The Body You Want
Follow these four tips to
instantly add pounds
to your bench.
The standard bench press works perfectly
well for packing on lean mass. But if you
want to move some serious iron, try pressing
like Gene Rychlak, the first person to bench
more than 1,000 pounds. “With powerlifting,
the focus is on recruiting as many muscles
as possible, not just those in the upper body,”
says Mike Robertson, M.S., C. S.C.S., of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training, a former
assistant coach to the USA World Bench
Press Team. The result is a stronger bench
press and a greater metabolic burn. Start
by benching just the bar, and then add more
weight once you become more comfortable
with the form. —MICHAEL EAS TER
1 ARCH YOUR BACK
You’re probably used to lying on the bench
like you do on your sofa—flat. “Arching your
back shortens your stroke [the distance
you move the weight],” says Robertson. The
shorter the distance, the more you can lift.
As you arch your back, drive your shoulders
into the bench and squeeze them together.
2 PLAN T YOUR FEET
Pressing power doesn’t come only from
your chest and arms. Push through your
heels to drive up the weight. “It seems
crazy, but it can add serious numbers to
your bench,” says Robertson.
3 KEEP YOUR ELBOWS IN
Hold your elbows close to your body throughout the move. By doing this, you reduce the
load on your shoulders and help engage
your lats, increasing stability and strength.
4 ARC THEBAR
Lower the bar in a J-shaped arc from above
your chest (the starting position) to about
2 inches below your nipples. Reverse the arc
to push it back up. Moving the bar straight up
and down—as most guys do—might follow
a shorter path, but arcing it better engages
your shoulders, increasing muscular power
and the amount of weight you can press.