focusing all along on moving the bar as fast as humanely possible. Of course, just because you’re moving the weight fast doesn’t mean you should crash the bar against your chest. Move the bar as fast as possible with proper technique. If your technique changes, slow things down and do it right. Again, no other exercise will have a bigger impact on your max bench press, so take it slowly, learn the form, and you’ll reap all of the benefits speed benching offers.
Intensity: 60-85% of your 1RM
Explosive push-ups are an excellent way to improve bench-pressing power because they help improve force production in all of your pressing muscles, including your core. Plyo push-ups need to be done explosively, so if you’ve yet to master regular push-ups, these will be too advanced for you.
To ensure maximum power production on every rep when doing this exercise, it’s best to use a low rep range. There are many different variations of this exercise, but start with the variation below before moving onto hand clap or chest slap push-ups.
Medicine Ball Chest Throws
Medicine ball throws are one of my favorite ways to improve bench pressing power because there’s no eccentric phase to the exercise. The first benefit is recovery (read: your chest won’t get sore doing chest throws). The second is that bench pressing and plyo push-ups require a lot more deceleration than a medicine ball chest throw. For this reason, you will be able to apply more force to the ball then you would the bar or floor.
Improving bench press power requires a plan. Don’t expect to bench press once or twice a weak with random weights and experience progress. If you’re training without a plan, you are training to fail. Don’t hesitate to step away from maxing out for a while, focus on these 3 exercises for six weeks, and return to discover improved bench-pressing power!
As always, drop a comment below or shoot me an email at Joe@MeglioPerformance.com. I look forward to hearing from you soon!