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6 Ways to Blast Through Your Bench Plateau

Encountering a halt in bench progress can be frustrating. Here are 6 ways to blast through your bench plateau:

  1. Improve Technique: When it comes to moving the most weight possible on any lift, the goal should be to lift with the most efficient technique. Better technique will make your lift more efficient and make it possible to produce as much force as possible to the bar. It will also dramatically reduce your risk of injury.

  2. Increase Pressing Volume and Frequency: Lifting is a skill, and if you want to get better at something, you need to do it more. Add in an extra pressing day or a couple of extra sets, even at lighter loads. This will allow you to improve your skill, and the extra day can lead to more hypertrophy/strength gain.

  3. Variations: Get stronger in multiple pressing exercises. If you improve on other variations of pressing, this will cross over to your main bench press. Get better at feet-up benching, incline pressing, overhead press, and dumbbell pressing. If you get stronger on variations or your accessory work, it will cross over to your main bench.

  4. Periodization: Periodization is a great tool, especially if you have been training for a while. If you are only hitting 5x5 on bench press year-round and your progress is stalling, it might be time to change things up. Try dropping the weight and spending a period building on sets of 8-10 or cycling other pressing exercises instead of the regular bench.

  5. Work on Mobility: Improving your mobility will allow you to get into a better position on the bench. Spend time on improving your thoracic (upper back) mobility; this will allow you to create a bigger arch for a shorter range of motion on the bench.

  6. Accessory Work: Give your accessory work more attention; spend time strengthening your back, arms, and shoulders. Aim to get better at all of your accessory exercises, and the added strength and hypertrophy gained here will cross over to a bigger bench.

A shortcut to getting all this done is to get a coach who understands all of this and can program accordingly based on your needs and goals. Now, go lift something heavy!

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