Bench press refers to a training exercise for the upper body in which bodybuilders and powerlifters press a weight upwards by lying on a bench. This exercise works out your chest, shoulders, and triceps, so most of the stabilizing muscles come into action. Powerlifting bench press requires basic equipment such as barbells and a weight bench, and the workouts focus on aggressive strength training to build muscles.
Beginners often start with lifts using a bar without any added weight. Strength-oriented sessions allow beginners to get the feel of different techniques and warm up to the experience. Regular practice with bench pressing gradually increases stamina and promotes muscle development. However, in order to progress towards powerlifting bench presses, trainees need to work with professional coaches to prevent spinal/muscular injuries from overestimated goals.
Benefits of Powerlifting Bench Press
Compound Muscle Development
The weighted exercise strengthens various muscles connecting your chest, shoulders, and arms. It promotes muscle resilience and balance for athletes who participate in exertion sports like rock climbing and swimming. This helps with toning muscles through regular, gradually-increasing workout sessions.
Weight-training regimens with powerlifting prepare athletes for endurance performances during sprinting and playing football, for example. Bench presses greatly affect the upper-body strength and flexibility; the added strength translates into better sports performances.
By training with more bench presses per session, you get to introduce a cardio workout into your fitness regimen. When you combine other exercises with bench pressing, your body rises to the challenge and adapts accordingly. This is why it is important to keep changing your workout activities.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
How to Improve Your Powerlifting Bench Press
Famous powerlifters and bodybuilders often emphasize the benefits of keeping yourself inspired and driven towards your goal. Before you walk into the gym, make sure that you are focused and ready to conquer your powerlifting milestones. It helps to set achievable targets and then gradually increase the weights based on your mental-preparedness and the trainer’s advice.
Start with a Full-Body Workout
Once you confirm your mental checklist, begin with a full-body workout session. Jogging, running, and doing light bench presses allow working up your body – your chest in particular. Lift the bar without any weights by setting a warm-up tempo of, for example, 5 repetitions in which you lift and lower the bar for 3 seconds each with a 1-second pause in between. A typical warm-up bench press routine steadily increases the repetitions and tempo, preparing you for the actual powerlifting session.
Use Dynamic Stretching
In between each set of bench press repetitions, practice some dynamic stretches to target the crucial muscles that are used actively in powerlifting. Dynamic stretching is also known as active stretching for this reason. Some common dynamic stretch moves are chest hugs, jumping jacks, and arm circles.
Load the Weight Plates Step by Step
After a productive pre-workout routine, start loading your weight plates in reasonable increments, instead of overloading your bar from the first attempt. This gives you steeper progress with your powerlifting targets. It also eliminates downward spirals that result from starting big and failing to go bigger.
Work on Your Form
A good form on the weight bench ensures successful powerlifting repetitions. Once your equipment is assembled, you can start by lying on the bench with your feet completely flat on the ground – or on a footrest. Brace your core muscles and shoulders before getting a secure grip on the bar. Based on your bench press tempo, complete the lift-and-lower cycles by maintaining a strong grip and pausing for recommended intervals.
Follow a Standard Weekly Schedule
Powerlifters generally bench press for two to three days a week. The weekly frequencies differ across professional levels. Since powerlifting is a competition-based workout, advanced powerlifters tend to bench press at higher frequencies as they do not need to focus on additional exercises.
Train your Bench Press Arch
Under the supervision of certified trainers, you can work on your bench press arch and discover your limits with high-chest maneuvers. Hand placement and proper forms are vital components to initiate and hold your chest lift from the bench.
Powerlifting Bench Press Rules
Standard rules are established by federations like the International Powerlifting Federation. Powerlifters need to adhere to these rules to optimize their bench press competitions. This enables successful lifts in each repetition by helping you leverage the bench press. They are mostly technical rules that govern ideal tempo and pause to give the barbell a forward momentum. Some of the main rules are discussed below.
1. Your core, head, and shoulders must always stay in contact with your weight bench.
2. You should make sure that your feet are placed completely flat on the ground.
3. Do not lower the bar in an arc towards your chest; lock your elbows first.
4. Focus on the ceiling above you instead of the bar. Your hands need to be a maximum of 81 cm apart on the bar.
5. In powerlifting competitions, you cannot begin anything until the referee asks you to do so. This allows the referees to observe your movements from every angle. Once you walk onto your platform, there is a 60-second gap before the Chief Referee says “Start!”
6. Following the start command, you are not allowed to change your body’s position. You should bring the barbell to a stationary pause on your chest until the second referee says “Press!”. The barbell can touch your chest or stomach, but you should be careful not to let it touch your belt.
7. At the press command, you must avoid any downward movement during the pause when the barbell has been lowered to your chest. You must press the bar upwards without any downward inertia.
8. You require lifting the barbell back to its original starting point with your elbows locked. When the referee is sure that you are in control of the barbell above you, you will receive the final “Rack!” command.
9. Avoid hitting the rack rests directly once you complete your sets. Move the bar towards the rack gradually until you reach the supports before lowering the bar back in place. Hitting the racks directly can be dangerous, especially if you miss and lose your balance.
10. The referees use a lighting system to score your powerlifting. White indicates a successful lift, and red indicates an unsuccessful lift. Since there are three referees during competitions, you require 2/3 or 3/3 white lights to win, as this gets you the approval of two or three referees. However, 0/3 or 1/3 white lights are not sufficient and mark your lift as unsuccessful.
11. After the lights turn on, you have 30 seconds to leave your platform. This is to ensure that the competition pace remains streamlined.
A Final Word on Athlete Safety
Take a break from bench presses in case of any shoulder injuries. Under professional guides, athletes may bench press without adding weight plates to the bar. It is always helpful to employ the added support of power racks with bars on each side to cover your chest level. These prevent accidental misses from landing on your chest.