How to Gain 60+ Pounds to Your Bench Press in 12 Weeks

The first thing you want to consider when trying to increase your bench press is your strength ratio. There’s an optimal ratio between pressing and pulling, especially between your elbow extensor and your elbow flexors.

You can assess your strength ratio using an assessment from the Poliquin International Certification Program called the Upper Body Structural Balance Assessment. This assessment will help you determine the strength of your elbow extensors, your elbow flexors, your rotator cuff, as well as your infraspinatus, and teres minor.

Once you go through the structural balance assessment, you’ll have a better idea of your strength ratio, and where your strength deficits are. Then you should focus on strengthening those weak spots, bringing your strength ratio into balance. This is the basis of structural balance training. When you’re structurally balanced, your overall strength potential goes up.

The second thing to consider is pain. A lot of people who have been stuck at a bench press for a long time have quite a bit of pain. When the average NFL athlete comes in, they have not seen an increase in their bench press for three years. On average, an NFL athlete working with us increases their bench press by 65 pounds in 3 months.

So what are we doing to get these results? Over 50% of NFL athletes we work with experience pain in the upper extremities. Any time you have pain in your upper extremity, your brain sends a signal to shut down those movers, keeping them from contracting to their full potential. It’s called neuroinhibition, so the first step is to address the pain. Tackling this upper extremity pain stops the nervous system from sending those signals to limit your output.

Another thing to consider is a lack of variety in your workouts. Athletes who’ve been stuck at their bench press for a long period of time doing the same exercises over and over—Bench Press. Bench Press. Branch Press. Incline. Press. Incline. Press. Incline Press—eventually hit a plateau.

A lot of times, people who are stuck in a rut on the bench press haven’t given themselves any exposure to different stimuli or different exercises, neglecting elbow flexion work, or single arm rowing, which would bring much needed balance into the elbow joint and the shoulder joint. A lack of variety in your program could be exactly the limiting factor keeping you from improving your bench press.

Our last tip is using different training systems. Most of the athletes we train have been training since high school or college and have continued using the exact same training system. The body quickly adapts to a training program. A training system may take longer, but after an athlete’s been doing the same training system for, let’s say, two years, most of those gains have already been realized, and the body has adapted to that system. What you want to consider is using a different training system. There’s a lot of different training systems: there’s a Russian training system, a Bulgarian training system, and an American training system, to name a few. At MECA we use nine different training systems, and all of those training systems can match up to the individual person and create the best training stimulus available to them.

Those are four different techniques we use here at MECA that you can use to see rapid improvement in your bench press.

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