How To Increase Your Upperbody Strength and Bench Press More Weight – Made Simple
It is not only beginners who want to learn how to bench more. Even competing powerflifters seek out new methods from time to time. This series covers the 3 most important aspects of setting up a training regimen to build strength.
Starting with basic aspects of a strength training routine like goal setting and planning to workout routines and exercise. This article deals with the first stage of a successful strength training routine, goals and a plan for reaching them.
Step 1: Setting Goals
All goals, from successful entrepreneur to earning a doctorate starts off as an idea in your head. Writing down your goals on paper is a good step towards making those dreams a reality. Setting the goal of getting stronger and shaping your body is no different.
So, the first step you must take is getting a notebook that you can dedicate to your new workout routine…….and grab some quality bodybuilding supplements too.
Once you have your notebook dedicate the first page to all of your goals, this can be anything from getting in shape for a healthier lifestyle or getting strong enough beat up your brother. Next, break down your goals by the amount of time you expect it to take to reach them.
It’s a really good idea to set short and long term goals. Reaching short term goals gives you that extra boost you’ll need to sustain a long term fitness routine and reach some of your bigger, longer term goals. Here is a sample list of goals:
Short Term Goals:
1: Bench press 150 lbs.
2: Keep my routine going for at least a month
3: Be able to do 50 pushups
Long Term Goals:
1: Bench press 200 lbs.
2: Keep my routine going for 3 months
3: Do 100 pushups
4: Look good for a competetion
Step 2: The Plan
Flip to the next blank page in your fitness journal and write a schedule for working out. A 3 day a week commitment is great for beginners because excessive strength training can damage the body, particularly if you haven’t been active lately.
If possible, leave a day between every workout session. This allows your body to recuperate from the stress and rigors of strength training. If you can’t spread out your workout sessions, focus on one muscle group during each session. This will increase the effectiveness of your workouts and also prevent damage being done to your body.
Next, plan your workout routine. A good routine will include stretches to warm up your body. Stretching before workout sessions is also a good way to prevent injuries and remain limber. Starting off with a few pushups and crunches is also a great way to gear your body up for a tough weight training routine.
Now, get out your journal and set dates and times for your fitness sessions, be very specific and make sure you have enough to time warm up and cool down. Decide what muscle groups you’ll be working each day and design a workout routine specifically for yourself.
This will prevent you from competing against Joe Blow next to you who has been regularly working out for the past 5 years and keep you on track to reach your goals.
Step 3: Your First Workout
Your first workout ever is not going to be your “normal routine”. Rather, your going to use your first session to gauge how in-shape you are. Start with stretches of course and then perform some of these exercises to determine your physical condition: See how many crunches, sit, pull and chin ups you can do in a minute.
Next, check your max. (Max means the maximum weight you can lift during an exercise.) You can do this with bench press, leg press, curling, chest press, shoulder press, squats, and almost any other strength training exercise.
Next, you’re going to want to the amount of weight you can rep with every strength training exercise you plan to do. (To “rep” means to perform an exercise frequently without stopping.) Write down all your results in your fitness journal and date it. You’ll use this to track your progress which will also keep you motivated to continue your strength training routine.
Bench Press Technique
Minimize the range of motion by arching your back. Pushing the bar straight up from your chest. The arch, continuous from your lower to upper back. While not involving lifting your butt off the bench.
The arch reduces range of motion, providing significant spinal support for the motion. Set your feet firmly underneath your body, as far back on the bench as possible. Getting a powerful leg drive during the lift.
While performing the exercise, push your upper back toward your butt. Retracting and depressing the scapula (large wing bone in your back). This keeping you tight and adding stability during the lift.
Get a handoff from an experienced lifter or bodybuilder-not some high school kid who is intimidated by the weight. Use a small belt when going for maximum lift. Wear shoes with heels, like weight lifting shoes to increase stability.
Set up the same way every time you bench and you’ll soon be benching and building muscles with the big boys.
1. Dumbbell flyes – this exercise provides a useful means of isolating the pectorals and preserving the triceps for the subsequent exercise. Performed follows:
– Hold dumbbells directly overhead.
– Lower them to sides with elbows slightly bent, pulled back and to the side. Lower no further than level with the torso.
– Use the pectorals to pull the weights back up to the starting position.
2. Incline bench press – you can move straight on to this exercise if you have reached an appropriate level of experience. If you perform this exercise as the second part of a pre-exhaust routine you may have to use lighter weights than normally.
– Take a shoulder width grip.
– Lower the bar to the chest with the elbows pointed to the side.
– Return to the starting position.
The Ultimate Jay Cutler Chest Workout
At 5’9 competing at anywhere from 250-275 pounds of massive muscle. His legs received most of the attention, followed by his shoulders. Also managing to craft an impressive set of pecs to match the rest of his physique. Unlike some former Mr. Olympia champions, chest did not come easy for him.Cutler says it was actually his worst body part at a younger man.
2 Major Fixes Changed Everything
Experimenting with different variations in form until finding the style that allowed growing of thickness. One major technique adjustment made was keeping an arch in his back when doing any type of press.
Finding that getting the chest up higher than shoulders, or else delts would take over the movement. Saying to himself “chest high, chest high” as a reminder of the position he needed to maintain during the set.
Another change, was to not use a full range of motion. A full range of motion prevented him from building his chest. When he used to touch the bar to his chest on bench press, he could feel shoulders and triceps working. Not his chest. Finding that if he stopped short an inch or two, keeping the tension on the pecs.
Feeling them doing a lot more of the work. The same concept is why he doesn’t fully lockout the arms. That brings the shoulders and tri’s into the movement too much, not to mention stress on elbows.
Jay’s Chest Workout-Circa 2011
- Incline Dumbbell Press 2 warm-ups of 12-15; 3 X 10-12
- Flat Smith Machine Press 3 X 10-12
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes 3 X 10-12
- Dips 3 X 10-12
- Decline Barbell Press 3 X 10-12
- Dumbbell Pullovers 3 X 10
Jay’s Chest Workout-Circa 1992
- Incline Dumbbell Press 4 X 10
- Dumbbell Flyes 4 X 10
- Pec Deck 4 X 10
- Flat Bench Press 4 X 10
- Cable Crossovers 4 X 10
- One Last Piece of Advice
A final principle he believes in, that many other guys experience difficulty in building their chest would be wise to follow. Stop worrying about how much weight you lift. Impressing others at the gym isn’t worth missing out on the muscle growth you should be making.
He can handle decent weight, but could care less about how much he uses. He’s not a powerlifter, so the numbers mean nothing to him.
It’s about feeling in the muscle and tension on it so he gets a great muscle pump. It makes no sense to bench press 500 pounds if you’re not feeling it in your massive pecs. Because you have to use other muscle groups. Not to mention a lot of help from a spotter to get the weight up.