How To Break A Bench Press Plateau

The bench, one of the most beloved and most uncomfortable lifts that can be done in the gym. Weightlifting journeys often begin on the bench, and ironically, they’re also often stuck on the bench. As for moves that incorporate weights, weight training can be one of the hardest exercises to do at times. Deadlifts and squats can sometimes be difficult to do, but they tend to be a bit easier to do when grinding through grips and planes. On the other hand, the bench is a completely different animal. This movement requires precision and obvious fine-tuning when the new 1RMs are on the horizon. work through. Even so, there are some useful accessories and training methods that are worth trying again and again when it comes to getting over the bench press.

Have you really reached the plateau?


Before going any further, let’s make one thing clear: The plateau isn’t defined as a bad day or two in the gym on a given lift. Too often, new lifters have a bad day and assume they’ve settled on a particular lift, and that’s often far from reality.Bench PressPhoto by Maksim Toome / ShutterstockThere are many different factors that can contribute to a day or two of “inactivity” like stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, depression and those are the other leading factors in life. Now, if your bench press has been stagnant for a few months and you just can’t seem to get past a certain number whether it’s due to physical strength or mental obstacles, then you have a case for legit bench press. When performing any of the techniques below, it’s important to be objective about your current lifting state and really assess if you need to change things up. Technical bench plateau press machine

Overall Press Plateau

Typical problems: Old programming, lack of foundational strength, lagging muscle groups.

1. Avoid weights and choose weights

One way to get over the bench press is to actually avoid using barbells during a full micro or medium training cycle. Instead of doing the bench press, make the bench press into your main movement on your press day. Not only can this provide a mental boost to the bench press, but it can also be a great way to focus on and highlight weaknesses with the bench press variation. reserve seat.Dumbbells provide some unique benefits on the bench that dumbbells just can’t.

  • First, they allow you to move with a slightly greater range of motion, which can help increase the muscle tension needed on the bench.
  • Second, they are performed unilaterally, so they can help highlight an imbalance in the weakness of one side that is the bench.
  • Third, weights can be helpful when trying to give the shoulder joint (glenohumeral) a little rest and recovery. You can hold the weights neutral, performing them with a regular bench grip or diagonally to accommodate potential shoulder problems.
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If you choose bench presses in a micro/meso cycle, you can still use bench press variations (incline and down), but do so sparingly. Save your body for proper rest and recovery.

  • Dumbbell Press Guide and Programming Recommendations

2. Substitute more often and change reps

SWhat’s interesting about the bench press is how it responds to higher-volume training. Of the big three movements (squat, bench press, and deadlift), the bench press is often suggested to respond better to higher training volumes and more exposure. The training volume is higher and its benefits can vary from athlete to athlete, but the bench is a technically demanding move, so it makes sense when you consider exposure. higher facilitates better bench improvement.To improve the bench press overall, then strength, power, and hypertrophy should all be considered. All of these factors play a role together when it comes to weight generation, and if one is out of sync, the others can be affected.

  • How to Bench Press with Programming Considerations

On the bench, don’t be afraid to play around with different rep schemes and intensities. Often, a plateau is simply the manifestation of an exhausted plan of representation and intensity. For example, if you’ve been lifting weights linearly for 12 weeks in a row for 5 sets and suddenly hit a wall, switch your reps and play with different intensities to train the ice press bench in a different way (strength, relative strength, hypertrophy, etc.).Remember, if you suddenly change the intensity and rep of the bench – build a plan based on that. This can help you progress in the direction of your new change, rather than simply focusing on a day of repetition/intensity here and there.

3. 1 1/4 reps

1 1/4 rep is another great tool for building capacity to work and work through the plateaus. This representation diagram is useful when you need to rigorously build your work capacity on the bench. To do the 1 1/4 bench press, you would lower the barbell to your chest, press halfway, bring the bar back to your chest, then complete the press and hold. You can do 1 1/4 reps with both dumbbells and barbells, and this makes them useful for strengthening the bench press on many fronts. If you choose to do 1 1/4 reps, be sure to turn the intensity down a bit to deal with the additional workload.

Stuck in the chest

Typical problems: Weak pectoral muscles, inappropriate form and poor loading mechanism.

4. Spoto Presses

If you find that your chair press stagnates in the first extra rib cage, then take a couple of weeks and try making Spoto Presses into your routine. This exercise is often recommended by strength coach and strength athlete Jonnie Candito – and for good reason. The Spoto Press requires a normal press, but instead of bringing the bar close to your chest, you stop the bar and pause. requires lifters to focus on two key factors. First, it helps to increase the overall tension of the body during bench press, which is the basic key to success, especially when starting to shoot. If the upper body loses its tightness, the solid foundation that is being pressed up is essentially useless.Second, it promotes attention to tempo and total muscle contractions. The Spoto Press enhances the accuracy of conventional bench presses by asking athletes to slow down and ensure they are pausing correctly. In turn, this is understandable where journalism can be difficult. For example, if you notice you stop at the bottom and the triceps are just burning, while the upper body is relatively uninhibited (chests, hamstrings, etc.), you’re probably contracting and stretching. improper hand.

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5. Pause and Pause

If you compete in powerlifting, then you probably know the tempo and pause too well when on the bench. Tempo and pause are extremely powerful tools for building a powerful bench press. In tempo training, the intensity is often slightly reduced to follow a specific load pattern and timeline. For anyone new to pacing, there will be three (sometimes four) numbers attached to the lift and will resemble the example below,Bench Press 3 x 5 – Tempo: 311

  • 3 = 3 seconds off-center (lower)
  • 1 = 1 second pause at the end
  • 1 = 1 second concentric (press)

*Note, if a fourth number is used, it is used to indicate the hold at the beginning of a movement. This fourth number is most useful for pulls like chin-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups. ability to transfer force into the eccentric rod and into the bench and then transfer that force to the rod. Tempo can also be helpful to promote proper form and a consistent number of repetitions. In addition to pacing, you can also pause in bench press mode to get through an extra-thoracic fixation. Pausing means using tempo, and can help facilitate weight retention and be aware of the dynamics of where you might be short of breath in front of your chest. If you’re new to pausing, start with a lighter intensity and try to maintain a strict pause.

6. Dead Stop Bench Press

The die bench press is another useful tool for dealing with the fixation at the bottom of the bench press. To perform the dead stop bench press, you’ll place the squat rack barbell about 1-3 inches from your chest so the bar doesn’t come into contact with your body. Once you have placed under the barbell, then you just press from the stop position. As opposed to allowing you to load eccentrically, Die bench presses focus on building concentric strength with absolutely no momentum or extended shortening cycles. This can help promote better starting posture on the bench and improve your ability to generate power through the barbell, since you’re really not motivated to do so.

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Stuck when locked

Typical problems: Delayed triceps, inappropriate form, poor compression mechanism.

7. Floor presses and cabinet lockers

A plateau issue that causes reverberation when locking the bench press may be due to lagging triceps endurance. Two great benchtop variations for building stronger triceps are floor presses and racquet locks. Floor presses use the floor as a stopping point during pressing, so your range of motion is cut in half.By cutting the range of motion in half, the triceps are then forced to act as the main driving force for the entire exercise., can help improve the lock condition. Alternatively, you can usually load the floor press a little heavier than your standard bench press, or do it with a higher number of repetitions to reap the benefits.

  • Floor Press Guide and Programming Tips

Rack lockout is similar to dead stop on the bench, but the pressure will start much higher than the body. In general, locking the holder will start at a height that allows the elbow joint to be at a 90-degree angle or greater. This allows you to get the maximum load of the ice press as the range of motion is 50% or less than normal. Plus, the triceps will get a lot of work, as they’re the main driving force when locking the bench press.

8. Heavy duty bench press holder

The heavy bench is one of the elite athletes and world record holder Jen Thompson’s favorite accessories for building a big press. This entails taking a super max weight from the rack and simply keeping it locked to hit the timing target. In our underrated weightlifting accessory article, Thompson recommends taking around 150% of your current RM1 and keeping it locked for about 15 seconds. First, always use a locator to lift the weight and place the bar back on the rack safely. Second, scale your time-oriented goals according to your fitness level. If you’re new to this exercise, choose a shallower time goal like 5 or 10 seconds.


Sometimes the best way to beat a bench press plateau is to just hit more. If that doesn’t work and you’re still struggling to improve, it might be time to objectively assess where you might be falling short on the bench. Instead of looking at the big picture, try to pinpoint exactly where the problem lies, then work backwards from there! Featured image from Maksim Toome / Shutterstock.

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