With the right plan and the right discipline, you can get seriously shredded in just 28 days.Read article
THE BENCH PRESS
Almost anyone who has stepped foot inside a gym has made the bench priority one at some point. After all, a big bench equals a big chest. And who doesn’t want a massive chest that’s the envy of all? So why has an exercise that was once an, ahem, benchmark for strength and size been kicked to the curb like yesterday’s outdated software? Most people will tell you that they steer clear of it for fear of a torn pec or rotator cuff injury. That’s too bad, because the bench press is still the big daddy of upper-body exercises — as long as it’s done the right way. That’s where we come in. On the following pages, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to performing this exercise for both monster chest growth and a jaw-dropping retort to the inevitable — and annoying — question, how much do you bench?
1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground, beyond shoulder width and your legs bent at about a 90-degree angle.
2. Keep a slight arch in your lower back to maintain the natural curve of your spine.
3. Keep your glutes tightly contracted; press your shoulders and glutes into the bench.
4. Grip the bar slightly beyond shoulder width.
5. In order to increase the pressure in your chest and abdominal cavity, take a big breath and hold it as you lower the weight.
FLEX TIP: THE BAR SHOULD NOT BE IN YOUR SIGHTLINE WHEN IT IS RACKED. IF IT IS, YOU RISK BUMPING THE RACK WITH THE BAR WHEN PRESSING THE WEIGHT UP.
6. Lower the bar slowly — a count of two seconds down, two seconds up will suffice — to nipple level or lower.
7. Squeeze your scapulas together while lowering the bar. This will help stabilize your shoulder girdle and recruit your lats to help push up the weight.
8. Make sure that your arms form an L in the bottom position when the bar reaches your chest.
9. Dig your shoulders into the bench and your heels into the floor before pushing the weight up (imagine pushing the floor away from you with your feet). Drive with your legs as you push the bar to transfer more force to your upper body. Keep your butt on the bench.
10. Wrap your thumbs around the bar to prevent your wrists from flexing too much, which can decrease both force production traveling through your forearms and your overall bench-press strength.
FLEX TIP: YOUR UPPER ARMS SHOULD FORM A 45- TO 60-DEGREE ANGLE TO YOUR TORSO AS YOU LOWER THE WEIGHT AND PRESS IT UP.
11. Squeeze the bar as hard as possible to transfer force from your chest, shoulder and triceps to the bar.
12. Press the bar as straight up as possible, trying to “rip the bar apart” by pulling your arms outward without changing your grip.
13. Exhale after passing the most difficult stage of the lift or after you reach the top position.
14. Squeeze your pecs forcefully at the top of the movement. This will help to keep the focus on the pecs and help to further muscle growth.
15. Do not lock out at the top of the movement. This releases tension from the muscles.
HOW TO SAFELY TEST FOR YOUR 1RM ON THE BENCH PRESS
When testing for your one-rep max, have a strong spotter (or two) on hand. Complete several light warm-up sets. Keep reps under 6 for the first 2 sets, and then drop to 1 or 2 reps as you get closer to your guesstimated max weight. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Do not get close to muscle failure on any warm-up set.
Now it’s time to do a true 1RM test. Consider the amount of weight you can normally lift for 6-10 reps to failure, and then add about 30%-40% more weight. Attempt only 1 rep. If you are successful, rest 3-4 minutes and add 5-10 pounds. If you aren’t, remove 5-10 pounds and go again after resting 3-4 minutes. The last weight you successfully complete once is your true 1RM. Make sure to rest 3-4 minutes between all attempts.