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By Jim Smith, CSCS
Massive Muscle Building for Your Chest
Raise your hand if you know how much you bench? I should see all of your hands raised. Whether you have an internet forum record 900 lbs bench or are still trying to slap on 2 plates and press it up, most of us will always want to know ‘How do I get a huge bench?’. Well, it’s not as confusing as it may seem, but it will require some thought. Below you will find 3 areas that are crucial elements toward developing a monster bench and a bullet-proof chest.
1. Press From Every Angle: How many of you bench and bench and bench some more? If you are one of those types, get your butt off the bench and try pressing from different angles. If you are a raw bencher, shoulder and tricep strength is crucial for putting up monster numbers. Military pressing with either dumbbells or a barbell, will help balance out the musculature of the shoulder girdle and also give your triceps a tremendous strength boost. Also, balancing out your horizontal pressing with vertical pressing variations can actually HELP shoulder problems. However, if you shoulder is shot and you can’t kick you bench addiction, incline pressing also gives the anterior delts, pecs, and triceps a good stretch and will help your bench strength.
2. Row to grow: Many people are lacking in posterior muscle strength. I could go on and on about the posterior chain, but for the sake of this article I will keep it condensed to the muscles of the upper back and the lats. The only way you are going to be able to press big weights is if you create a strong and stable foundation from which to bench from. Have you ever gotten a case of the “wobbles”? You know where you unrack the weight and the weight of the bar throws you to one side and you have to counterbalance before you start to bench? Well, that is a lack of stability because of weak lats. Barbell rows, chest-supported rows, DB rows, chins, pull-ups, all will help you develop a huge bench. Generally speaking, I like to perform 2 sets of rows or vertical pulls for every set of pressing I do, including warm up sets. Get your lats thick and strong and watch as PR’s fall on your bench.
3. Pre-Hab work: It’s not sexy or even cool, but you MUST do some sort of shoulder pre-hab work. The muscles of the rotator cuff play a huge role in stabilizing heavy weights when you bench. The weaker they are or become, the more likely you will stall on your bench progress or even worse, get injured. Band external rotations, DB external rotations, really any sort of external rotation, will help you stay healthy and help your quest for a monster bench. Also, do not forget shoulder girdle mobility as well. Band Dislocates, plate halos etc., will help lube up the joints prior to starting your heavy benching.
Well, there you have it. Three action items you must address in order to get your bench moving and get that chest “SWOLE”. Check out below for a way to tie it all together.
A. Band Dislocates: 1 x 12
B. Plate Halos: 2 x 12
1. Bench 5 x 5 2. DB Military Press 3 x 10
3. Chins 3 x max reps (2 min rest between sets)
4. DB Rows 5 x 15
5. Band External Rotations 2 x 20
Jim Smith, CSCS is a highly sought after lecturer, author and renowned strength coach. Jim is an expert for Men’s Fitness and a member of the Elite Fitness Q/A staff. He speaks regularly at clinics, conferences and seminars about the Diesel Method. His distinctive and comprehensive training approach has helped athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all skill levels attain their goals and "Achieve Beyond Potential". Jim is an active student of strength athletics and is always seeking new ways to innovate and provide a unique perspective for gaining muscle, rehabbing injuries, improving performance and building better athletics.