What if there’s one technique that you can apply right now in your chest routine and guarantee a better lift (increase bench press) and better chest activation (therefore bigger pecs)? That is what I talked about here in this video:
9 Part Guide to Bigger CHEST (if clicking doesn't work- right click and hit "Save link As")
You see, the thing about benching better is that the grunt of the work should come from your pecs (since its the strongest muscle group in the bench – not your front delts, not your TRIs, certainly not your NECK!!) – that’s alright – that’s what we want after all..right? We want bigger chest, we want to activate it THE MOST!! So with that, to be able to activate the most out of your pectorals, you need to PUSH with it while retracting your shoulders backward (scapular retraction) and UN-SHRUG your traps, and stick your neck into the bench (not lifting it when you are straining to make a rep!).
Make it like these lifters – there’s a reason why powerlifters bench the way they do, cause it WORKS!!! (and see that their hips are the one elevated when they strain and NOT THEIR HEAD):
Alright,, all that sounds simple! Let’s do it!!
And then you realize that its NOT as easy as it sounds!! So what to do now? Here’s where this tip comes into play:
-DON’T PUSH THE BAR AWAY –
PUSH YOUR BODY AWAY FROM THE BAR INSTEAD!!!!
If you can see, its all in the visualization. What you visualize your body do is what it does and makes necessary changes to accommodate what you believe! Most of the time when we bench and we just picture ourselves pushing some stupid bar,, you will just end up bending your shoulders in and roll them internally as you squeeze in the rep! This undoubtedly remove the tension from the chest and into your shoulders..
This is the reason why you see tons of gym rats benching 300s and complain that they are not getting enough chest development!
And if you’re one of these guys and you haven’t done this before, then you’re in luck! Using this technique it will be easier for you to make your chest lead the way by making you body automatically do (almost – makes it easier you still need conscious effort off course!) the following as discussed above:
- PUSH with it while retracting your shoulders backward
- UN-SHRUG your traps, and stick your neck into the bench
- Don’t raise your neck as your strain on the rep..instead raise your butt instead (refer to the powerlifter photos)
You see…just doing all those would be quite confusing and chances are you would’t be able to do them correctly (like 99% of gym rats!!) – I know! I have been there! But try it with the golden BENCHING TIP in mind and try to push your body away from the bar instead of pushing the bar…you will be surprised of the chest stimulation and the stability that your will give your bench press! Not to mention the amount of pec muscle mass that you will grow as you learn to apply this in all your chest pressing moves!
- You will learn to apply this to all your other chest moves
- You will INCREASE the involvement of your chest with your chest exercises (sounds about right…right?)
- You will DECREASE the involvement of your shoulders with your chest exercises
- Bigger chest
- stronger chest
- bigger bench
Those are the SIDE effects……YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!
BIGGER BENCH – note, you will definitely improve the mechanics of your bench press with these techniques. So that must translate in benching more, off course! But there are also instances when you will actually have to lower the weight!
How could that be? Is this a F#ckin SCAM!!???
Relax! Ok you see; for some people who have been benching poorly, and incorrectly, using all the wrong muscle groups (besides chest) predominantly when they bench – most of these people (there’s a 90% chance I am talking to one right now – like MYSELF back in the days!) have overdeveloped these muscle groups and have since adapted to bench higher using the wrong form. It is therefore a step for them to reduce the weight when doing the bench correctly for the first time – but since this is the correct form, they will be assured of the 6 side effects nonetheless! They will now have MORE ROOM for BIGGER BENCH should they choose to prioritize it!
But doing this doesn’t really require a lot of weight to get bigger chest!
Lets say you were bench pressing 200s before, using 30% effort from the chest – that’s all in all 60 pounds of work for the chest.
Now let’s say you learned to involve more chest into bench but you are not used to it so you dropped your intensity to 150 pounds – that’s 70% effort for your chest, so that’s 105 pounds of work for your chest!
So you dropped the weight, but now you have just taught your pecs to do more work, and guess what…I don’t care about the poundage that you’re using (especially if you are actually training for muscle size and not for powerlifting meets!) as long as you’re kicking the ass of those chest muscle down to the last fiber, your will – probably for the first time – experience unbelievable chest development………and soreness!
Additional tips for increasing your bench (more of a powerlifting approach – note: I suck at bench power, alright?):
- If you are used to a bodybuilding style type of reps where you really instinctively lower the weight slowly (especially for bench where there is fear of weight crushing yourself.ouch!) then that’s actually a BAD technique if you are POWERLIFTING! You need to make sure that you are lessening the tension and fatigue caused by the eccentrics upon your chest, you might need to get used to lowering the weights to your chest in a controlled manner yet not enough to fatigue it (like what you would do when you’re repping out for muscle micro tears!) – this will take some practice. This may be the reason why I suck at power benching! Since I am so paranoid of quick eccentrics I fatigue my chest so much in the lowering phase itself – which is GREAT for hypertrophy but NOT for power. Its okay off course if you’re not really training for strength – but who doesn’t want to learn to bench more? eh?
- LEARN how to plant your foot firmly to the ground! This is important when you are trying to get more force by forcing yourself into the bench because this is done by raising your butt from the bench slightly (or not so “slightly” for some lifters). Doing so also makes your back help in stabilizing the lift – which what most powerlifters would say: “use your BACK when unracking the bar”.
- Do some researches, about powerlifting in general. I recommend the book, CRITICAL BENCH too for your bench pressing needs as the author is a well known strength trainer.
- Practice SCAPULAR RETRACTION – we have discussed that before– read that article!
- Build your back! It’s important in keeping the back fixed in order to bench more!
I hope that helps! I hope you like the video, I hope this article and the video helps! Leave a thumbs up and subscribe for more weekly videos. So how do you do your bench presses? Do you arch your back when you bench? Let me know down the comments below (or comment on the video directly). And check out Real Talk Muscle – our book below if you want a more complete guide on how to build muscle and learn how to create your own training regimen and have the correct mindset for muscle gains! Eat your eggs and BENCH – A-Lifters!!