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  1. #1
    Registered User SolomonOttoman's Avatar
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    How do I increase my bench press?

    So I'm a 18 year old male who's in pretty good shape, I'm a good runner, have a nice physique and a squat max of 300 pounds. But what's always been my weakness is upper body strength. I'm terrible at bench pressing and I only have a max lift of 120 (just 1 rep). What are the best ways to go about increasing it? How should I track it? What techniques should I use? how often should I Bench? What are some other workouts I can do to improve my bench press? Any diet recommendation's? It's an embarrassing weakness that always lingered over me and I want to improve it. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. #2
    4am club health4life24's Avatar
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    There are many various ways to go about increasing lifts with different rep schemes and progression models.

    What are you currently doing for a routine?
    - Your mindset influences your outcome. It's time to take out phrases like "I can't" or "I don't have time" and replace them with phrases like "I will make the time" and "I will keep working at it until I find a way that works." Success starts with the right mindset and believing in yourself and your dreams.
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  3. #3
    Fatter than last time ezra76's Avatar
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    There are a lot of specific programs to increase bench. I've had the best results increasing with flat bench in the 5-8 rep range, incline db's and close grip bench. With close grip the weight is not as important as the form for me. I keep pointer finger just on the smooth part of the bar (so like shoulder width, maybe little closer in). Down slow, pause at bottom and push hard back up.

    Shoulders were important. I have a thinner build with small joints so shoulder joints could not handle the heavier weights. I have a separate shoulder day from my chest/bench day. When my shoulder press gets stronger, my bench does too.

    Form and setup on bench play a huge part. Watch some vids on youtube on how to setup. Once I got my elbows in, slight arch to push off my upper back/shoulder blades and my feet pushing into that upper back setup, I could dig in and grind out. I could never do that before with bench. A weight I'd fail with on rep #2 I can push to rep 4 or 5 now.

    Last thing I'll mention that I found useful when I couldn't bench much and got burned out quick is deficit pushups. I used a hex dumbell on top of a couple plates and just do pushups where your chest can go deep and get a full stretch.
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  4. #4
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    What routine have you been doing for the past 6 months?

    Bench increase is strongly correlated with bodyweight increase.

    Bench responds to high volume, but if you've been doing high volume recently then that trick won't work.

    Accessory exercises that target the muscles used in the bench might also help: flies, shoulder raises (front and side), and tricep work.

    Look at some good programs: Smolov Jr., Candito bench, Calgary Barbell 8 week (you could use just the bench programming but the whole program is excellent).
    2020 maxes
    Squat 185
    Bench 137
    DL 205
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    Workout Journal: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=175647011&p=1630928323&viewfull=1#post1630928323
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  5. #5
    Registered User Brandon2576's Avatar
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    In my experience, doing bench and bench variations 3-4 times per week is great. Pressing movements seem to respond good to high volume/frequency. So, right now what I do is:

    Tuesday - Close Grip Pin Bench
    Thursday - DB Incline Bench
    Saturday - Competition Bench

    This workout plan isn’t even directed at increasing my bench though. I am more concerned with increasing my overhead press. Bench to me is kinda like an accessory lift to keep me well rounded. Even with that being said, my bench has gone up quite a lot since I started doing this routine. I imagine if I was to focus in on my bench with the idea of high volume/frequency I could increase my bench a ton.
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    I'm guessing you haven't been doing a consistent upper body strength routine of any sort for the past several months.
    I'm guessing you just do random stuff when you feel like it, and you probably feel like running and squatting more often cuz you are better at those.
    I'm also guessing you posted here on a whim one day when you tried bench for the first time in a while, and won't be back.
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  7. #7
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brandon2576 View Post
    In my experience, doing bench and bench variations 3-4 times per week is great. Pressing movements seem to respond good to high volume/frequency. So, right now what I do is:

    Tuesday - Close Grip Pin Bench
    Thursday - DB Incline Bench
    Saturday - Competition Bench

    This workout plan isn’t even directed at increasing my bench though. I am more concerned with increasing my overhead press. Bench to me is kinda like an accessory lift to keep me well rounded. Even with that being said, my bench has gone up quite a lot since I started doing this routine. I imagine if I was to focus in on my bench with the idea of high volume/frequency I could increase my bench a ton.
    This pretty much. Though I wouldn't count dB incline as bench assistance. (I would still do it, but probably after a comp or assistance bench).
    Also learning the technical side of bench is something I feel a lot of people miss out on.
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  8. #8
    Registered User GunnerFit's Avatar
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    To increase your strength I like doing more sets of fewer reps with a relatively high weight, ~85% of your 1RM. Work in some heavy negatives, decline/dips, close grip bench, all the supporting stuff. Lots of good comprehensive programs out there to help increase your bench, good luck to you!
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