The bench press is a generally accepted indicator of an athlete’s strength. If you want to build up working weights, include these techniques in your training program.
A lot has changed in the world of strength training in recent years. But much has remained unchanged. For most athletes, with all due respect to squats , deadlifts, and other cool exercises, the bench press remains a prime indicator of lift. Lifting a barbell laden with pancakes – this picture motivates everyone, without exception, from green beginners to seasoned gym veterans.
If your goal is to progress in the bench press, you can check out all sorts of sophisticated training programs for yourself. But before that, try these four tricks that have helped thousands of athletes put more pancakes on the barbell.
Technique 1. Cluster sets
In a cluster set, you lift a heavy bar several times, take a short break, and do a few more reps. By forcing the muscles to roll heavier weights than they are used to, cluster sets cause muscle overload and trigger strength adaptation mechanisms. Imagine this is an extreme strength rest-pause workout.
To do the cluster approach, warm up and then load the bar with a weight that you can handle 4-5 reps. Do 3 reps. This is your first “cluster”. Hang the barbell on the supports after the third repetition and catch your breath for 20-25 seconds. After that, do three more reps and take the same pause. Repeat this 1 or 2 more times, and the approach can be considered complete.
How it works? You just did 9-12 reps with ideal technique with a weight that you would normally do 4-5 reps with – and the last one, most likely, the strict judges would not count you. Wow additive! Ultimately, this added load translates into increased strength capabilities and a sharp jump in one-rep max.
Technique 2. Forced reps
There are several ways to get your body to do more reps than it would normally handle. Clusters are the first move, the second is forced reps.
In forced repetitions, you perform the negative phase (lower the barbell), and the belayer helps you in the eccentric phase of lifting the working weights. Just be sure that your partner helps to raise the bar, but does not pull in the slope in combination with power Schrage, pulling the projectile instead of you!
Follow this pattern: Take the weight you would normally do with a five-rep set, and add 2 forced reps at the end. If you do 2 forced reps on three sets, you will get 6 more reps than usual. Extra reps are tantamount to working overtime, increasing training volume, and developing strength.
Now, before you ask the inevitable question about combining the first and second trick, let me give you a simple tip. Avoid the temptation to combine different high-intensity training techniques. DO NOT do forced reps on the same day with cluster sets. By alternating clusters and forced reps on consistent strength training, you can get the most out of each move.
Reception 3. Tempo training for speed
Sometimes strength is not only the maximum weight that you can lift, but also the speed with which you move the projectile. Many powerlifters devote entire training sessions to increasing speed, lifting light equipment in a very specific way.
To integrate this technique into your training program, load the barbell 45-55% of your 1RM. Yes, the projectile will seem light, but that’s how it was intended. Lower the weight in a controlled manner, and lift it up as fast as you can. The positive phase of the movement should turn into a powerful and explosive press. You can do a couple, three, or four reps in this vein, but no more. Rest for 30-45 seconds, then repeat the approach.
Do 6 to 10 of these sets, depending on the time you have and the amount of load planned for this workout. Again, don’t try to combine this strategy with others. This should be a separate workout 3-4 days after the heavy bench press.
Reception 4. Press on a bench with a positive incline
Some people believe that the press on a bench with a positive incline (head up) does not affect the press on a horizontal bench. Perhaps this is the case, but there are many other examples. Many athletes will tell you that the incline bench press is the best tool for increasing your bench press performance on the horizon.
In your chest workouts, use the incline press in various variations: from workout to workout, change the incline angle, alternate the barbell press with the head up with alternating dumbbell presses . If on a horizontal bench press you took a lot of weight, work on an incline with a lot of repetitions. Or do heavy incline presses for a few weeks and use the horizon as a snack as a multi-rep assist movement.
Whichever option you choose, remember that using different angles and different shells is a great way to wow your muscles and also surprise yourself the next time you test your one-rep max on the bench press.