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3 Keys to A Bigger Bench Press

Contrary to popular belief, there's more to pushing big weight than having big pecs.

By Rocco Castellano
3 Keys to A Bigger Bench Press

There's nothing quite like the feel of pushing big weight on the bench press. It's probably the most often used measuring stick of greater strength in the gym. No one really ever asks you, "Hey, what do you donkey press?"

But getting to those plate-clanging, bar-bending weight loads is no easy task, which is why we're offering you our three best tips for boosting your bench in a hurry.

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1. Negatives

Performing heavy negatives once or twice a month does wonders for building strength. Bodybuilders that don't have a "negatives day" in their routine are really missing out on huge gains. As a quick refresher, negatives are reps that concentrate on the eccentric, or lowering phase of an exercise. Our muscles can handle 30-40% more weight on the negative portion of a rep, so taking advantage of that taps into plenty of underexploited fibers in your pecs and trains your body and mind to deal with heavier weight.

To perform negatives on the bench, add 30-40% more weight than you'd normally use for 10 reps (after a few warm-up sets, of course). So if you're pressing 250 pounds for 10 reps, add an extra 75 pounds (30%) onto the bar. Unrack the weight and resist the negative all the way down for a full five seconds or more. Once the bar touches your chest, have your training partner help you bring the bar back up to the starting position and repeat this for 3-5 total agonizing reps. Use this method sparingly - 1-3 sets, once or twice per month - to avoid overtraining or injury. Besides, after training like this, you'll likely be too sore to want to do it again soon.

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