We recently asked our sponsored athlete, Stephen Manuel, for his top 3 tips for improving your bench press.
Here is what he had to say:
Tip 1: Focus on your technique
Technique is paramount. It is important to keep the shoulders healthy when benching. If done incorrectly (more common than you’d think) you place your shoulders (particularly your front deltoids) under a lot of stress, which more often than not leads to injury.
- Push your chest out
- Squeeze your shoulder blades nice and hard
- Tuck your elbows in
Tip 2: Increase volume & frequency
Nice and easy. If you’re benching once a week, increase the frequency to twice per week. If your training twice per week, increase the frequency to three times per week. But it is important not to overdo it. Don’t jump from one training session to three training sessions. Be realistic with your volume and frequency increases. Stephen suggests reviewing your numbers every 12-16 weeks. If you’re numbers are lower than Stephen’s (which they generally will be) consider changing these every 4-8 weeks.
Tip 3: Don’t Struggle!
It sounds a bit odd but what Stephen means here is that the emphasis should always be on quality. If your form starts to falter with a few reps left in the set, re-rack the bar, recover, and then begin your next set. The issue with trying to soldier on whilst your muscles are fatigued is that your movement patterns will change as you ‘struggle’ to lift the weight. In the case of the bench press, the primary issue tends to be the elbows flaring out at the sides. If this starts to happen, finish up the set and reset.
Stay tuned for more training and nutrition tips from the legend that is Stephen ‘Screamer’ Manuel.