How to Bench More

How to Bench More

3 comments / Posted on by Andrew Jansen

How to Bench More

Bench seems to be the hardest for powerlifters, and oddly, seems to be the easiest for 'gym bros/gals'.

In years past, there was almost a odd pride in have a bad bench (is team povo bench still a thing?).

In any event, bench uses many principles that differ from squat and deadlift, so here are some practical tips.


To bench more, bench more

One a week is the most arbitrary model ever, very few people need a full week to recover from a bench session.

Tip 1 - bench twice a week, but use two differing modalities

Bench modalities

For whatever reason, bench seems to need multiple stimulus, and more reps that squats or deads. To go back to basics, the three modalities to increase strength are

1. Max effort (ie, low reps, high intensity)

2. Repeated effort (ie, bodybuilding style reps)

3. DE - Dynamic Effort

For almost all beginners and intermediates, putting in a second rep day with bodybuilding style will hugely assist. We're talking 60-70%, couple reps shy of failure 4-20 reps, 5-10 sets of 3 to 4 exercises.

Ie, bench rep day

1. Bench - 3 sets of 8-12 at 60%

2. Flat DB press  - 3 sets of 8-12 at 60%

3. Incline DB press -  - 3 sets of 8-12 at 60%

So above is 9 sets all going below 8rpe - with 1-3 minutes rest.


Use Kit

Wrist wraps aren't mandatory, but they help a lot in consistency. If you are on a slippy bench, you have three options

1. the ole band trick, grab some band from the gym and put them in a cross

2. the ole $1 store rubber matt electrical taped to the bench when nobody is looking trick

3. A A7 shirt that will make you stick

Even really good benchers are super weak on a bench that slips


Learn to leg drive

Its not as hard as people think. Here is a short list

1. Sit, get both your shoulders down and back

2. Fall back to the bench, dont smash your head on the bar (we've all done it once)

3. Try to get the nape of your neck to the bench, using your legs to push the weight up there

4. The motion is pure kick, lick a leg extension

5. Once your neck is down - flex your but and keep extending the leg

6. Some people like to consciously push knees out at the same time


Train your weak points - but not in replacement of the above

You should overall just aim to get stronger, and realise that all problems are resolved by being stronger.

A bad lockout isn't always triceps, its also you got there slow and grinded off the bottom and slowed through the midway point.

Doing a bunch of tricep work instead of benching is bad, doing some extra accessories is good.

We would recommend the follow 'weak point' accessories

  • Slow off the chest - Dynamic Effort work and also long pause work
  • Instable bar - Front raises and delt work (rear laterals)
  • Two inches off the chest stop - lat rows (your lats are huge in bench)
  • Lockout issues - Floor press or block press


Things that don't help much

Doing lots of touch and go (especially with a bounce) does not have a great carryover. Close grips are awesome for triceps, but don't really carry over to a great bench.






  • Posted on by Darcy

    Good basic info sheet on bench, my tips are practice form everyday, find your grip width, practice your arch and control the eccentric.

  • Posted on by Lesley

    Love your tips and form .

  • Posted on by Geoff Langdale

    Good points guys. I did a 12 week cycle with tons of close grip bench press one time and got really good at close grip bench presses. Was very excited to test out my flat bench 1RM at the end of it (which was “obviously” going to get better now that I had solved my supposed triceps weak point) and it was pretty much the same. Majoring in the minors as Dan John says.

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