Although the bench press is commonly used as a measure to gage your upper body strength it certainly is not conclusive proof on how strong you are. But if you have not reached that dreaded plateau yet then it is only a matter of time before you reach that point.
We will point out a few tips that you can use in order to break through that plateau when you see that your bench press max weight just cannot get higher and it seems you have reached your maximum strength. We will be discussing these tips below.
The first thing that needs to be done is to take a careful look at the strength of your triceps. You should be doing skull crushers, narrow grip bench press and other tricep building exercises to build up this essential muscle for the bench press. Free weights will give you the range of motion and strength training that machines won’t so stick to the weight racks.
It’s also a good idea if you really want to build strong triceps that you train them when they’re fresh and you can’t do this after a heavy benching session. Train your triceps on a day when you are not doing chest so that you can make some strength gains which will directly affect your bench-press max.
If you have reached a plateau in your bench-press then you need to know that you will never break through that plateau if you always train in your comfort zone. The best advice is to make simple adjustments to your workout plan, for example you can change the intensity, the number of reps, or the tempo of each repetition, and the options are endless.
Another tactic to help increase your bench press is to use negative training. This training works by using weight over your 1 rep maximum to practice carrying the weight to your chest then with the help of a spotter on each side push the weight back to the rest position.
Sports science teaches that we are 60% stronger on an eccentric movement i.e. when the muscle is lengthening and not contracting as with concentric movements. This is a great example of why you can use Negative Training to dramatically increase your bench press max.
In conclusion you need to not only make sure that you are eating correctly, drinking 8 glasses of water each day and a good 8 hours rest but you also need to make sure that you are always very aware of the possibility of over-training which is something very real.
You have to get out of the mentality that the more you lift the more muscle you will make and start thinking about “less is more”. The quality of your reps, sets and exercises is more important than how many you do. Stick to training your chest once or twice a week, there’s no need for more unless you’re trying to break the world record bench press!