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How to improve your bench press strength

Posted by: PFB

Q: I have a question about improving the bench press. Do you have any special routine or guidelines to help a person increase their max bench press such as a cycle or specific number of sets and reps?

A: I receive a ton of questions like this that are almost impossible to answer accurately. I can't fix a bench press unless I know about the previous training routine. It's like calling up your doctor and saying, "Doc, I hurt, fix me." I need to know how the triceps, delts and lats are trained. Also, I need to know if any speed work is being performed since this is the missing link in many programs. My first advice for improving the bench press is this - make sure your rowing strength is as great as your flat bench strength. This advice is often preached by Ian King and I agree wholeheartedly. Also, a great bench requires super strong triceps, deltoids and lats. What no pecs?! You got it, the pecs are the most overrated bench pressing muscle group so ditch the flys! You must perform heavy movements to build absolute strength and fast/light movements for explosive strength but don't do them on the same day. If I don't know anything about the previous routine I recommend a Westside style routine for bench which involves a max assistant lift such as a floor press (bench press while laying on the floor) working up in weight to a 1-2 rep max. 4 or 5 days later perform 6-10 sets of 3 reps for speed bench press with approximately 60% of your raw 1RM. Train the hell out of your lats, delts and triceps after each method for 4-6 sets of 4-6 reps. Keep alternating the method and change your max assistant lift every 3-4 workouts.

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