Often time’s conversations about the gym between friends somehow revert to talking about how much one bench presses.
Most would agree that their bench press progress tends to be a slow steady slope upwards even if they are consistent with implementing the lift on a weekly basis.
How much you weigh often plays a factor as well as technique and how much food you’ve taken in before your lift.
However, there are some exercises you can implement into the weekly routines that are sure to help you increase your bench press significantly faster!
1. Incline Bench Press
Incline bench press is one of my favorite exercises to do when I’m concentrated on increasing my bench press.
It is a slightly more challenging movement that requires more work from your front deltoids than the normal bench press.
Implementing this into your routine will strengthen your front deltoids which are one of the key muscle groups that are utilized during the flat bench press.
Another benefit to incline bench press is it implements and helps build your upper chest.
This drastically can improve one’s physique and also equally improves their flat bench press.
The reason for this is because the flat bench often times doesn’t stimulate the upper chest enough which can lead to a lack of development in that area.
The more the upper chest is developed the more mind-muscle will be made with the overall chest and the more muscle can be utilized during the lift itself.
Therefore, implementing this exercise into your routine for a couple weeks will definitely increase your overall strength on flat bench!!!
*Incline bench is more challenging than flat so start with a lower weight then you would with flat and always have a spotter!
2. Standing Military Press/ Seated Military Press
Standing or seated military press are two great variations of an exercise that will increase your bench press.
This has been well documented for a while throughout the fitness industry with influencers like Terron Beckham emphasizing the effectiveness of it (Terron benches an insane 500lbs flat bench)
This exercise is a compound movement just like the bench press which means it utilizes multiple muscle groups to perform the movement.
One of the main muscle groups it helps develop is the stabilizer muscles. Your stabilizer muscles are critically important in increasing your bench press.
The military press works and grows the following muscle groups:
- Upper chest
- Abdominal muscles
- Legs (push press)
These are all muscles that are utilized when performing the bench press with the proper form.
Your shoulders, particularly your front deltoids help with the eccentric as well as the concentric portion of the lift
The upper chest as previously stated creates a more rounded chest, allowing you to lift more weight.
The traps as well as the lats, help to stabilize the bar when you’re performing the movement
The abdominals also help with the stability of the bar.
And lastly, the legs help you with stability as well as the ability to generate power from the ground into the concentric portion of the lift.
One of the other benefits the military press helps you achieve is the ability to lockout with heavyweight.
3. Row Movements For Your Back
Why back for a chest movement?
Your back is the main muscle you use to stabilize yourself on the bench press.
A lot of the challenges one faces when performing the movement results from the lack of stability which can affect someone’s form.
The more you stay committed to your form, the more you will be able to lift over time.
Some of the strongest powerlifters I know such as Russell Orhi make it an emphasis to thicken their back so it transfers to their three major lifts during competition; bench press, deadlift, and squat.
Row movements such as barbell shrugs, barbell rows, machine rows, dumbbell rows, and T- bar rows all help build the back thickness which will eventually result in an increased bench press over time.
4. Close Grip bench/ Decline Skull crushers
There’s a reason why a lot of bodybuilders tend to match certain body parts together and train them in the same day.
For example chest and triceps, back and biceps, etc…
The reason for this is because a lot of the exercises for chest in particular, include the triceps significantly to complete the movement
For a bodybuilder, the goal is to grow your muscles.
Therefore, if your triceps are already broken down slightly from chest movements, it can be broken down further if done after chest on the same day, giving you the best bang for your buck.
Which brings me to why close grip bench and skull crushers should be part of your weekly routine to increase your bench.
Close grip bench not only builds the mass of your triceps but it also allows your triceps to become used to heavyweight.
As far as triceps exercises go, the close grip bench is the movement that allows your triceps to lift the most weight.
It also puts slightly more pressure on your wrists which can strengthen the wrist for bench press.
This is another exercise that is more challenging than a normal bench press so you should start out with a lighter weight and get used to the movement first.
Decline skullcrushers are a great movement for overall development of the mass of the triceps. Since this is a staple muscle group for the bench press it will translate to your bench press over time.
5. Spoto Bench Press
I’m going to present to you a variation of the Spoto bench press routine.
Eric Spoto is the current holder for the strongest bench press record in the world, benching over 700lbs!
The method requires you to bring the bench to about 2 inches above your chest and statically holding it there before exploding as fast as possible to a lockout.
However, it can be quite challenging to add extreme amounts of weight doing this method and is not recommended without a spotter.
A variation of this would be to perform this exercise at a squat rack.
Place the bench in the squat rack area and place the safety stoppers 2-3 inches above your chest and press up from a dead stop.
Most have problems getting the weight off their chest so this exercise will help you develop strength from the bench being on your chest.