Want a MASSIVE chest? Then, follow these 8 steps!
By Team iForce Nutrition
1. Train the Triceps
Years ago, if you had asked any of the greats how to get a big bench, they would have told you to train the triceps. This same advice applies today. It doesn't mean doing set after set of pushdowns, kickbacks, and other so-called "shaping" exercises. Training your triceps for a big bench has to involve heavy extensions and close-grip pressing movements such as close-grip flat and incline bench presses, and close-grip board presses.
Various barbell and dumbbell extensions should also be staples of your training program. Bottom line: Train the triceps!
2. Keep your shoulder blades pulled together and tight.
This is a very important and often overlooked aspect of great bench pressing. While pressing you have to create the most stable environment possible. This can't be done if most of your shoulder blades are off the bench. The bench is only so wide and we can't change this, but we can change how we position ourselves on the bench.
When you pull your shoulder blades together you're creating a tighter, more stable surface from which to press. This is because more of your body is in contact with the bench. The tightness of your upper back also contributes. These techniques also change the distance the bar will have to travel. The key to pressing big weight is to press the shortest distance possible.
3. Keep the pressure on your upper back and traps.
This is another misunderstood aspect of pressing. You want the pressure around the supporting muscles. This is accomplished by driving your feet into the floor, thereby driving your body into the bench. Try this: Lie on the bench and line up so your eyes are four inches in front of the bar (toward your feet). Now using your legs, drive yourself into the bench to put pressure on the upper back and traps. Your eyes should now be even with the bar. This is the same pressure that needs to be applied while pushing the barbell.
4. Keep the elbows tucked and the bar directly over the wrists and elbows.
This is probably the most important aspect of great pressing technique. The elbows must remain tucked to keep the bar in a straight line as explained above. Keeping the elbows tucked will also allow lifters to use their lats to drive the bar off the chest. Football players are taught to drive their opponents with their elbows tucked, then explode through. This is the same for bench pressing. Bench pressing is all about generating force. You can generate far more force with your elbows in a tucked position compared to an "elbows out" position.
5. Bring the bar low on your chest or upper abdominals.
This is the only way you can maintain the "barbell to elbow" position as described above. You may have heard the advice, "Bring it low" at almost every power lifting competition. This is the reason why. Once again, the barbell must travel in a straight line.
6. Fill your belly with air and hold it.
For maximum attempts and sets under three reps, you must try to hold your air. Everyone must learn to breathe from their bellies and not their chests. If you stand in front of the mirror and take a deep breath, your shoulders shouldn't rise. Greater stability can be achieved in all the lifts when you learn how to pull air into the belly. Try to expand and fill the belly with as much air as possible and hold it. If you breathe out during a maximum attempt, the body structure will change slightly, thus changing the groove in which the barbell is traveling.
7. Train with compensatory acceleration.
Push the bar with maximal force. Whatever weight you're trying to push, be it 40% or 100% of your max, you must learn to apply 100% of the force to the barbell. If you can bench 500 pounds and are training with 300 pounds, you must then apply 500 pounds of force to the 300-pound barbell. This is known as compensatory acceleration and it can help you break through sticking points.
These sticking points are known as your "mini maxes," or the points at which you miss the lift or the barbell begins to slip out of the groove. Everybody wants to know what exercise will help them strengthen this area or what body part is holding them back. Many times it isn't what you do to strengthen the area where it sticks, but what you can do to build more acceleration in the area before the mini max. If you can get the bar moving with more force then there won't be a sticking point. Instead, you'll blast right through it. Compensatory acceleration will help you do this.
8. Train the lats on the same plane as the bench.
In other words, you must perform rows, rows, and more rows. If you want to bench big then you need to train the lats. When you bench you're on a horizontal plane. So would it make sense from a balance perspective to train the lats with pull downs, which are on a vertical plane? Nope. Stick to the barbell row if you want a big bench.
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Now get back to the gym!