Chances are you have performed a bench press during your workout with a barbell or dumbbells. It may not be a difficult movement but whether you’re bench-pressing with dumbbells or barbells the movement should be the same. Getting over that wall in weight may seem daunting but there are easy ways to conquer it. Here’s how to improve your bench press.
Don’t forget about feet:
I know this may seem strange when performing a chest exercise but your feet are important. Instead of thinking about the bench press as just a chest exercise think about it as a full body exercise. When you are under the bar going through your set up make sure to set up your feet. Bend your knees while you’re lying down on the bench and dig your toes into the ground. This will engage your legs during your bench press providing more energy and stability during your lift and increasing your strength.
Change your grip:
A common mistake when bench pressing is in the beginning gripping the bar. When you grip the bar first, wrap your thumb around the bar. Don’t let your thumb be underneath the bar that will allow the bar to slip out of your hand and onto your chest. Second the bar should be near the base of your palm to create a stronger grip. If the bar is close to your fingers this will bend your wrists during your bench press. Set the bar back in the fatty portion of your palm. This will straighten your wrists and provide a stronger grip to be able to drive the bar.
Don’t bench press:
Yes, it does say don’t bench press. Take some time off from bench pressing and work on other areas to strengthen. There are other movements that can help strengthen your bench press such as dumbbell flies, push-ups, shoulder press, and lat-pull-downs, or pull-ups. These exercises will help strengthen different areas of the chest, your shoulders and upper back muscles. So take some time off from your bench press, perform supplemental chest exercises, and strengthen your shoulders and upper back.
Written by GUADS staff member Patrick with contributions from www.menshealth.com