Improving bench press strength
We share some of the most important advice about how to improve your bench press strength

What to know about improving bench press strength

SPC Performance Lab Taren Point Gym for powerlifting coaching bench press

At our private strength training gym in Taren Point we have lots of people visiting us from around the Sutherland Shire because of the environment we have created that is welcoming & focussed on helping people build strength. One of the ways that some people choose to do this is by doing bench presses. Improving bench press strength can offer a variety of benefits that include muscle building around the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It is also a compound exercise, meaning it works multiple muscle groups at once, so it can potentially lead to balanced muscle development. While many people do it because they are interested in powerlifting a specialty of our gym.

What are the advantages of bench strength?

Firstly, the most obvious advantage is being strong on bench press. This might be for personal reasons/confidence or to get into or improve one’s powerlifting performance. In general life, upper body strength can help you better perform daily tasks such as lifting objects, lifting your body if you fall, pulling yourself up, etc. From an aesthetic point of view, bench pressing can help increase the size of your chest, triceps and shoulders.

At SPC Performance Lab you can get personal one-on-one coaching at our gym or you can choose to get online coaching sessions for Powerlifting, Strength Training or Body Building. 

How important is core strength for bench press?

Not very important. There is little loading on the spine during a bench press. Likewise, there is very little balance involved.

Should I increase my bench press?

Depends on your goals. You do not need to bench press. If you want to be good at bench pressing, you bench press. Training adaptations are specific to the exercise performed. If you want general strength to carry over to daily tasks, perform movements that mimic the task you want to get stronger at. For example, if you want to be stronger at picking up the shopping and walking, pick up dumbbells and walk. If you want to get better at walking upstairs, do step-ups, etc.

SPC Performance Lab provides a free gym trial so that you can see if we are a good fit for your workout goals. No catches, no gimmicks, no contracts. Just try our gym out

Why can’t I increase my bench press?

This is a complex question, and many variables may contribute to why you cannot increase your bench press strength. For a specific answer, contact the coaches at SPC Performance Lab to discuss here because we provide a free initial consult to help answer any questions you may have.

However, here are some general reasons why you cannot increase your bench press

  • You’re doing too little volume / not enough sets
  • You’re doing too much volume / too many sets
  • Your technique is not efficient
  • Your training has no structure, and you max out every session
  • You’re training to failure all the time
  • You only bench press and do not perform any accessory exercises to support increasing strength
  • You need to gain more muscle in your chest, triceps and shoulders
  • You need to eat more food to support gaining more muscle

Why use a bench press to increase strength?

You do not need to bench press to increase strength. Increasing strength is specific to the exercise being performed. If you bench press, you will get stronger at bench pressing and other movements that simulate bench pressing, such as pushing-type movements.

However, bench pressing is a good exercise to improve overall pushing strength as it allows a high amount of weight to be used as it is a stable exercise. You use both arms at one time, you are lying flat on your back and holding a single barbell. This is unlike a dumbbell bench press where both arms can freely move, so stability reduces the load that can be pushed relative to a barbell bench press.

Why is my bench press so weak?

This is a complex question, and many variables may contribute to why you cannot increase your bench press strength. For a specific answer, contact the coaches at SPC Performance Lab to discuss here because we provide a free initial consult to help answer any questions you may have.

However, here are some general reasons why you cannot increase your bench press

  • You’re doing too little volume / not enough sets
  • You’re doing too much volume / too many sets
  • Your technique is not efficient
  • Your training has no structure, and you max out every session
  • You’re training to failure all the time
  • You only bench press and do not perform any accessory exercises to support increasing strength
  • You need to gain more muscle in your chest, triceps and shoulders
  • You need to eat more food to support gaining more muscle

What kg amount is a good bench press?

This is relative to the individual and scales to body weight. The bigger the person, the more likely they can bench press heavier weight. Below is data from 21,963 power-lifters who competed in the USAPL federation between January 1, 2012 and June 11 2016 showing the median and maximum weight lifted for each weight class.

Table of median and maximum weight lifting per weight class in Powerlifting

How much can a person normally bench press?

Below is data from 21,963 power-lifters who competed in the USAPL federation between January 1, 2012 and June 11 2016 showing the median and maximum weight lifted for each weight class.

Table of median and maximum weight lifting per weight class in Powerlifting

Is benching 2 plates impressive?

This is subjective on what someone perceives as impressive and will also differ depending on the size and gender. For example, a 50kg female bench pressing 100kg is strong and will be a high-level powerlifter. In contrast, a 100kg male bench pressing 100kg will not be strong relative to powerlifting standards.

How much should I bench for my age?

There is no amount of weight you ‘should’ be benching for your age, and this will differ depending on gender, size and body limb proportions, which each are mostly out of your control. Rather than worrying about how much you should be benching, focus on getting stronger at a pace relative to you and nobody else. Some people are naturally strong at bench pressing and can rapidly progress with little effort. In contrast, others are less naturally strong on the bench press and progress slowly.

How to bench press for strength?

This is a very complex question; an entire book can be written on improving bench press strength. To overcome specific issues you may be having, For a specific answer, contact the coaches at SPC Performance Lab to discuss here because we provide a free initial consult to help answer any questions you may have.

However, here is a list of general suggestions;

  • Don’t train to failure all the time
  • Don’t do too little volume
  • Don’t do too much volume
  • Start with bench press as you first exercise
  • Bench-press at least twice per week
  • Perform accessory exercises to support increasing bench press strength such as increasing strength and size in your shoulders and triceps
  • Use a variety of repetition ranges
  • Do not change your workout each week. Create a program, follow it for at least 4 weeks, and then modify it. Changing things too often reduces your body’s ability to adapt to a training stimulus
  • Gain more muscle in your chest, triceps and shoulders
  • Eating in a calorie surplus is optimum for increasing muscle size which can potentiate strength gains
  • Learn how to perform a bench press efficiently, we have a complete guide on how to bench press below
  • Hire a coach to check and optimise your technique and write you a program that is specific to your needs. We offer a choice of in person coaching in our gym or online sessions.
 

Summary

So there you have it, an overview about bench strength? Although if you are still wanting more information I am also available for either a free consult or to get coaching. 

Paul Attard
Paul Attard

Paul is the founder and head coach of SPC Performance Lab. Paul has been coaching since 2014 and has worked with all different types of people. From first timers learning the basics, all the way up to the experienced power-lifting competitors.

He tailors his approach depending on the needs, goals and experience of the individual. Paul has extensive theoretical and practical coaching experience.

- Masters of Sports & Exercise Science (Strength & Conditioning)
- Bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sports Science with First Class Honours
- Competed and won multiple natural body-building shows & power-lifting competitions.
- Held an Australian power-lifting record.

Free advice

SPC Performance Lab is a gym in Taren Point in the Sutherland Shire, Sydney NSW. It is a private gym that offers strength training, powerlifting and body building training. The gym is open 24 hours, 7 days a week with membership options that include casual or regular visits.

Paul also provides a choice of personal training one on one or the option of online coaching.

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