Tips for increasing your bench press are always in high demand. Why? Because people really use this core lift as a benchmark for strength and power. Generally, if you are able to increase your bench press poundage then your overall level of strength has increased as well.
So what is this concept to help increase your bench total? The original idea is called the floor lift. The thought is to bench press while lying on the floor so you only work the upper partial motion of the lift.
Performing a bench press on the floor limits the range of motion severely. Since your arms can’t go past your torso you end up working the mid-range of the motion and the lock-out. For the most part these are the weaker portions of the lift.
Usually when doing a bench press the power is generated at the bottom of the lift and you then explode through the middle portion and finally hit the lock-out. As your muscles get tired it is the lock-out that becomes difficult first and then the middle part of the lift. By focusing only on this short range of motion you can increase the power on the weak links that will then increase your overall power and strength.
While this is a great chest workout it also really hits the triceps hard. This would make a great transition workout between chest and triceps much like dips. Plus it puts less pressure on your shoulder joint because the upper range of motion prevents the lowered angle of the press that can cause some people pain and discomfort.
Doing the Press
Of course doing a bench press on the ground is very impractical. You do not have the safety of a bench with pegs or even the ability to shift the bar to one side or the other. While a 45 pound on each side should offer some protection if the weight becomes too much a better idea is to perform this movement in a workout cage.
Simply set the safety bars of the cage at a height a few inches above your chest when lying on a bench. That way the bar will stop at the appropriate point. Then when pressing, make sure to use a slow pace and simply touch the bar to the safety bars before slowly pressing back up; don’t rest the weight or take the pressure off your muscles.
As an alternative you can use a barbell on the flat floor with hex-style plates. Set up steps or boxes used for cardio on either side under the plates for support. Lie on the ground and wiggle under the bar. The height should be set so your elbows are flat on the ground while grabbing the bar so you can press straight up. Adjust the steps to get as close as possible.
In either case when pressing the legs should not be involved at all. Arching your back will serve no purpose in this lift other than making it dangerous. Sets and reps should be standard to what you do in a normal workout; 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps is a good basic example.
This is a great tip to work on one of the common weak links in the bench press motion. Adding this exercise in to the end of a routine will definitely make a difference but make sure to cut back on regular benching a little so you don’t end up overtraining.