A stalled bench press could result from factors like insufficient progressive overload, incorrect form, muscle imbalances, inadequate recovery, or monotony in the training routine.
Evaluating these aspects, adjusting your approach, and seeking guidance from professionals can help reignite progress and overcome the plateau.
In this guide, we’ll highlight some key insights about this matter.
Main Reasons Why Your Bench Press Isn’t Improving
There are several reasons or factors included to hinder bench press improvement. Explore the reasons below and take action accordingly for a better bench press.
Lack of Progressive Overload
Not gradually increasing the weight you lift over time can lead to a plateau in strength gains. Your muscles need a continuous challenge to adapt and grow stronger.
Incorrect form can limit your progress and even result in injuries. Focus on maintaining proper bench press form, including your grip, bar path, and body positioning.
If you’re not doing enough sets and reps, your muscles might not be getting the stimulation they need to grow. Increasing the volume of your bench press workouts can help break through a plateau.
Neglecting Assistance Exercises
Bench press involves multiple muscle groups. Neglecting exercises that target supporting muscles like triceps, shoulders, and upper back can hinder overall bench press progress.
Muscles need time to recover and grow stronger after intense workouts. Lack of proper rest and recovery can lead to overtraining and stalled progress.
A lack of proper nutrition, especially protein, can hinder muscle growth and recovery. Ensure you’re fueling your body with the right nutrients to support your strength training.
Lack of Variation
Doing the same bench press routine repeatedly can cause your body to adapt and plateau. Incorporating different variations and training techniques can provide new stimuli for growth.
Stress and Sleep
High-stress levels and inadequate sleep can negatively impact your strength gains. Stress hormones like cortisol can interfere with muscle growth, and sleep is essential for recovery.
Irregular workouts can disrupt your progress. Consistency is crucial for building strength and muscle over time.
Ignoring Weak Points
Failing to address specific weaknesses or sticking points in your bench press can hinder overall progress. Identify and target these weak areas with focused exercises.
Inadequate warm-up can affect your performance and risk injury. Spend sufficient time warming up your muscles before attempting heavy bench press sets.
Lack of Mind-Muscle Connection
Focusing on the mind-muscle connection can help you engage the right muscles more effectively during the lift, leading to better results.
Overreliance on Bench Press
While bench press is a fundamental exercise, solely relying on it for chest development might not yield optimal results. Incorporate other chest exercises for balanced growth.
Inadequate Program Design
A well-structured training program should have clear goals, periodization, and appropriate progression. A poorly designed program can hinder progress.
Underlying medical conditions, injuries, or mobility limitations can impact your bench press performance. Consult a medical professional or a qualified trainer if you suspect such issues.
Ways to Improve Bench Press Performance
Let’s explore actionable strategies that promise to refine your bench press and boost your strength gains to new heights.
Prioritize Progressive Overload
To build strength, gradually increase the weight you lift over time. This principle of progressive overload challenges your muscles to adapt and grow stronger.
Start with a weight you can comfortably lift for your desired rep range (e.g., 8-10 reps), and once you can perform that range with proper form, incrementally add weight.
This consistent progression stimulates muscle growth and strength gains.
Focus on Proper Technique
Bench press form is crucial for both safety and effectiveness. Ensure your grip width is appropriate (usually slightly wider than shoulder-width), keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, and maintain a slight arch in your lower back.
Lower the bar to your mid-chest, allowing your elbows to flare out slightly, and press it back up in a controlled manner. Engage your chest, shoulders, and triceps throughout the movement.
Introducing variations to your bench press routine can prevent plateaus and stimulate muscle growth from different angles.
Include exercises like incline bench press, decline bench press, dumbbell bench press, and close-grip bench press. These variations target different muscle fibers and can lead to well-rounded strength development.
Strengthen Supporting Muscles
A strong bench press relies on not just your chest but also your triceps, shoulders, and upper back. Incorporate accessory exercises that target these muscles.
Skull crushers, overhead presses, and rows are examples of exercises that can enhance your bench press by improving overall upper body strength and stability.
Optimize Recovery and Nutrition
Proper recovery and nutrition are essential for muscle growth and performance improvement. Prioritize quality sleep to aid in recovery and hormone regulation.
Consume a balanced diet rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to provide your muscles with the necessary nutrients for repair and growth. Stay hydrated to support optimal muscle function.
Remember that improving your bench press takes time and consistency. Here are a few additional tips
- Warm-Up Prioritize a thorough warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints for heavy lifting. This can include light cardio, dynamic stretches, and light sets of bench presses with increasing weights.
- Rest Periods Allow sufficient rest between sets to recover and maintain strength throughout your workout.
- Mind-Muscle Connection Concentrate on engaging the targeted muscles during the lift. Visualize the movement and feel the muscles working to enhance your connection with them.
- Record and Track Progress Keep a workout journal to track your weights, reps, and sets. This helps you monitor your progress and identify patterns that can guide adjustments in your training program.
- Seek Guidance Consider working with a certified personal trainer or strength coach. Their expertise can ensure proper form, program design, and progression tailored to your goals and abilities.
6 Exercises That Help Increasing Bench Press
Unlocking a stronger bench press requires more than sheer determination. It demands a well-rounded approach that includes targeted exercises to fortify the muscles involved. Delve into a selection of exercises meticulously designed to enhance your bench press, enabling you to overcome limitations and achieve new levels of strength and performance.
1. Close-Grip Bench Press
The close-grip bench press is a bench press variation where the hands are positioned closer together on the barbell. This narrower grip shifts the emphasis from the chest to the triceps.
It’s a highly effective exercise for targeting the triceps muscles, which play a crucial role in the lockout phase of the bench press.
The close-grip bench press helps strengthen the triceps and can aid in breaking through sticking points in your bench press progression. Incorporating this variation can enhance overall upper body strength and contribute to improved bench press performance.
2. Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press is a strength-training exercise that involves lifting a barbell or dumbbell while lying on an inclined bench set at an angle of around 15 to 45 degrees. This variation primarily targets the upper chest muscles (a clavicular portion of the pectoralis major) and the front deltoids.
By emphasizing the upper chest, the incline bench press complements the standard bench press, contributing to a well-rounded chest development.
Incorporating incline bench presses can enhance muscle balance, improve upper body strength, and ultimately support gains in your overall bench press performance.
3. Dumbbell Press
The dumbbell press is a versatile upper-body exercise that enhances chest strength and muscle balance. It involves pressing a pair of dumbbells upward from chest level to full arm extension.
Dumbbell presses offer benefits over barbell presses by allowing each arm to work independently, addressing muscle imbalances.
This exercise engages not only the chest but also the triceps and shoulders, contributing to overall upper-body development. By incorporating dumbbell presses, you can promote symmetrical strength and improve your bench press performance while reducing the risk of muscle imbalances.
4. Overhead Press
The overhead press, also known as the shoulder press, is a fundamental strength-training exercise that primarily targets the deltoid muscles of the shoulders. It involves lifting a weight (usually a barbell or dumbbell) from shoulder level to a fully extended position overhead.
The overhead press not only develops shoulder strength but also engages the triceps and upper chest. This exercise contributes to overall upper body strength, stability, and shoulder health, making it a valuable addition to routines aimed at improving bench press performance.
Dips are a compound bodyweight exercise that effectively targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. They involve lowering and lifting your body between parallel bars or surfaces.
Dips are particularly valuable for increasing bench press strength because they engage the triceps, a crucial muscle group for the bench press lockout phase.
By adding weighted dips to your routine, you can enhance triceps strength, leading to improved performance in both the bench press and other pressing movements.
6. Rows (Bent-Over Rows or Seated Rows)
Rows, such as bent-over rows and seated rows, are essential compound exercises that target the muscles of the upper back and rear shoulders.
Bent-over rows involve bending at the hips while holding a barbell or dumbbell, engaging the lats and rhomboids. Seated rows, typically performed on a cable machine, strengthen the mid-back and rear deltoids.
These exercises play a critical role in stabilizing the bench press movement, improving overall upper body strength, and preventing muscle imbalances.
Incorporating rows into your routine contributes to a well-rounded and effective approach to increasing bench press performance.
Feeling bench press in the shoulder can result from improper form, excessive shoulder engagement, or incorrect grip width. Inadequate warm-up and weak supporting muscles can also contribute. Ensuring proper technique, grip width, and overall shoulder stability can help alleviate this issue.
A bench press can be incorporated into a 30-day fitness challenge. However, it’s important to approach this challenge with caution and proper planning.
A 30-day challenge can provide a short-term boost, but long-term progress requires a more comprehensive approach that includes balanced training, progressive overload, and proper recovery.
To increase your bench press, focus on progressive overload by gradually increasing weight and reps.
Maintain proper form, engage in supplementary exercises targeting the chest, triceps, and shoulders, ensure adequate nutrition, prioritize recovery, and maintain a consistent training routine. Patience and consistency are key to achieving higher bench press strength.
Whether 60 kg is considered a good bench press depends on factors like your weight, age, and fitness level.
It can be a decent starting point for some, while others may aim for higher weights. Focus on gradual progress and individual improvement rather than comparison with others.
Bench press strength gains take time due to several factors. Muscles need to adapt and grow stronger, which requires consistent training and progressive overload. Recovery is crucial for muscle repair and growth.
Genetics, age, and individual differences play a role. To safely build strength, focus on proper technique, balanced training, nutrition, and rest, understanding that gradual progress leads to sustainable results.
When faced with the frustration of a stagnant bench press, it’s essential to recognize that progress in strength training is a journey requiring patience, dedication, and a strategic approach.
So know why the bench press not increasing and solve the problem immediately.