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Ways To Increase Bench Press Strength

Updated on January 22, 2015

Finding Ways To Increase Bench Press Strength

Many weight trainers are looking for ways to increase bench press strength. This may be because even though most lifters can use more weight on major exercises such as the squat or deadlift, most people will still want to know how much they can bench. The bench press is one the most enjoyable weight training exercises to do and will give you a strong pumped feeling in your chest quickly. Of course, building more bench press strength will also lead to more muscular pecs. This will help give you a complete physique and give you a powerful look.

If you train on the bench press the right way, you can increase your strength on the exercise rather quickly at first. These initial gains will slow down over time, but you can constantly make small increases by using certain techniques. If you follow the tips and guidelines written about in this article, an increase in bench pressing strength should come quickly.

Learning Proper Bench Press Form

One of the best ways to increase bench press strength is to learn proper form on the exercise. If you set your body up the right way on the bench, you can maximize the amount of weight you can press and won't be as likely to get hurt from using improper form.

The 2 main things to avoid while bench pressing are raising your hips up to shorten the distance you have to lift the weight and 'dropping' the weight on yourself to get it to bounce off the chest. These are the most common ways that lifters cheat on the bench press. You are shortchanging yourself if you raise your body up so high that you don't get even close to perform a 'real' full rep when you bench. Dropping heavy weights on your chest to get a bounce can be extremely dangerous for obvious reasons.

To bench press properly, you lie on the bench and keep a natural arch in your lower back. You then contract your upper back muscles by pulling your shoulder blades inward. This will actually decrease the distance you have to lift the weight by a few inches without having to cheat. Doing this will 'pop' your pecs out so that you actually target the chest muscles better when you bench press. Once you're in the proper position, lower the weight in a controlled fashion and try to explode it upwards when it touches your chest.

Best Bench Press Workouts

When you're looking for ways to increase bench press strength, you need to set up your workout routine the right way. The key to getting stronger on the bench press is to train with high intensity when you do the exercise and give yourself enough recovery time so that your benching strength increases regularly. However, even if you do these things you're still likely to hit a plateau at some point.

To avoid hitting a plateau you need to make changes in your bench press routine regularly. This means switching up the exercises you do, the order you do them in, how many sets you do, and the rep ranges you follow during your bench workouts.

While you'll probably want to keep flat bench presses and incline presses in your routine all of the time, you should switch some of the other exercises you do. Instead of always doing dumbbell bench presses on a bench, do them on a workout ball every now and then. If your upper pecs aren't as developed as your lower pecs, try starting your bench workouts with inclines instead of flat benches. Try doing weighted dips instead of decline presses every other workout. Your body won't get used to always doing the same thing and you should break through your plateau.

Another one of the best ways to increase bench press strength is to regularly switch the amount of reps you do per set. You can try a bench press routine where you use lighter weights for higher reps during one workout, medium weights and reps for the next workout, and heavy weights for low reps during the last workout. Then you repeat the cycle. This way your body won't get too used to always lifting the same weights for the same amount of reps.

Best Techniques To Increase Bench Press Strength

When you want to find ways to increase bench press strength, there are some techniques that can help you succeed. These include forced reps, negative only reps, and partial reps that target your weakest point of a bench press rep.

Forced reps are basically repetitions done with the assistance of a spotter when you get to failure on a bench press set. When you get to that point where you can't possibly do another rep, you have a spotter help you get the weight up. Usually just have their fingers applying light upward pressure will help you get one more rep. If you want to do another one they will likely have to assist you a bit more. You really shouldn't do more than a couple of forced reps because it will get to the point where your spotter is working as hard as you are to get the weight up.

Negative reps are repetitions where you slowly lower a weight that's too heavy for you to press to your chest. Once the weight touches you chest, spotters (one on each side of the bar) lift it up for you. This is a great way to increase bench press strength because it gets your body used to heavier weights and you get stronger on the negative, or lowering, part of a bench press rep. This is best used if you're a competitive powerlifter since it requires 2 spotters to assist you.

Many lifters may find that they have a weakness during a bench press rep. It's usually that they have trouble getting the weight off of their chests or locking out at the top. One of the best ways to increase bench press max strength is to identify your weakest point on a bench press rep and do sets of partial reps that target your weakness. Put a bench in a squat rack and set up stoppers that will only allow you to do the first few inches of a rep if you have problems getting the weight off of your chest or the last few inches if you have problems locking out. Once you make your weakest point on a bench press rep stronger, you should be able to lift more weight for full reps.

Building more thickness through the upper back will make your whole body thicker and you will have less distance to lower and press the weight. Make back training a priority - you may even want to train it with chest, alternating between both muscle groups. The pump in the upper back muscles should allow you the ability to bench more weight.

Sample Bench Press Workout

Bench Press
8 - 10
Incline Press
8 - 10
Dumbbell Bench or Incline
10 - 12
12 - 15
15 - 20
This is an example of a basic bench workout. You can experiment to see what works best for you.

Patience and Consistency

Most of us won't get a huge bench press overnight. It takes hard work and time. You have to be patient and consistent with your workouts. Trying to go too heavy or taking the PED route isn't the way to go. Keep at it and big gains will come.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi there! I was noticing that there haven't been any blgoposts since November and the same for the FB group. Is this page still active?! I am of Masters age for the 40-45/9 groups and was hoping to find some support out here. Thanks! ~j

    • chasemillis profile image


      7 years ago

      All my hardcore workout friends (max around 320) say that the best combination of repition/sets is 4 sets of 5. They said that some scientists did a ton of tests on it and they don't know why it's like that but it is. It's the most effective way

    • profile image

      young buck 

      8 years ago

      im 15 and benched 185 three monthes ago and now i max out at 235

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is useful information, i think a lot of people don't pay enough attention to proper form either, so good call!

    • David 470 profile image

      David 470 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      i have been stuck at about 190 something max, mostly because im not always consistent with sleep and eating. The thing is i can only do flat bench, i don't have an incline.

    • profile image

      Josh Norris 

      8 years ago

      This Workout Information sounds LEGIT and helped me a lot.. Thanks :)


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