How do those big dudes in the gym bench so much weight? Do they have superior genetics? Are their torso and arm ratios built for more pressing power? Maybe it is just the way they work their chest following a better routine that helps build more strength?
Or, they could just know the biggest secret of how to increase your bench press.
It’s all about the triceps.
Yup, there you have it; the cat is out of the bag. If you truly want to jack up your bench press totals the first thing you need to do is work on the weakest link in that chain which is the triceps. Think about it; those guys with really big bench press totals have some massive triceps.
Strength Training not Bodybuilding
If you truly want to increase your bench press then you need to focus on actual strength training. Nothing against bodybuilding, but the primary focus of that discipline is to build muscle size and shape with strength gains coming secondarily. Now if you are a bodybuilder, using a strength training routine will not be the end of the world and in fact can still help you achieve your goal because obviously stronger muscles can get bigger too.
But the focus needs to be on building wickedly thick triceps and not worrying as much about the lateral head. While some powerlifters call the lateral head of the triceps the lazy head, neglecting it completely during a workout is not the best practice for overall development. However it will not be emphasized.
Triceps Heavy Lifting
This program is designed around blasting the triceps. Ideally you need to work the arms harder than before, but if you have already been doing a lot of pressing they are worn out, just not in the right way. So this chest and triceps program focuses more on the arms but will still keep your chest involved. Remember, if following this program for a month or two can add 10-20 pounds to your bench then it is worth it.
- Flat Bench Press – 2 sets of 25 reps – This is really just some light sets to warm-up the muscles to be worked.
- Decline Dumbbell Press – 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps – Use 3 sets to work up to your heavy bells then grind out two sets to failure in the 6-8 range.
- Incline Dumbbell Fly – 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps – We won’t neglect the entire chest, but less triceps involved. Use 1 warm-up and 2 work sets
- Dips – 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps – No warm-ups, just all work sets. If you can use your bodyweight then do it, otherwise add weight. Keep your head up and elbows tight together.
- Smith Machine Close Grip Bench Press – 2 sets of 6 to 8 reps – You can use a cage with the pins set at chest height. Use max weight for both sets. After going to absolute failure rest 10 seconds then grind out more reps. Rest another 10 seconds and grind out more reps. Do this for both sets.
- Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions – 2 sets of 12 to 15 reps – They should be screaming now so let’s hit them with higher reps. Lower a single dumbbell behind the head using both hands. Go extremely slow, at least 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up. Both sets are work sets as we can’t get much warmer than this.
- Incline Dumbbell Hammer Extensions – 1 sets of 8 to 12 reps – Lie on an incline bench at 30 degrees with a dumbbell in each hand. Press them straight overhead and face your palms together. Bend at the elbows and lower them on either side of your head and then extend back towards the ceiling. When you can’t do any more reps add 4 reps of slow negatives by flaring your elbows out to press the weight back to the starting position.
There you have it, a brutal routine that focuses on massive triceps training because that is how to increase your bench press. Remember, the triceps are the weakest link in a bench motion and will give out first. That is why we are attacking them full force with intensity and a range of reps and motions.