Plateaus happen to all of us. Really. I’m not even joking. The more strength training experience you gain, the harder it becomes to improve your maximal weights in your lifts. Let’s take the Bench Press, for our example today.Say you’ve been training for 2 years, and regularly bench pressing. You gained strength quickly in the past, but it seems you’re stuck now. No matter your strategy - high volume, high intensity, restricted rest, etc - it’s just not budging. Instead of continuing to bench press and getting frustrated, take 4 weeks, do lighter sets of bench press and focus on the things below.
1 - Build Your Triceps - Tate Press, Tricep Kick-backs, French Press, Skull CrushersDon’t let your triceps be the limiter in your bench press. Without strong triceps, you’ll feel unbalanced at the top of your first rep, you’ll have trouble locking out heavy reps, and your elbows will get stressed out. Using light to moderate weights, and rep ranges from 8-15 for 3-5 sets with PERFECT form will help you build rock solid triceps.
2 - Build Anti-Rotational Trunk Strength - Single Arm Dumbbell Incline Bench PressingIf you’ve never tried these, you’re welcome. If you have, then you already know how impactful these can be. They force you to brace with your core through the entire movement to avoid being pulled to the side. To counterbalance this, you also drive your feet into the floor. So, without even thinking about it, you’re improving your posterior chain & core tension during a horizontal press, reinforcing and improving your bench press skill set. These should be done once a week - 5-6 sets for 6-8 reps - using moderate loads in the beginning but building to heavy dumbbells as your skill improves
3 - Horizontal Rowing - Three Point Row, Chest Supported Incline Dumbbell Row, Bent Over RowHorizontal rowing movements are the unsung heroes when building a strong bench press. Our posterior chain, specifically your glutes and back, are a huge component in all horizontal pushing. They act as our brakes and help control the weight on the way down, then stabilize and assist on the press up. A strong back keeps our shoulds and neck happy, and aids in retaining proper posture. Without a strong back, we can’t have a strong bench press, do alot of push-ups, do alot of burpees, or dips, or overhead press, or… you get the idea. A strong back is super important. I suggest first doing Three Dumbell Point Rows for 4-5 sets, 5-6 reps, with a challenging dumbbell, and then also adding 3 sets of 10-12 Chest Supported Rows or Bent Over Rows.
Interested in learning more about strength training and improving you bench press, along with your back squat and deadlift? Join Coach Isaac’s next Eight Week Strength Clinic HERE