You gotta push! We’ve all heard that saying before. And yes, I am talking about the bench press. The problem is, most people don’t start that push until too late. The bar hits that wall, starts to fall back to your chest, or worse, you’re bouncing and skipping the most important part. This post is simple at heart, but may be difficult to apply.
To get the most out of your training, you can’t cut corners. The easiest corner to cut is your range of motion (ROM). Sometimes, you physically can’t get all the way down because you either are not strong enough or you have limitations that won’t allow it. If the latter is the case, accept it and train to that ROM. But if you are not strong enough, than you have your remedy right in front of you. Remove weight from the bar until you can successfully lower the bar all the way to your chest and push it back up. There you go, that’s it. Simple, right?
But what this really takes is a focus on that transition from lowering to pushing. This goes for every exercise, too. When it comes to changing the direction of the bar, you need to add power at that exact moment. Too many people bounce at the bottom, removing tension from the lift and praying their muscles catch on the way up to finish the push. That initial push might feel difficult at first, but that’s why you are in the gym. You are challenging yourself to get better.
The push is the start of the contraction of your pec muscles. But this “push” also applies to every exercise or movement. Stop bouncing at the bottom of your squat, make sure you have full tension before you pull that deadlift up for rep 2 or 3 or whatever, come all the way down on your chin-up, go all the way down on your pushup! If you have trouble with that, than you either need to FOCUS on that transition point, or you need lower the load you’re using. Train every rep, no matter the weight, with perfect form.
Controlling your weight down and exploding through the contraction is for every client. For the big lifters, athletes, fat burners, and even the clients looking to stay healthy and live without pain. Your joints will be happier, you’ll get more out of your workout, and it will help build strong muscles that move real weight.
Max Effort week is right around the corner, and these tips and tricks will help you set new personal bests. Get after it, and don’t forget to PUSH!