If you are stuck in a plateau, the best thing that you can do would be to change your routine, start with a new program or assess yourself for anything that may be lacking in your current workout. Let’s say, you’ve been stuck in the bench press at 150 pounds and can no longer move on and are clueless what to do next, well, the time has come to achieve new gains and boost your bench. The most common failure when it comes to benching weights is at the three to four inches before lockout of the move. Most lifters fail at this point in their lifts due to weak and under-trained triceps. Presented below are also the different assessments and actions that you can do in order to bust the benching plateau and boost your gains.
#1 Train Your Triceps
One of the few steps that you can do is to train your triceps using heavy weights with lesser reps. The triceps are actually more involved during the upward phase of the bench lift, thereby causing more stress in your triceps especially If you are performing a closer grip with your elbows flared out. Always remember that targeting your weak areas is the key to attaining a greater gain in your bench press.
#2 Train Your Shoulders
You can only assess yourself when you are already performing the act itself. While doing the bench lift exercise, it is important to note whether you lack the strength during the lowering or the lifting phase of the exercise. If you feel like you are about to give up during the downward phase, then you may have weak shoulders as they become more involved in this part of the lift. Performing exercises that involve the frontal deltoid such as front lateral raises, military presses, Arnold presses and bent over lateral raises strengthen this commonly neglected aspect of boosting your gains in the bench.
#3 Tyr a Ticker Bar
If you are preparing for a competition or simply trying to boost your bench exercise gains for bragging rights, it is also applicable for you to use a thicker barbell. A thicker bar stimulates your grip strength and helps in gaining balance and strength for the forearms which is also a vital part of the exercise. So when you switch back to the common Olympic bar, having a strong grip becomes a plus when you perform the exercise.
Whenever you attempt to break your bench weight record, always keep in mind to warm up in order to increase blood flow to your muscles. Of course, you’d never want yourself to feel tired just at the moment of the heaviest weight or just when you are about to increase your load. Also, warming up avoids rampant injuries which are definitely counter-productive.
#5 Rest Between Sets
Keep in mind that resting for three to five minutes in between sets is essential. This is important because of the simple fact that you need to recover enough so you can move to the next weight in your next set.
#6 Stay Warm
This next tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. While resting, it is vital to stay warm and avoid cooling down at this moment of your workout so that you don’t lose your pump. Staying warm throughout the session is important. At this moment in your lift, do not let your body get cold by wearing sweat pants and sweat shirts and wrapping towels around your legs, anything to keep you warm.
#7 Control Going Down
One important aspect when performing the bench lift is the downward part of the exercise, your shoulder must be at the retracted position. This enables you to control the bar as it goes down. You can practice by standing with your hands against the wall. Take a step backward and from this position, stretch your arms out in front of you to try and reach the wall. Now your shoulders are in the protracted position. Now to get to the retracted position, pull your arms as far back as possible to your shoulder girdle. With this, you simply squeeze your shoulder blades together. Practice for five minutes a day, four days a week. This exercise ensures that you’ll be performing the bench lift with proper form and heavier weights.
#8 Create a Firm Base
In order to create a base and a firm foundation, keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. Wiggling your feet or moving them around during the lift keeps you off balance which can compromise your form and lead to injuries.
#9 Try Different Grips
Try performing different grips. When you feel that your shoulders are weak and your triceps are stronger, perform a closer grip with your hands closer together. However, if you feel like your shoulders surpass your triceps’ strength, use a wider than shoulder-width grip.
#10 Take a Deep Breath
In order to create a more solid torso as you lift the bar, take a deep breath before lowering the barbell. It helps by stabilizing the muscles of the thorax to create a more stable base for increasing your exercise gains.
#11 Avoid Overtraining
Overtraining leads to lesser gains and more injuries. This is totally counter-productive if you’d like to increase your bench. Take a break off from lifting heavy for a day or two in between sessions. Using light weights after a session of heavy working out would also help in your recovery.
#12 Protein & Carbs
Get loaded with protein and carbohydrates. If you would like to boost your gains with any type of lift in the gym. Loading up on protein before and after a workout is the key. It helps in generating energy throughout the body and aides in recovery hours to days after a workout.
The key essential element to boosting your bench press is proper form, taking focus among the assisting muscles which are the triceps, the shoulders and the back, rest and recuperation and mental focus. It is also useful to have a training partner with you to spot you especially when you go for the heaviest weight in your set. Always remember that maintaining a safe workout is also necessary.