As far as exercises in the gym go, few match the bang-for-buck that comes with the bench press. It litters the workout routines of nearly every athlete and lifter out there. Which makes sense, it’s an exercise that requires not only your chest, shoulders and triceps, but also involves your glutes, core and basically every stabilizing muscle from your fingers to your toes
While lifting heavy may be the goal for many, for those who want to develop speed and power (particularly you athletes out there), being able to lift with high amounts of torque and velocity is where it is at.
Trainer and strength coach Mason Woodruff, CSCS, BSc., drops in to share some of his favorite tips for building a bench press that is not only awesome, but also insanely powerful:
1. Hit the bench more often.
A wise man once said, “To press a lot you have to press a lot.”
Meaning, there’s a strong correlation between an increase in bench press training frequency and an increase in bench press power and strength.
If you currently train bench press one or even two times per week, adding in an extra training session for speed or accessory work could be beneficial.
Keep in mind, more is not always better. If you catch yourself training bench press 3+ times per week with little to no progress, it’s time to scale back and reassess.
2. Speed is king.
Always try to press, no matter the weight, as explosively as possible.
Training your nervous system to be explosive during pushing will improve bench press performance tenfold. A great example would be attempting to tactically break down a door.
Would your approach be to maintain contact with the door and push as hard as possible? Or would it be to either kick, run, or push explosively into the door to break it down?
The latter would undoubtedly produce a greater amount of force, or mass times acceleration, and force is a major component of power.
Be fast, be explosive, and you’ll be more powerful.
3. Always be improving.
Progressive overload, at the end of the day, is all that matters when it comes to a lift like the bench press.
Developing a dominant bench press takes months, years, even decades in the truly elite pressers.
If you are constantly adding weight to the bar, you will develop more power in your pressing.
This is easy in the early stages but when progress slows, and a meager 5-pound increase in an 8-week training cycle counts as a win, that’s where elite pressers are made.
You can catch up with Mason Woodruff, a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), who also holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of Central Arkansas, on his website by clicking here. You can also stay up to date with Mason via his Facebook page.
- 17 Ways to Improve Your Bench Press. Our flagship guide for refining and honing your bench press. From technique, to how you should be breathing, to how fast to move the bar, we got you covered with tips from world record power lifters, functional movement specialists and elite strength coaches.
- 5 Bench Press Mistakes and How to Fix Them. Avoid these common bench press blunders with cues and technique tips that will help you build a more efficient and powerful lift.
- Are You Doing Bench Press Correctly? Probably Not. Coach and trainer Orande S. Roy’s guest post on breaking down the bench press so that you are starting with great form from the beginning.
- 9 Reasons You Should Be Doing Dumbbell Bench Press.