How you can Build up Your Bench Press

“How a lot do you bench?”

It may well be essentially the most incessantly requested query amongst hardcore “fitness center bros” and skilled fitness center veterans having a look to determine a pecking order, in addition to curious novices having a look to strike up a dialog. It’s additionally some of the standard (if inaccurate) tactics to inquire about somebody’s energy, health, and normal capacity within the fitness center.

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Some may imagine the perception of bench press-specific standing ridiculous, however you’ll be able to’t erase the truth of the placement. Additionally, some other folks simply wish to have a large bench press for themselves. You can even place your self to transport some spectacular numbers, and transfer the load safely.

Right here’s methods to fine-tune your bench press, optimize your methodology, and arrange a plan to start out pushing larger weights.

Bench Press Methodology Evaluation

A robust bench press is constructed round something: Balance. Right here’s a step by step solution to making a just right setting for a large elevate. All of it starts with a just right beginning place earlier than you even unrack the load.

Step 1 — To find Your Touch Issues

person in gym doing flat bench press
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If you’re situated at the flat bench, the bench press calls for 4 issues of touch. Your two toes positioned firmly at the flooring counts as one level. Your butt and higher again are two extra issues, as they’re pressed onerous towards the bench and stay in position all the way through the elevate.

Finally, your head will have to even be firmly towards the bench and keep put all over each and every repetition. Whilst you arrange, get your eyes at once below the bar earlier than taking the load out of the rack. This four-point setup is the basis for a just right high quality set. 

You will have spotted that your decrease again is no longer in touch with the bench, and that’s if truth be told the most important difference. Some lifters imagine that having an arch within the lumbar area (decrease again) when bench urgent is unhealthy on your backbone, when in truth, the arch will have to be there.

The bench press is regarded as a horizontal pushing workout (because of the placement of the burden relative in your frame), this means that the pressure attitude doesn’t line as much as create spinal loading the best way a status overhead press, squat, or deadlift would have an effect on your decrease again. The joint that bears essentially the most load all over a bench press is your shoulder joint, no longer your backbone, so arching your decrease again doesn’t disclose it to any important pressure.

If you’re in position, it’s time to get your fingers at the bar. 

Step 2 — Get a Grip

person in gym preparing to bench press
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Maximum barbells you’ll in finding at a normal fitness center can have knurling on both sides for grip, but additionally some glossy “rings” on even issues on each and every facet. In aggressive powerlifting, the ones rings constitute grip-width limitations a lifter isn’t allowed to exceed.

When you’re no longer a aggressive powerlifter, you’ll be able to use the rings as reference issues as to the place your fingers belong. Relying on what’s relaxed on your arm period, align the similar finger on each and every hand with the hoop on both sides. Many lifters will go for both their center or ring arms, however everybody’s most popular grip will probably be moderately other.

Simply take note of surroundings your fingers too shut at the side of your pinkies a long way inside the rings. This morphs the workout from a typical flat barbell bench press to a close-grip bench press which emphasizes your triceps. (1)

As soon as your fingers are in position, shut a powerful fist across the bar and also you’re able to boost. 

Step 3 — We Have Raise Off

The best way you are taking the bar out of the rack is extra essential — and extra technical — than meets the attention. Secure and environment friendly methodology calls for your shoulder blades to stay retracted (pulled in combination) at the bench. This is helping to arch your decrease again whilst raising your chest and ribcage.

The small “press” that may occur as a lifter takes the bar out of the rack can pull your shoulders out of place (with protraction, the other of retraction). Protracted shoulders will make your chest sink down and position extra tension at the shoulder joints because of this. That is tricky to proper by the point the load is on your fingers, making it difficult to re-adjust.

Making the trouble to boost your hips all over elevate off can assist with this, putting them go into reverse as quickly because the bar’s unracked and in place over your chest. Lifters with no spotter can use this technique to start the motion in a powerful place with out sacrificing shape.

Step 4 — Decrease and Press

person in gym lower barbell in bench press
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The bar must descend below regulate to make touch for your chest. Purpose for touching the bar in your mid- or decrease chest, and make that time of touch constant from rep to rep. The completed, locked out place must be a bit of extra in keeping with your higher chest or shoulder-level, that means the bar will commute on a moderately slanted trail.

All the time needless to say a real testomony of energy in a large elevate like this doesn’t come from how briefly you’ll be able to carry out the reps, it comes from how slowly and well-controlled you’ll be able to carry out them. Particularly at the eccentric (decreasing) segment, take the rate down a few notches. You’ll be able to even upload a pause with the bar at the chest to exert much more regulate over the load — simply remember to keep tight and no longer chill out below the load.

Make each and every particular person rep depend and also you’ll slap on energy and measurement. 

Bench Press Errors to Steer clear of

No one desires to turn out to be the following “YouTube fail” video, normally that includes other folks butchering the bench press motion or, worse, entering life-threatening eventualities because of a put out of your mind for protection. Make sure to’ve were given your bases coated by means of preventing those problems earlier than they begin. 

Lifting Your Hips

Except for giving your self a boost off (if wanted), your glutes must by no means go away the bench all over the workout. Lifting your hips received’t make you any more potent at the elevate. It’s merely a cheat tactic and a hallmark that the load is simply too heavy to boost correctly. That is the bench press identical of doing status biceps curls and leaning your higher frame again to get the load up.

Person in gym doing flat bench press
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Stay the motion fair in your skill. You’ll construct energy through the years while you practice just right shape.


Preventing shy of complete vary of movement — from complete lockout to the bar touching your chest — does not anything to correctly carrier your chest muscular tissues (the top movers of the bench press) or get right of entry to the energy the frame can put into the load. (2)

If you are feeling like you’ll be able to simplest carry out half of reps, likelihood is that the load is simply too heavy, your shoulders are too risky, or each. As a substitute, cut back the burden and observe staying tight thru complete vary of movement.

person in gym performing bench press
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If that also hurts your shoulders, it may well be because of weak spot within the motion itself or it will stem from a loss of higher again energy to stabilize and offer protection to the shoulder. Make certain your coaching plan comprises a number of upper-back pulling workouts like face pulls or opposite flyes.

The use of Collars at the Bar 

This isn’t essentially some extent about expanding your bench press, however it’s the most important factor any time you’re benching heavy. It would sound counterintuitive or arguable however, if you happen to’re lifting on my own, securing the load plates with collars is a doubtlessly high-risk maneuver.

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Commonplace sense would say you normally “must” protected the weights to stop them from shifting round. In actual fact that, if you happen to do fail a rep and organize to get pinned to the bench, it will spell risk if you happen to’re no longer sturdy sufficient to press the bar off your chest the entire long ago as much as the rack. You’ll be able to’t all the time depend on rolling it down over your hips and waist (which can also be extraordinarily painful and uncomfortable by itself).

When you’re an individual who lifts unsupervised at house, it’s easiest to go away the weights unclipped in order that, within the tournament of failure, you’ll be able to tip the weights off one finish of the bar and unfastened you from being stapled. It’s higher to crack a few tiles at the exercise room flooring than to crack a few ribs or your larynx.

3 Pointers for Extra Positive aspects

Getting the fundamentals down is a great first step, however taking issues to the following point comes to a little bit deeper considering, the place this workout is anxious. 

Leg Power 

Tuck your toes nearer in your butt to create a knee attitude within 90-degrees. This is very important to making the most of an important and lost sight of theory — the bench press is extra than simply an “higher frame” workout.

Person in gym doing barbell bench press
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If truth be told, your legs have a significant position to play in selling general bracing and tightness. As you press, take into consideration using your toes into the bottom onerous. The bar isn’t simply shifting away out of your chest, it’s shifting clear of the ground, so this cue will come in useful so as to add extra energy in your elevate by means of expanding general muscle recruitment. (3)

Tuck Your Elbows 

If you wish to offer protection to your shoulder joints, center of attention on bettering bench efficiency whilst the usage of a moderately narrower grip (versus a somewhat vast grip) and tucking your elbows all over the motion.

short-haired person in gym doing barbell bench press
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The nearer your higher arm is in your torso, the fewer susceptible place your shoulder joints will probably be put into. Your shoulders will right away really feel happier, extra strong, and extra tough by means of aiming your elbows extra ahead than sideways. 

Use a Thicker Bar or Thick Grip Attachments

The use of a bigger diameter bar with extra floor space unfold around the hands of your fingers normally feels extra relaxed when you get used to the original grip. It may cut back joint tension within the elbows and shoulders by means of expanding forearm recruitment and muscle stress for extra steadiness. (4)

The larger diameter disperses the burden and decreases the power transferred in your joints. When you don’t have get right of entry to to thick barbells, you’ll be able to use thick grip attachments like “Fats Gripz.” This straightforward pair of detachable handles can also be some of the helpful gear to have on your fitness center bag, since it may be used with any workout that calls for grabbing a barbell, dumbbell, or care for.

Construct a Higher Bench: Strategies That Paintings 

When you’ve been coaching within the fitness center for some time, the vintage 3 x 10 or 4 x 6 may no longer actually be doing the activity to get you previous your energy or measurement plateau. In case your lifting numbers aren’t budging, it’s price considering a bit of additional out of doors the field to search out tactics to stimulate your chest

One-and-a-Part Rep Bench Press

Particularly if a lifter has longer fingers, it may be a bother including muscle to the chest for a greater aesthetic. The somewhat lengthy vary of movement and big quantity of lockout area a lifter must transfer thru could make the triceps and shoulders take over a normal chest urgent trend. This leaves the chest much less fatigued over the process a suite.

Acting a “one and a half of rep” bench press comes to unracking the barbell and decreasing it the entire solution to chest point. Stay tight and press the load from chest point to midway up, and pause. Your higher fingers must be at more or less 90-degrees. Decrease the load over again to chest point, after which press the entire approach as much as the highest — that complete sequence counts as one unmarried repetition.

This high-tension methodology will make your chest paintings greater than your triceps and shoulders for the reason that latter two muscle teams aren’t considerably concerned within the bottom-half of the motion.

Your chest is within the most powerful biomechanical place, and is essentially the most concerned, thru this segment of the workout, and the one-and-a-half rep methodology takes benefit of that. 3 to 4 units of 4 to 6 reps can be splendid right here, remembering that each and every “one and a half of” equals one rep. 

Cluster Units

Cluster units deserve extra point out than they steadily get with regards to expanding your energy and measurement. Working out how the frame works from a physiological point can assist create extra appreciation for cluster coaching and its import.

In terms of quick bouts of explosive energy like a 100-meter sprint, a primary down in soccer, or a heavy, low-rep set of weight coaching, the frame depends on adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as its number one supply of power to make muscular tissues paintings onerous.

The ATP retail outlets go away the frame after 10 to fifteen seconds and the principle muscular tissues in use start to close down and create lactic acid as a byproduct. It normally takes one to 2 mins to sufficiently refill those retail outlets of ATP within the affected muscular tissues.

Figuring out that, you’ll be able to profit from this replenishment segment whilst nonetheless lifting heavy weights. A suite of 3 reps can also be prolonged to 4 and even 5 overall reps if quick breaks are taken between each and every particular person repetition.

This mini-rest will partly refill the retail outlets of ATP to be had within the frame. It will beef up your energy through the years and in addition disclose you to a better cumulative quantity of heavy reps, which may end up in extra muscle enlargement.  Listed below are one of the vital most efficient tactics to make use of clusters. 

Unmarried-Rep Clusters

Put 90-95% of your one-repetition max at the bar. This weight is most often a two-rep max, however you’re about to do 4 reps with it. Carry out one repetition, and rack the load for 10 to fifteen seconds. Then take the load off the rack and carry out some other earlier than re-racking it. Repeat till you’ve carried out 4 reps. Leisure a minimum of two mins and carry out a complete of 2 to 3 complete units.

Resetting between unmarried reps additionally lets you make sure that proper methodology on each and every separate effort. 

Multi-Rep Clusters

Put your five-repetition max at the bar. Carry out 4 reps earlier than racking the load and resting for 10 seconds. Take the bar off the rack and carry out two extra reps. You’ve simply carried out six reps along with your five-rep max. Whole 3 to 5 complete units.

This can be a just right solution to building up time spent below stress (TUT), which advantages muscle enlargement, whilst running with moderately lighter-than-max rather a lot, which received’t have an effect on restoration up to very heavy lifting. (5

Prime-Rep Clusters, aka Ladders, for Dimension

A lot of heavy lifting can do a bunch at the apprehensive gadget, particularly if heavy lifts are hired at the common. A just right alternate of tempo (that doubles as a good way to damage a measurement plateau) is to make use of high-rep strategies with the similar way.

Ladder units are simply the price ticket. Use your 10 to 12-rep max weight. Carry out a mini-set of 2 reps, then 3 reps, then 5 reps, and after all 10 reps with 10-second breaks between each and every mini-set.

This creates 20 reps of muscle-building stimulus with a weight that “must have” simplest allowed 10 to twelve reps. One or two units can also be masses. It’s a mental killer up to this can be a muscular killer, all whilst retaining the apprehensive gadget in test because of the upper rep vary and somewhat lighter weight.  

Cross Construct a Larger Bench

The bench press is arguably the preferred elevate within the fitness center. With that status, it must be essentially the most correctly done, however that’s no longer all the time the case. With this data now in hand, you’ll be set aside within the fitness center and can have discovered a solution to teach sensible whilst additionally coaching onerous. Quickly your efficiency will probably be turning heads and also you’ll have a reliably spectacular solution subsequent time you’re requested “how a lot do you bench?”


  1. Saeterbakken, A. H., Stien, N., Pedersen, H., Solstad, T. E. J., Cumming, Ok. T., & Andersen, V. (2021). The Impact of Grip Width on Muscle Power and Electromyographic Process in Bench Press amongst Newbie- and Resistance-Skilled Males. World magazine of environmental analysis and public well being18(12), 6444.
  2. Pinto, R. S., Gomes, N., Radaelli, R., Botton, C. E., Brown, L. E., & Bottaro, M. (2012). Impact of vary of movement on muscle energy and thickness. Magazine of energy and conditioning analysis26(8), 2140–2145.
  3. Gontijo, L. B., Pereira, P. D., Neves, C. D., Santos, A. P., Machado, D.deC., & Bastos, V. H. (2012). Analysis of energy and irradiated motion trend due to trunk motions of the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. Rehabilitation analysis and observe2012, 281937.
  4. Krings, B. M., Shepherd, B. D., Swain, J. C., Turner, A. J., Chander, H., Waldman, H. S., McAllister, M. J., Knight, A. C., & Smith, J. W. (2021). Have an effect on of Fats Grip Attachments on Muscular Power and Neuromuscular Activation All over Resistance Workout. Magazine of energy and conditioning analysis35(Suppl 1), S152–S157.
  5. Burd, N. A., Andrews, R. J., West, D. W., Little, J. P., Cochran, A. J., Hector, A. J., Cashaback, J. G., Gibala, M. J., Potvin, J. R., Baker, S. Ok., & Phillips, S. M. (2012). Muscle time below stress all over resistance workout stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional artificial responses in males. The Magazine of body structure590(2), 351–362.

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