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Bench press strategy

Updated on April 9, 2013

The training session

Many people try and improve their bench press by various methods such as increase the reps, decrease the rest time between the reps or increase the weight and lower the reps.

Most people will reach a plateau point where no matter what training you do you can't seem to increase your max. This can be quite discouraging for people who have naturally flat chests and would like to build on it. The chest is one of the most noticeable part of the body when working out. A lot of people overwork their arms, but this takes years to be noticeable under a sweater or a long sleeve shirt. Working on the chest will show faster more noticeable results without you having to take your shirt off to prove it. A muscly chest can also help with your general posture and how you carry yourself, making you look more confident.

The common mistakes

  • Arching of the back on order to get an extra push - This is extremely dangerous and can cause number of back issues which can cause complications in the future.
  • Starting on a heavy weight close to your max without a proper warm up - this again can cause injuries and excessive muscle strain.
  • Your spotter doing too much work - you are pushing the weights NOT the spotter, if its too heavy, drop the weights.
  • Using fixed machines weights - since your arms don't have to control balance this actually leads to very imbalanced left/right strength. This will be very noticeable when you start doing the normal bench press.
  • Pushing max every session - this will drain you out or risk injury. The max is only for measurement purposes, it doesn't need to be part of the training session.
  • Training too often - plenty of rest in needed for the repair of the muscle fibers from the fatigue.

The triangle reps

I recommend this method because I have seen rapid improvement from many different people form different ethnic backgrounds and body types.

Warm up with a weight which you can do a comfortable 10-15 reps with. 3-4 mins rest. Next do 10 reps with a heavier weight. The weight should be incremented by steps of 10kg and the 10 x reps should be repeated until only around 4-5 reps can be done (usually around 5 or 6 sets). At this point we have reached muscle fatigue. To further this fatigue and ensure a complete workout, this should be repeated back down to your warm up weight. You will find that you may only be able to pump out around 4-5 reps this time around, this shows complete muscle fatigue.

This session only needs to be done twice a week at the most. You'll find that even after the first month you'll be able to get more reps out of the heavier weight (triangle top). Then it's time to increase the weight, thus your max has increased.

Also make sure that you equally work your triceps since this is the muscle group that work with the chest. Triceps strength will improve chest strength.

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