10 Ways To Give Your Barbell Bench Press Exercise A Major Boost

We will guide you through some of the easiest ways to give your barbell bench press exercise a major boost. Follow our pieces of advice and your one-repetition maximum value will grow way faster too.   

The deadlift or squat is an important weight training exercise that can activate many of the muscles in your body. Using a barbell can increase the benefits you get from weight training, but it must be done with good form and good technique or you risk injury, and if you do it badly, ridicule. In many gyms, practitioners pretty often gauge their power and strength by “the number of bench press pounds”.

Lifting heavy weights brings a lot of risks, you can hurt yourself. One wrong move and you need a trip to the doctor. Everything is important, from foot to hand placement; so you better know what you’re doing.

We will guide you through some of the easiest ways to give your barbell bench press exercise a major boost. Follow our pieces of advice and your one-repetition maximum value will grow way faster too.   

  1. Your Feet Must Remain On The Floor

Many diehard strength training fans put their feet on the bench to maximize performance, but that’s a terrible mistake. It affects the technique and you might hurt your spine badly as you don’t have a stable, rigid base. One wrong move and your body rotate to the side, which leads to a potential low back injury.

Your technique should be excellent if your shins form a perpendicular line with the ground. Please, squeeze your glutes, create whole-body tension, and drive your feet into the floor. 

2. Shoulder-Width Grip For Injury-Free Results

Narrow-grip and wide-grip bench press drills are good for muscle groups that don’t work when you do the shoulder-width exercises. For example, the triceps or the lateral part of your pectorals. 

A too narrow grip might lead to more strain on your deltoid muscles, while a too-wide grip spoils the technique. According to the USA-based strength and conditioning expert Marc Rippetoe, the perfect distance between your hands is 22-28 inches. 

But here is a tip to do the drill properly – the lateral part of your hand (the fifth metacarpal bone) and the lateral part of your shoulder should be in the same line. 

But if you’re a professional athlete who must put elbow extensors, shoulder flexors, or horizontal adductors on fire, then you’ll have to experiment with different grips.  

3. Squeeze The Bar

First of all, visualize the move in your head, get yourself ready for big weights. Then squeeze the bar as hard as you can and do not let it go throughout the motion. 

A tight grip will maximize the tension in your arms and chest, which sends neurological signals to your brain and motivates you to push even harder. 

If you’re too relaxed throughout the motion, you won’t push as hard as you can, which decreases your one-repetition maximum results. 

4. Upper Back Secret

Your upper back must be flat against the bench. The arching movement happens simultaneously in your lower back as you lift weights.

When you create space between your upper back and the bench, you’ll spoil the technique and risk injury, and your one-repetition maximum values are going to drop. 

5. Your Eyes Are Pointed Towards The Ceiling, Not To The Side

This might sound rude, but please, don’t watch people around you, focus on the exercise. Point your eyes at one spot on the ceiling. 

Don’t even think about moving your eyes one inch to the left or right during the exercise. Do not follow the bar with your eyes, feel the move, work on your spatial intelligence. 

6. Move Your Chest Up

This is one of the most often mistakes of beginners. When you lift the barbell, your chest must go up, but at the same time, you should create tension in the upper part of your back by squeezing your shoulders, traps, and deltoid muscles. 

Breathe in, pull your shoulder blades down into the bench and drive your chest upwards. You can slightly touch your chest with the barbell in the bottom position. It stretches your pectorals even more, which might lead to better overall performance.  

If you want to work on chest muscle activation, change the angle of the bench to 30 or 45 degrees at some point to increase the role of the different areas of your pectoral muscles, then return to the horizontal bench press. 

7. Forget About 90-Degree Elbow Angle

The 90-degree angle doesn’t sound like a good choice, as it forces your shoulders to rotate internally. It also rotates your hand to the inside, spoils the technique, and leads to a potential injury. You won’t be able to align your wrists, elbows, and shoulders properly in the top position. Remember, all the push from your body must go straight to the bar, the perfect alignment is the key. 

The optimal elbow angle is 45 to 70-degrees. A smaller angle is better for lifters with short arms, while guys with longer arms should stay between 60 to 70 degrees. 

8. No Bouncing

This is a big no, you can hurt yourself. A spine injury might keep you sidelined for a while. The lower part of your back is very prone to injuries when you bounce. 

Just forget about it and do the motion fluently. You might overextend the lumbal and thoracic area of your spine, better use a moderate pace throughout the drill. You can press the bar explosively up slightly before it reaches the top position. 

9. Your Legs Can Help If You Do The Drill Properly

Lower body tension is a tiny, but beneficial detail for your 1 RM value. Press your toes and plantar side of your feet to the ground to add extra force to your hips. It improves the tension of your lower back, especially when you arch in the final phase of the movement. 

10. Be Cautious When You Return The Barbell To The Rack

Many practitioners just slam the barbell into the rack and get up but that’s wrong. 

You must keep your elbows locked and arms extended when you return the barbell. The drill is not finished until you return it to the starting position.

Conclusion 

Bench press sounds like an easy drill, but it’s a technically demanding exercise. An irregular form of the exercise carries the massive risk of an injury and worsens your performance. Please pay attention to the tiny details we provided. You may lift way more pounds than you used to after two or three months. 

Are you looking to boost your bench skills at home? Check out this best weight bench guide for a home gym, a good piece of equipment decreases tension in your back and lets you enjoy the workout and progress faster.

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