Have you reached a bench press plateau? Can’t seem to break through and power beyond a certain weight? If so, this article is definitely for you. When it comes to repetitious and routine training, we all get stagnant at times. Sometimes progress is slower than you’d like despite your efforts. But in this article, we’ll discuss the strategies and proven methods that will not only help you break through plateaus, but will also help you attain personal goals and achieve optimal gains.
Find Your One Rep Max
First, let’s discuss how to work to increase your one rep max. The first step is to discover your max. On a good day when you’re well rested and after a couple of warm-up sets, find your one rep max. Step two is to chart your progress. The things involved in step two are key because these are the methods of success. After finding your max, you’ll calculate 85% of that number and this will be the weight that you’ll work with. You most likely won’t be able to do more than three reps with this weight but don’t worry.
The objective of this is to get your muscles acclimated to heavier weights. This is conducive to muscle hypertrophy. After all, you must lift heavy to get bigger and stronger. And since increasing your one rep max is your focus, its imperative that more emphasis is placed on this muscle group. With that in mind, we’ll designate chest day twice a week; preferably on Monday and Friday. This will give the muscles adequate rest between workouts.
Add In Variety
Along with lifting heavy, adding variety is another important factor in muscle development. To prevent any parts of your chest and triceps (push muscles) from lagging, you must hit the muscles from all angles. That means incorporating different exercises and movements into your chest workout; things like the incline bench for upper chest development; dips for chest and tricep emphasis; dumbbells for isolation of the pecs; flyes for the outer chest and overall chest stimulation. These movements along with the standard flat bench press will prevent areas of weakness and help you to attain a complete chest.
Love The Process
Step three is to fall in love with the process. We all know that progress is the greatest motivator, so it’s important that you put in the necessary work and stay the course. It’s also important that you celebrate your progress so that you can continue to attain new personal records and get even bigger and stronger. As you continue to get stronger, its critical that you continue to record your one rep max periodically. Doing this will increase your workload constantly and you will see your progress easily.
Feed Your Muscles
Increasing your max works hand in hand with breaking through plateaus of any kind when it comes to weight training. There are two basic steps to breaking through. The first is the combination of diet, training and supplementation. These factors are the keys to success. They promote health, growth, and muscle hypertrophy. This includes the two most important meals of the day; breakfast to kickstart your metabolism and your post-workout meal to feed your muscles and to prevent them from going into a catabolic state. Feeding your muscles within 30 minutes of exercise is imperative. This time frame is know as the “Anabolic Window”.
Don’t Get Stagnant
The perfect way to prevent reaching a plateau in weight lifting is to not get stagnant. Don’t allow yourself to get into a comfort zone. Use an integrated approach to weight training. As your muscles become acclimated to a certain weight, increase the workload. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Vary your routine by changing the way you workout. Incorporate drop sets by doing multiple sets in one and add strip sets to get that added intensity. Do supersets to hit multiple muscle groups.
In summary, increasing your one rep max on the bench press and breaking through plateaus go hand in hand. Always strive for progress and enjoy the journey. If you put in the work, the results will come. Break out of the norm and be awesome. Besides, we workout to be different so make your workouts different. Enjoy your gains.