After implementing some of these suggestions from each of these three areas, your bench press should skyrocket.
A weak bench press is oftentimes the result of poor form that puts the lifter at a mechanical disadvantage even before beginning the movement.
Flaring the elbows out will put your shoulders at risk for injury. Injury means no results. Tuck the elbows in like the image shows and your shoulders will thank you.
Creating a slight arch in the back will also help, as the bar will need to travel a shorter distance. To do this pinch the shoulder blades together and squeeze the glutes.
While doing this, make sure to brace your core by filling your belly will air and flexing your abs to create the intra-abdnominal pressure necessary for full stability. If you don’t look fat while bench pressing, you are not doing it right.
You are now almost ready to unrack the bar and begin the exercise. But before doing so, make sure to squeeze the bar hard. Try this: Squeeze your hands as hard possible. If you did not notice immediately, your entire arm flexed. Doing this on any lift will add power and strength to the movement.
Finally, once the bar is unracked, make sure the bar travels in a straight line. It should touch right around the nipple line on the way down and move toward the same spot on the ceiling on the way up.
Another tip is to drive with the feet to help press the weight up after touching the chest. Just do not bring the butt off of the bench and lose your stability.
The problem may also be due to muscular weaknesses for which there are several beneficial exercises.
The most obvious exercises target the chest such as the incline dumbbell press and flat dumbbell press. The dumbbells force the lifter to not only focus on the press movement, but also to focus on keeping both sides even unilaterally. This way, imbalances on one side over the other can be corrected.
If capable, dips are another fantastic movement that will work many of the same muscles (anterior deltoid, triceps, and chest) as the bench press.
The triceps are often forgotten despite the fact that they are as important as the chest during the bench press because they extend the arm to move the bar during the entire movement.
The most often forgotten assistance exercises are those for the lats, lateral (side) deltoids, and posterior (rear) deltoids. Rows and pull-ups are fantastic and will help build a strong base in your back to support you under the weight.
Find where you get stuck
The last bit of advice is to find out exactly where you are getting stuck.
If you are having trouble out of the bottom, use ‘pause reps’ by using a lighter weight, pausing for a second on the chest and exploding the weight up.
If the lockout is the issue, use floor press, as your elbows will hit the floor before the bar hits your chest. This way the range of motion needed for the lockout will be strengthened.
And with this, you are on your way to a bigger bench press.