TIPS TO INCREASE YOUR BENCH, SQUAT, AND PULLS
STAY WITH THE LIFT
Despite popular gym belief, bench pressing is not a hamstring exercise. Squats are not like bending over to touch your toes, and pulls are not lower back exercises unless otherwise stated. Keep your head and butt in contact with the bench throughout the exercise. Squat down by driving your hips backward, rather than bending your knees. And use only a slight forward to backward lean while you pull through big back exercises.
Push or pull in a straight line and avoid side-to-side or forward-backward movement. Popular theory suggests to push the bar in an arced movement. Physics says force is greater in a straight line. For maximal force development, try to keep the movement line as straight as possible for all lifts. By adjusting your body around the bar, you gain mechanical advantage.
Use small increments in weight. Don’t go too heavy, too fast.
AVOID SUPPORT DEVICES
Don’t use belts, wraps, and other tools to help you lift. Focus on increasing your strength without help, and you will develop a much stronger base. Unless going for a 1-rep max, train your body to control the load and reap additional benefts of increased core strength.
USE PROPER MECHANICS AND BODY ALIGNMENT
Keep your chest out, head up, and upper torso erect. This helps keep the body in line. Whether standing, sitting, or lying, your body position should always remain tight and straight.
While no doubt, holding your breath stabilizes your core and increases your strength output, blood pressure increases proportionately and lightheadedness ensues. Proper breathing is encouraged.
LOCK YOUR WRISTS AND USE A THUMB-LOCK GRIP
By using a full grip, the bar line of force will transcend directly down your forearm. If your wrists are back, the bar’s line of force is parallel to the muscle force line, creating shear forces that reduce overall pushing and pulling strength. Additionally, as you struggle under the weight (especially in the bench press), not having a firm hold on the bar can be disastrous—so whether barbell or dumbbell, get a grip.
VARY YOUR HAND AND FOOT POSITION
Evidence does support varying grips for increasing and decreasing emphas is on different body parts, but overall you will develop more muscle size and strength.
DON'T BOUNCE THE WEIGHT AND USE FULL RANGE OF MOTION
Besides the fact that you reduce muscle involvement, the chance of injury increases signifcantly. Control your weight. Give a slight pause at the bottom or top of the lift, before executing the fnal push or descent.