Bench press – a basic exercise in classic powerlifting. The technique of performing the exercise is very simple, but before learning how to perform it correctly, it will take more than one week of training. Starting position – lying on a bench, the bar is approximately at eye level, the arms are spaced no more than 85 centimeters apart. Technique for performing the exercise – the bar is lowered to the chest, touching the chest is possible, a slight delay of the bar and lifting to the starting position.
Bench press problems are common among beginners and professionals alike. The main characteristic feature of the exercise is “stagnation” in terms of muscle growth and strength, that is, from training to training, the athlete lifts the same weight, not coping with the greater load.
Reasons for stagnation in the bench:
1.the absence of changes in the training program for three or more months;
2. there is no training strategy, there is no clear definition of the set, the wrong execution technique, etc.;
3. lag in the development of one or more auxiliary muscles;
4. physical muscle fatigue, in which there is no proper recovery of strength;
5. improper diet.
So, we have highlighted the main causes of stagnation, which relate not only to the bench press, but also to problems in exercises for other muscle groups.
In the process of training, the athlete uses various programs borrowed from the Internet, written by a coach or formed independently. Suppose that the program is composed correctly and theoretically should lead to a result, but, as you know, there is a concept of “muscle memory”, that it is it that works after several months of the same type of training. Some muscles succumb to it earlier, some later, but eventually a period of stagnation begins, when the athlete does not observe any progress.
The main thing that needs to be done is to urgently revise your program. You can give a lot of advice on adjusting and drafting it, but the fact remains that changes are needed, muscles need to be “shaken”, they must again feel the stress leading to the next adaptation. Adaptation, in turn, will manifest itself in an increase in strength and mass.
Bench Press Strategy and Technique
If the athlete does not learn how to perform the exercise correctly, then it will be difficult to change his technique in the future. Another mistake may lie in the wrong exercise strategy, that is, the athlete may not increase the weight or, on the contrary, use prohibitive weights. The strategy should be based on a systematic increase in the load, both in the number of approaches and in the weight of the projectile. For example, very often professionals include supersets in their workouts, where muscle antagonists are involved.
A bench press strategy for a powerlifter can be structured as follows:
50% – 12 times – warm-up weight;
65% – 10 times – transitional weight;
80-85% – 8 times – working weight;
90% – 6 times – working weight;
105-110% – weight for increasing strength – 1 time.
80% – reps to failure with a margin of 1-2 lifts.
Uniform development of all muscles
Even if the athlete began his sports activity with basic exercises, there are still muscles that are not
received due development and it is they who can impede progress. Regarding the bench press, the lats of the chest, triceps, shoulders, lats of the back play the main role. While doing the exercises, you can vary the work of your muscles using different grip. For example, narrowing the bar grip, you increase the load on the triceps, spreading your arms wider, increasing the load on the pectoral muscles. It should be noted that this technique can only compensate for the backwardness of a particular muscle. For a real effect, it is worth focusing specific attention on the lagging muscles, forming separate exercises for them.
By pumping one muscle group, the athlete runs the risk of overloading them, which leads not only to stagnation, but also to injury. Avoid more than two workouts of the same muscle group per week, and you should combine light workouts with hard workouts. Remember, muscles grow only when they recover!
An athlete’s diet should not only consist of protein products, so do not forget about carbohydrates before training, creatine and other biological elements. Don’t shy away from synthetic additives that are used to protect joints and cartilage. Try to consume proteins after each workout that are easily absorbed by the body.
How to increase the bench press?
• correct bench press technique, use of the maximum number of muscles, back flexion, firmness of the feet;
• use a firm grip;
• adjust the width of the bar grip;
• train lagging muscles with isolation exercises;
• choose the most natural trajectory of the barbell movement;
• do not hold your breath while lifting;
• keep an average pace of the exercise;
• conduct a quality warm-up;
• do not increase the weight at every workout, but also do not throw singles;
• do not exercise more than twice a week or twice in a row;
• use the method of progressive resistance;
• Do technique exercises only with minimal weight.