The bench press is a pretentious slut.
It reminds me of women that are with you only for the money and leave you without a note the second your income is hurt.
Out of the popular lifts, the bench press is affected the most by fluctuations of your bodyweight. When you lose weight, it drops. When you gain weight, it increases steadily.
In fact, one of the fastest ways to boost your bench press is to eat a supermarket and train as hard as your body allows you to.
Believe it or not, this is what many people choose to do. Back in the day, there was an article posted on startingstrength.com in which a powerlifter reveals one of his secrets to rapid strength increase. The method is simple – all you have to do is eat one whole cake every day all by yourself.
This incredible system is based on an old saying in the powerlifting sector – “Eat your way through the sticking point.” Many attribute this quote to the powerlifter Hugh Cassidy who bulked up to 300lbs/136kg in order to lift heavy barbells but later cut down to 190lbs/86kg to look normal again and reduce his knee pain.
When you add 50lbs/22 kg or more to your frame, your lifts will go up even if the added weight is basically fat and water. Sadly, that boost has a high price – you get to experience the wonderful joy of looking like you need a large bra thanks to your newly formed man boobs. In addition, the extra food costs more money and places a greater stress on your system. If you decide to stick with the cake advice, your internals will feel like exploited workers who do all the work only to receive a cold bath in the street at the end of the day.
Your ego, which is the “organ” responsible for that apocalypse, will be happy but not for long. A true barbell junky always asks for more. You will never be content.
Another “bonus” that comes with this method is that you will be shopping in the XXL stores where you can meet fellow permabulkers.
Strength to Bodyweight Ratio
If you are a skinny guy chasing arbitrary bench press numbers, you are risking to become mentally ill very fast. It’s much healthier to just focus on getting your bench to a decent ratio such as 1.5BW. If your weight is 150lbs/68kg, that equals a 225lbs/102kg bench press.
A two-plate bench press may not look impressive to the another brahs in the gym, but if you calculate how much they are benching, you will see that it’s rarely over 1.5 BW.
Unadequate technique could result in strength losses. However, don’t get too excited. I am not one of the guys trying to convince you that you can add 50lbs to your bench press by just squeezing the bar as if you are hanging off a helicopter flying over the ocean.
Your bench press form is crucial, but after acquiring a decent level of proficiency, all the tweaks in the world will not compensate for the lack of strength.
The bench press is not rocket science, but since it’s one of the few lifts that can chop your head off, it deserves extra respect. If you want to boost your bench, you should study proper form extensively.
Training cycles with a built-in deload are one of the best ways to get stronger. The principle behind cycling is incredibly simple – you build up, deload and then build up again to a slightly higher number than before.
With the risk of making many people mad, I will state that high-frequency special tactics are not optimal in the long run. They work but increase your chances of overtraining significantly and cost too much time and effort for what you are receiving.
I am not stopping anyone from trying the typical high-frequency programs used by Russian and European lifters. I just think that at the end of the day basic periodization will outperform those programs because it’s more sustainable. Most people don’t have the joints to bench so frequently.
It’s also very important to note that programs similar to Smolov are spike routines. They can produce a boost, but your routine throughout the rest of the year will make a bigger difference.
The bench press progresses slowly because it’s an upper body lift.
I have to tell you a sad fact that can really hurt the addict in you – at one point you will be happy to increase your bench press by 2-3% over the course of a 12-week training cycle. I know that there are many brahs on the Internet allegedly adding plate after plate week after week, but those are usually liars and/or fake natties.
All World Record Holders Are on Steroids
As you can expect, most people with stunning bench press records are hardcore steroid abusers who never stop pinning. It would be very naive to believe that similar numbers could become a reality naturally. Yes, programming makes a big difference, but it’s not enough to match the gap between full natty brahs and enhanced ninjas. Besides, the roid lifters rely on advanced programming too. In other words, they have your weapons and then some.