What’s the best way to improve your bench press?
Increasing your bench press is often considered the ‘holy grail’ in most gyms. Every wanna-be meat-head gathers around the bench press in a pair of flip-flops, trying to impress their mates by lifting more than Oprah Winfrey’s mid-morning snack.
The technique I’m going to focus on, will see you bust through pretty much any plateau and improve your bench press numbers. It’s a technique called ‘Ramping’.
What is ‘Ramping’?
It’s a proven technique (which I’ve used many times), which means ‘ramping up’ or activating the nervous system while trying to minimise fatigue (especially when lifting the weight as fast as possible).
This technique can be applied to pretty much any exercise in the weight-room.
|1||60kg x 8||First warmup set – very light|
|2||80kg x 8||Second warmup set – Still light but a big jump from the previous set|
|3||100kg x 6||Third set we go a lot heavier, but can’t get out the same amount of reps|
|4||100kg x 4||The previous set with 100kgs used up all our energy reserves|
|5||90kg x 4||Lowering the weight hasn’t made it any easier to complete the required number of reps|
Why does it fail epically?
In the above setup, the difference between the last warm-up set and the first work-set is too large. The last warm-up set should feel more like another work-set.
|1||75kg x 8||First warmup set we start at 60% 1RM|
|2||85kg x 8||Second set we add 10kg|
|3||95kg x 8||Third set we add another 10kg and keep the rep range the same|
|4||100kg x 6||Set 4 we go heavier again but this time reduce the number of reps|
|5||105kg x 5||The last set our nervous system is ready for the onslaught due to the progression, therefore lift more weight and reduce the number of reps once more.|
Anything over 60% of your max can affect strength and size gains. You MUST attempt to lift the bar with as much speed as possible. No speed, no gains. Also, too many reps during the warm-up will only deplete energy levels from your working sets.
In a nutshell
#1 Start with a weight that is roughly 50-60% of your 1 rep max.
#2 Perform many sets of the desired rep amount, each one being heavier until you hit the maximum weight you will use.
#3 It can be done with any number of reps, although for strength I’d use 3-6, and for muscle-mass I’d use 6-8 or 8-12 (depending on the muscle being worked).
Editor’s note: Don’t drop your form to lift heavier unless you want to send yourself to the emergency ward. What are some other techniques you used to increase your lifts? Comment below.