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Personal Training to Improve Bench Press Sticking Points

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Personal Training to Improve Bench Press Sticking Points

Addressing Issues With the Common Bench Press


There are few exercises that are as popular as the bench press, nevertheless it is essential to fully understand the dynamics of this exercise if you hope to continue increasing kilos to the bar. I have spent nearly the last 2 decades performing this exercise in gyms as a personal trainer on a daily basis. I have very rarely seen this exercise executed properly. 


 This could be why it is common for people to tear ligaments and shoulder muscles while performing this exercise. Another factor that contributes to an increased propensity for injury would be overusing this exercise. If you were to drop by any gym on a Monday, you will see why the first day of the work week has been dubbed ”National Bench Press Day.” This is odd because while it is a very dramatic and impressive exercise, it is far from the best exercise for pecs.

 Of course, the bench press has an important place in the gym. It has an essential importance for a bodybuilder looking to increase their pecs or a professional athlete looking to increase upper-body strength. The focus of the following article is to help you choose the best supplemental exercises that can boost your performance on the bench. 


 First, Find the Weak Muscles


Over the years I have seen that personal trainers tend to get stuck prioritising a certain number of big compound lifts. This indicates weaker muscles in a chain that must be addressed to increase the lifting power. If you are looking to execute a lift with greater strength and power, you must first focus on the weakest muscles first. 



 This is important information for serious trainees, those that are benching at least 1 ½ times their bodyweight.


 Let’s take a closer look at common pressing styles and their sticking points: 


Pressing style Sticking point Target Muscle
Close grip
Wide grip
Mid range
Serratus Anterior
Both Start Anterior Deltoid
Wide Grip Start Pectoralis Major
Clavicular portion
Close grip Start Pectoralis Major
Sternal Portion
Wide grip Mid Range Biceps Brachii
Long Head Coracobrachialis
Both Lockout Triceps


Target the Weak Link With the Right Exercises


 After you have decided which are the weak points that are causing you trouble, it is time to choose a suitable exercise to strengthen these weaker muscles. Real life gains are only made through a conscious plan of coordinated efforts. 

This is the time for serious lifting and this will mean pooling the power of the largest motor systems to increase the strength of the right muscles.  



Take a look at this table to determine which exercises are right for you



Target Muscle Assistance Exercises
Serratus Anterior Incline Front Raises
Front Cable Raises
Anterior Deltoid Seated Press Behind the Neck
 Seated Dumbbell Press,
Semi-Supinated Grip Seated Military Press
Pectoralis Major, Clavicular portion,
Wide-Grip Bench Press to Collarbone
 Bent-Arm Flyes Flat
Partial Bench Press (Bottom Half)
 Functional Isometrics Incline Press
Flat Dumbbell Press, Pronated Grip
Pectoralis Major, Sternal portion Parallel Bar Dips
Decline Press
Decline Flyes (Cables or Dumbbells)
Functional Isometrics Flat Dumbbell Press, Semi-Supinated Grip
Biceps Brachii- Long Head Barbell Curls
 Incline Curls
Standing Cable Curls with elbows behind the body.
Any type of curls where the upper arms are in line with the torso or behind it
Triceps Triceps Extensions to the Neck
 Parallel Bar Dips
 Nose Crunchers
Lockouts in the Power Rack
 Close-Grip Bench Press
Reverse Grip Bench Press
Board Presses



Putting The Routine Together



 One of the most important things that made the greatest difference throughout my career has been knowing how to properly prioritize exercises and sequence my routine. This makes them more effective at reaching the goals I have laid out. For this, I recommend starting with the pressing exercise, then move to the serratus/anterior delts and finally move back to the triceps and biceps. This will ensure you incorporate the most muscle systems in your workout and get the greatest results for your training.

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