Bodyweight Training For a Bigger Bench Press: Lift More With These Tips
The bench press is easily one of the most popular gym exercises – ever – and acts as a monitor to measure strength. Many gym-goers will gauge their success and improvement solely on their max bench. But if you are serious about wanting to bench MORE, then you’ll be nerding out trying to learn about ways to supplement your lifting and help you develop more mobile and stable arms. We’ve got you.
These bodyweight exercises from the GymnasticBodies Courses will help you create a serious jump in your bench mechanics – to keep you beastly and mobile.
Incorporate the following approach and exercises into your routine and you’ll notice how you can get stronger lifting less weight, with the same strength gain, and fix any mobility, preparation holes, and weak muscles.
UNDERSTAND YOUR SHOULDERS:
In the GB Courses, we talk about 2 basic shoulders positions that are the golden standard for most upper body work: Protraction and Retraction; both of which you will need to understand in order to maximize your bench. Learning these positions will help you maintain proper form and avoid the aches and pains of improper movement.
POSITIONING: CAT COW
In GymnasticBodies Foundation Courses you will learn a great integrated mobility exercise called the Cat Cow. This simple exercise whose name conjures images of half cat, half cow hybrids, is just what you need to take the longevity and mobility of your bench to the next level.
Cat Cow, from the GB Foundation Series, is an essential mobility drill for anyone seeking to improve their upper body strength and range of motion.
Get into a quadruped position with hands as wide as your shoulders (or your handstand and plank/push-up hand width spacing). Retract and depress your scapula, while you APT (anteriorly pelvic tilt) your hips. Rotate your elbows toward your body. Stop and record, because THIS is your new bench press hand and shoulder position.
GAME CHANGER: NARROW BENCH
Why would I keep my hands shoulder width apart if bench press is a wide arm movement? You may ask yourself. The narrow grip bench press will force you to lift less weight with more strength gain because you work weaker muscles, which means long term strength gains when you go back to regular bench press. If you could lift less weight, exert less energy, and still get the same strength training effect would you? The smart answer is yes.
What this means for the smart athlete is faster recovery, more strength gain, more longevity and better skill transfer and strength carryover in all of your athletic pursuits. This concept allows you to think about weightlifting and Gymnastics Strength Training mechanics – or any two things – and find ways to enhance them or compliment one another. This is your new best friend; use it often, and use it well.
FIX YOUR SHOULDERS
Get those jacked giants into the correct position so you are like an immovable bench press Jenga tower.
Bench: DON’T Do This
Leave your shoulder blades loose with so much space in the middle that you could fit a grapefruit between them. Don’t Let your elbows drift out to the sides of your body, instead keep them tucked against your body to work those weak muscles and ranges of motion.
Bench: Correct Form
To get the most stable bench, you will need to have your shoulder blades retracted and depressed before you lift the bar. Imagine pinching a piece of paper with your shoulder blades and bringing them down toward your glutes, by doing this you can make sure your scaps are rock solid and connected. When you reach your chest, do not bounce/kip the weight off of your chest, control and gently touch it to your solar plexus with your elbows tucked in against your body, and explode back up.
These simple strength movements and mechanics in Foundation One are helpful to keep you strong and unstoppable. GymnasticBodies Bodyweight Training for a bigger bench press is where you really grow; increasing strength and stability so you can lift more weight, consistently and sustainably while becoming more mobile.