If you frequently go to a gym, you’ve probably had at least one encounter when people ask you how much you can bench.
The bench press is undeniably one of the most loved exercises. One can even argue that it’s the king amongst all body pressing exercises.
That’s how popular and important bench press is to the fitness niche.
In fact, many guys who regularly visit the gym flock to the bench press like a moth drawn to a flame in an effort to achieve beach-worthy pecs.
But despite all these, many are still struggling to achieve the dream pecs that they fervently wish to have.
And so, here are five ways to increase your bench press in your next gym session.
Start with a proper warm-up
The days of warming up using the treadmill are long over.
Today, we welcome the days of warming up through movements that are highly specific to whatever exercise you’re doing.
So for your bench press, instead of strengthening your cardio by going for a casual jog, go directly to the weights room and start your warm up using the bench press.
In doing so, you can focus on warming up the certain muscles needed to work for your training and you can prepare your body for the movement and weight you’ll be using later on.
2. Create a pre-lift routine
One of the keys to increasing your bench press is to create a routine and stick to it for every bench pressing session.
Instill your routine in your mind and body so that even if the equipment, setting, and other elements change, there’s still one constant thing about you and that is your routine.
Position your wrists and elbows relative to the bar so your body can be prepared for the lift.
3. Assume a safe position using the bar
When you’re on the bench, it’s normal for you to ease up into your most comfortable position.
However, this is not actually the most ideal position.
Instead, you should use the bar to lift yourself up from the bench.
As your body settles to the bench again, try rolling your shoulder blades inward and downward to the direction of your hips.
By positioning yourself this way, your back can naturally arch, making lifting more stable.
It also conditions your body so it won’t be easy to overlift.
Putting most of the arch in your upper body instead of the lower part is best to help protect your spine.
4. Get to the right mindset by visualizing
Just like any other types of exercise, in the bench press, the power of your mind can make a huge difference.
Visualizing yourself completing your lift can enhance your overall performance in strength training.
If your mental state is positive, then your physical well-being also improves.
In fact, according to research, negative imagery and thoughts can deteriorate your performance while positive ones can improve your performance.
So, next time you perform a bench pressing exercise, take some time to picture yourself successfully completing the lift.
5. Strengthen your weaker muscles
In the bench press, your chest is the main body part that is moving, so when lifting, you should concentrate on the feel of your pecs throughout the exercise.
That said, there are also other muscles working apart from your chest and these are your shoulders and triceps, which are all essential in the lift.
Since they are smaller muscles compared to your chest, there will be some points where your shoulders and triceps can no longer keep up with your chest.
On those times, you have to practice building up the strength of your smaller muscles so they can have more ability to contribute to the bench press. You can improve the strength of these muscles using overhead press and close grip bench press.