Everyone wants or should want to bench press more weight. Whether you are training for strength, muscle gain or fat loss, the importance of pushing yourself harder each and every training session is paramount. Therefore if you could make a small change to improve your technique and allow yourself to bench press more, you will be able to progress your body’s improvements significantly.
What am I getting at?
Poor technique is often performed on the bench/chest press by many people who would not even consider that they were doing something wrong and missing out on maximising the bar weight for their goals. In all honesty in 15 years of working in gyms I have never seen anyone perform the chest/bench press with perfect technique and certainly never using the technique that I am about to share with you. So there is an obvious problem and without this information being shared there are plenty of opportunities for people to injure themselves and not get the most from their workouts.
It’s all in the wrist
The weakest part in the press movement is not the shoulder joint or the elbow but it is in fact the wrist. Too many people go into the press a little limp-wristed, allowing the bar to push back on the hand like you are losing at a game of Mercy, where the aim of the game is to bend the other person’s wrist back until they cry “Mercy!” Allowing the bar to push back on your hand not only makes the forearm work unnecessarily, but puts huge amounts of downward force through your wrist.
How to fix this?
It is such a simple change that will make huge gains in your training. Simply rotate your hand forwards so that the weight now travels down through your wrist and stops pressing back through your hand. By allowing the weight to travel through your forearm you are now in a stronger position and protecting your wrist from injury. From this stronger position it will take a little while to get used to it but when you do you should be able to increase the weight you can press fairly quickly.
The wrong way
Picture of how not to hold the barbell dumbbell for the bench press
The right way
A picture of the right way to hold a dumbbell barbell for the bench press / chest press
Summary – and a Warning
It is just a small change you need to make to improve your bench/chest press, but please make sure you do not rotate too far forwards. It is important that the weight of the bar is allowed to travel directly through the forearm which will mean that your hand will still be slightly back from vertical. Otherwise the weight will travel through the thumb joint and that is much worse for you than putting the weight through the wrist. When you change your technique it is really important that you practise it first with a light weight to perfect the technique before you start adding the kg’s.
Let us know how you get on and if this small change helps you to improve your bench press. Give us your current bench press records and your new ones after making the change.