The bench press is a compound, whole-body workout that requires strength in the chest, back and arm muscles. Here are some of the best exercises to incorporate into your routine if you want to boost your performance in the bench press.
Strengthen Chest Muscles
Doing push-ups offers an excellent way to build up your pecs in addition to strengthening the deltoids and triceps. Do as many sets of 15 push-ups as you can before fatigue sets in and add more reps as you gain strength. Elevating your legs by putting your feet on a step or block puts even more emphasis on the upper chest and arms.
To emphasize each pec separately, start from a standard push-up position. Transfer your weight onto your left foot and hand and hold for several seconds. Repeat on the right side.
Strengthen Back Muscles
Doing pull-ups provides an effective way to build up the biceps, shoulders and lats. Plus there are many variations so you will not get bored. Try changing your grip by moving your hands farther apart and closer together. Wearing gloves, wrapping a towel around the bar, using two fingers and using three fingers are additional ways to change your grip and increase difficulty. You can also overload by adding a dip belt, a sandbag, a kettlebell, a dumbbell, or a medicine ball.
Deadlifts force the back to work antagonistically in order to stabilize the spine and torso. Modify this workout by altering between a conventional and wide stance. You can also try deficit deadlifts, which forces you to lift beyond the normal range.
The T-bar row improves upper body strength with focus on the shoulder and back muscles. To do this exercise, place a weight on one end of the barbell and straddle the bar. Push the hips back and grab the V-handle with both hands. Pull the bar toward the chest while squeezing the shoulder blades together.
Strengthen Arm Muscles
Dumbbell curls put emphasis on the triceps and the biceps, which are the main muscle groups in the arms. Hold the dumbbells down at your side with the arms extended, palms facing forward and feet in line with your shoulders. Curl the weights up to the chest and press them overhead. Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. You can also perform this exercise using barbells or kettlebells to help build strength in the arms.
Add these five exercises to your workouts and before you know it, you will be bench pressing more weight than you ever thought was possible.