2 Ways To Break Your Bench Plateau
14 Year Old 8th Grader Bench 275 is the most commented on YouTube video I have (WATCH IT HERE). Either people want to put up their Internet numbers, claim he wasn’t 14, or ask how to improve their bench.
Actually, Jake went on to put up 315 easy while still 14, but I really have no motivation to put that video up and deal with the insane keyboard warriors on YouTube (the reason why you don’t see a whole lot of bench videos out of me).
Some of them do have legit questions though about their bench plateauing – not growing for an extended period of time. In order to break that plateau, you need to identify what your weakness is and then choose one of the suggestions below to address it.
2 Ways to Shatter Your Bench Plateau
1. Bench Less. I know people that bench 2-3 times a week – actually I know someone that benches EVERY OTHER DAY in pyramid fashion. The problem is your body has adapted to the load and movement (law of adaptation explained).
Use the bench as your “testing exercise” and work in more bench variations – board pressing, close grip, band, chain, dumbbell, etc. Also spend this time to develop your back. Back muscles will not only get you thicker, but believe it or not your back and your chest muscles are connected. If you have a glaring imbalance in one, the other will suffer.
Add pull ups, heavy barbell rows, and resisted supine rows.
2. Get Strong Triceps. You know that little muscle on the back of your arm that a lot of people don’t see when they are doing their nightly mirror pose downs? That’s the muscle group you should be working on to fill up your sleeve!
I highly recommend two exercises in particular – close grip bench and heavy dips. On close grip bench, make sure to really tuck your elbows and then drive the bar back up.
Heavy dips are awesome….if your shoulders allow. If you have severe mobility issues or impingement, work on those before doing dips. Don’t be afraid to do 5-6 sets of 2-5 dips. Slap that weight on and get your bench up.
In the video above, it is no coincidence that Crazy Jeff can bang out dips with 140-185 lbs on his waist…his bench is also over 405 at a body weight of around 215.
Keep It Simple
I could rattle off at least 10 more ways to break your plateau, but I think that may water down this article. I want to keep it simple and effective. If you do bench too much, then follow #1. If you do not do exercises in suggestion #2, then add them. Done deal.
Enjoy your increasing bench press!
- Joe Hashey, CSCS -
Disclaimer: If your bench is under 135lbs, you haven’t plateau’d, chances are you shouldn’t even be benching yet anyways and that’s the truth. Get stronger and read “The Truth About Weakness”
PS. Awesome job with the comments on the Healthy Oatmeal Pancake Recipe!
=>After 20 comments…
…on this article I will put out the next article on Primary Exercises and Progressions on Thursday. Leave your thoughts below!