Plateaus are a common stage for bodybuilders or even people who simply want to gain more muscles. Often, they turn to supplements or increasing the number of days they hit the gym. However, such practice only leads to injury. In this article, I am going to reveal simple techniques you can use in your muscle building routine to surpass your bench press plateau! This will help you gain muscle mass fast!
1. Proper positioning.
Firstly, lets look at how you should position yourself under the bar of weights. Position yourself till your eyes are directly under the bar. This position will help you lift the bar off the rack more efficiently. Strength is often wasted while lifting the bar off the rack due to bad positioning. Struggling to get the bar off may also cause you to lose balance and confidence.
2. Grab the bar with a Firm grip.
A firm grip provides more strength concentration and confidence while doing your repetitions. A firm grip would mean wrapping your thumb around the bar and gripping it real tight. Gripping the bar without a thumb is dangerous and unworthy. Also, grab the bar with your wrists locked by grabbing it at the lower portion of your palms. This prevents your wrists from bending backwards, being unable to transmit strength in your arms.
3. Find your most efficient grip width and arm positions.
It is important to find your most efficient grip width and arm position as it helps you maximize the usage of your stronger muscles. Below is a guide by Fred Hatfield in his book – “Complete guide to power lifting”
Long arms – elbows out, wider grip
Weak front deltoids – elbows out, wider grip
Weak pectorals – elbows in, narrower grip
Weak triceps – elbows out, wider grip
Short arms – elbows in, closer grip
Strong front deltoids – elbows close to torso, narrower grip
Strong pectorals – elbows out, wider grip
Strong triceps – elbows in, closer grip
4. Path that bar travels
The path that your bar travels while you are lifting it affects the amount of strength you have to use for the same number of repetitions. Also, lowering the bar to the lower part of your chest allows your triceps and front deltoids to come up with maximum assistance for your presses. With common sense, we all know that the shortest route is always the straight line. Lower your bar at the position of your nipples or slightly lower. Also, take consciousness of your lifting pattern and lift the bar straight upwards.
Breathing often affects your lifting form although it is usually un-noticed. Breathe out to your abdominals while you are lifting the bar and you will put pressure on your abdominals. This gives you a better form to lifting as you will feel more stable. Also, you can try holding your breath at critical moments.
Example, last repetition of the set while you are struggling.
Visualization is one great method to use your brain power as assistance as it had been proven to work wonders on physical activities. To do proper visualization, imagine yourself lifting a heaier weight for your bench press. Imagine the stress, pain, determination and most importantly, the success in your brains. Try this out and it will help you a lot!
7. Use a spotter
A spotter will assist you a lot in your bench press so never underestimate them! Asking a spotter to help you lift the bar off can save strength for you so that you will have more for your repetitions. Also, a spotter will give you confidence of lifting heavier weights when you know someone will be there even if you fail. Such confidence and assurance of avoiding injury will help you boost your mental strength for the lift.
Follow these techniques and tips to give your bench press a great boost and gain muscle mass on your chest!