Bench Press More Weight with This Simple Warm-up
Benching the right way and pressing as much weight as you can safely is all about position. More specifically position of the feet, hips, chest, shoulders and upper back – yes, the bench is a full body lift.
If you don’t get into the right position with the shoulders or hips, you will start the lift in a bad position and this will lead to issues (or energy leaks) when you bench press. This means you won’t be able to use as much weight and you could end up injuring your shoulders.
Start in a good position
Stay in a good position
End in a good position
Ideally, if you want to develop your triceps, shoulders, and chest, you must start the movement with your chest up, shoulders back, and feet driving firmly into he ground.
Unfortunately, most athletes and lifters have really tight pecs and internally rotated shoulders. Couple this with weak mid-back muscles – those responsible for scapula function and position – and tight upper back muscles and they won’t be able to get into a good chest up, shoulders back starting position. If they do have these postural dysfunctions and are still able to initially setup properly, they typically lose this position after the first repetition. (see Don’t Press Out of Your Arch article)
By relaxing and dynamically stretching the tight pecs and strengthening the upper back before they bench, athletes and lifters will have a higher probability of setting up better and staying stronger for every repetition.
Here is a simple 3-step sequence.
Step 1: Foam Rolling Chest, Triceps, Lats
This will help to relax the tight chest, triceps, and lats.
Step 2: Dynamic Chest Stretch on Foam Roller
Dynamically stretch the chest while providing some self-myofascial release on the back.
Step 3: Band Resisted “W” to Press
Activate the mid-to-upper back muscles after shoulders have relaxed back into a more neutral position.
Try out this new sequence before your next bench session and let me know how it goes. You could also use these 3 movements in addition to your standard pre-bench warm-up. We also add in either push-ups or high volume bar-only bench presses to finish the sequence, like this:
1) Foam Roll the Chest, Triceps, and Lats x 30-60 sec each area
2) Dynamic Chest Stretch on Foam Roller x 20-30 reps
3) Band Resisted “W” to Press x 20 reps
4) Push-ups or Bar-Only Bench Press x 20 reps (optional)
I’ve also been throwing in this 3D back warm-up, in addition to the warm-up above. Hit this 3-exercise sequence and fire up your entire back.
Exercise 1: “Y” Front Raise
Exercise 2: Posterior Flye (with thumbs in)
Exercise 3: “Y” Extension Row
By Smitty on September 27th, 2013
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