Search for Rippetoes guide to rep ranges and strength, it is an extremely helpful graphic for our argument here. The largest effect on both strength and power occurs at lower rep ranges, below 8, generally somewhere between 3 and 6. What does this mean? No more drop sets, no more burn out sets until infinity, more powerlifting style training. To put it simply, you need to train in the 3-6 rep range to get the best strength and power results. Also remember, you train for strength, you dont test for strength. Going for one rep maxs every week will not help you increase your strength, rather it will be extremely taxing on your central nervous system. Train for the strength, dont test for it.
The bench press, in its infinite glory is not the best exercise to show true strength. The dead lift, the physical act of pulling up as much weight as one can from the ground seems like a more fitting champion. Or what about the Olympic lifts, the movements that are competed on by athletes across the world on the greatest stage? Could even the dip be a more true testament of upper body strength than the bench press? Regardless of any of this, the bench press still holds a lure in our culture, and will for the foreseeable future be the only number that matures to recreational weight lifters. So how can you maximize your effort in the gym to make sure that your bench press numbers keep rising? Here are four simple steps that will surely help you add more weight to the bar. The first step towards getting a bigger bench is to train for a bigger bench. This may seem obvious, and it is obvious, but the most basic principles of weight lifting have been overshadowed by fads, perfect pushup infomercials, and improper information. Getting a bigger bench is simple, and it requires one relatively easy step: train like a powerlifter.
In addition to the floor press you are going to want to hammer your triceps with a few other presses to really make them stronger. The close grip bench press is the same as the bench press, just with a closer grip. Your hands do not need to be extremely close to reap the benefits of this exercise, and going to close can actually cause wrist pain and inhibit you from going as heavy as you can. A width similar to that of the man below will work just fine for our goals. Keep your elbows in, and perform full reps. Train moderately heavy like above. The Tate press is a great finishing exercise for your bench training days. The Tate press simulates a bench press but only engages your triceps. We still want to go heavy here, but not quite as much, think 8-10 reps per set.
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