Some direct and indirect suggestions for a bigger bench…

Some direct and indirect suggestions for a bigger bench…

Nov 30, 2014

Well I haven’t written for a long time. I have been busy with a hopefully creating a successful venture and dealing with life including a personal scare for my own health. However in the midst of all the fore mentioned I have still been training. I am learning that it is CRITICAL to listen to your body and not ignore aches, pains or irregularities.

Well since it has been awhile so this is an article about some tips or beliefs I have about benching. Validation is something that is mandatory to some people because they believe gear benches have no raw strength,lol. That is true about some but not all. Nothing in life is absolute.

 

My best lifts raw bench is 440(90kg) and gear 594 (93 kg)class.

Let me preface this saying I guarantee you everything in this article will not work. Huh? What? Yes I am a believer that what works for one, no matter how great they are, will not necessarily work for you. However somethings will work. Why? There are many variables in each’s life that differ with others. Lifestyle, rest, body type, job, nutrition, muscle fiber type, and the list goes on. Example if some routines requires to be successful by benching three times a week and Joe, who succeeds works from home while Bill lays blacktop 10 hours a day ,well chances are Bill is going to fail or over train quickly.

So I will not just sit here and tell you how hard to squeeze the bar or how many days a week you should bench but other aspects that DO impact your bench to increase.

I am posting a recent video of the some movements that I do which I credit to my bench being strong. These should be a staple yet be rotated to avoid overtraining.

 

 

First

Rest. Regardless if you a casual lifter or a veteran competitor rest IS the MOST important aspect. Either rest the night before or in between workouts there is no doubt you will know when you don’t have a sufficient amount. I don’t care what routine you do but if you neglect your body you WILL fail.

When training factor rest the night before AND between workouts. If you bench on a Tuesday DO NOT do a heavy leg work out or some upper body part on Monday. You may say “That is the stupidest advice.” Really? I know guys in the gym who do this and then switch it up. Wala! Workouts are better within 2 weeks. If you are drug free I suggest giving no more than 72 hours rest between bench and the previous upper body workout. Night before? You know what you need so do it!

Second

Supplements. You need to be properly fueled. The biggest thing that will hold you back from Gains is overtraining. Rest and then supplements (nutrition) will combat this. You do both adequately and you will feel better mentally and physically. I’m going into a list of sups but make sure your WHOLE body is accounted for: muscles, joints and the CNS. I take supplements not just for my muscles but for my CNS. I believe some people overlook the CNS and I was one of them. I felt if I am taking protein, creatine, glucosamine and vitamins then why I am not helping out my adrenal glands? I researched receptors being closed which limits the amount of caffeine your body will accept. Some believe (lifting sites) this is hogwash. I went to sites that weren’t affiliated with any form of lifting. I went and researched .org health sites and a womentowomen.com site among others. I felt the information was researched by people who actually knew what they were talking about.

Third

Shoulder work. I know it is hard to believe but I am going into the actual lifting now. I absolutely believe in this and MOST importantly behind the neck presses. The posterior delt is HUGE in stabilization for big bench. However pay attention to your total workload and volume for pressing movements. If you notice your bench is going down look at what else you are doing for shoulders and tris. If you are benching and inclining one day then heavy shoulder presses another followed by heavy dips or close grip bench on a third day then you have a problem. If you are training once every 7 days and 3 of those days are heavy press days then you can see where your tris and tie ins are overworked. I am not saying stop doing tris or shoulders just go with heavy laterals (shoulders) or head bangers (tris) instead. What is this doing? You now have gone from 3 workouts a week from a pressing movement to 2. I cycle my pressing movements and call it “Sponge Training” in the off season.

Fourth

Bench with your lats. Use the lats as a lever. I use to bench different raw and using gear. Raw my elbows were out and shirt they were in. My offseason my shoulders were sorer then usual and finally I was resolved it by trial and error. I looked over other big benchers and talked to some. I learned to pick one way and stick to it. I decided lowering the bar with my lats (elbows tucking in on the descent) this way the weight was being supported downwards by the lats. Your back is bigger than your arm and shoulder muscles together so why not use your back to take the stress off of them? When the bar touches your chest explode up with slowly kicking your elbows out and start using the pressing muscles. Lats do the work down and the pressing muscles on the ascent. You actually save some energy and strain on the tris, shoulders, and chest this approach. The bar also will be touching lower on your chest, varying for different body types. Usually the nipples and lower are a good landing spot. For me it is my sternum.

Fifth

Mechanics. Learn your body type. Use your body to your advantage. I wouldn’t follow a flat back bencher’s bar path travel nor should you if you arch. I arch so my technique is different then a non archer.I also arch to incorporate more leg drive into the movement. The goal is to bench more within the rules and you don’t get brownie points by doing things tougher. If you can’t because of flexibility issues or just not your preference that is fine BUT regardless pinch your blades towards each other when unracking. By the way arching doesn’t mean ass off the bench a mile. I compete and my lifts all have to have my ass down otherwise they won’t pass. If you don’t compete then it coming up slightly is not a big deal HOWEVER if it does come way up and that’s your style you are opening the door up for injury.

Another tip roll your shoulders in towards your butt. No I am not saying arching. Lay on the bench then pull your shoulders up then push them towards your legs. I try to get as much of my upper rear delts/traps onto the bench. This has nothing to do with your lower back and arching.

If you are weak at locking out then don’t go close grip. If you are weak off the chest don’t go wide.

I know some are thinking where’s the percentages and the exact movements? That is another article which I have already written but EVERYONE writes that stuff and neglect the other keys. You are only as strong as the weakest link” applies here too. If your sleep sucks, your nutrition is horrid, you don’t lift to help your body by going against its mechanics then guess what? The rest can’t prosper either. If you buy an apple that is 10% rotten and don’t cut that part out then the rest will rot quickly. Cut it out and the rest of the apple will be fine. Same thinking in benching if you are neglecting one badly, correct it and it will carry over to the others.

Focus First.

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