Well first and foremost, while me and my training partners do flat bench often, or even religiously, for pectoral development dumbbells are far better... For strength it is arguable which is better depending on your goal. I just wanted to get that formality out of the way, anyway you came here for info on the barbell press so here we go...
225 pounds, 102 kilograms, or 2 plates as we more commonly say, it's a huge stepping stone for the bench press, benching 225 means something, no longer are you in the average group of people that have not had as much dedication, now you are on your way to sculpting a chest worth bench pressing for. I remember the first time I hit two plates for one rep how thrilling it was, this year I hit it for 22 reps, ok, a little bit more, but my strategy for getting up to one, was where my first rep began. Lets take a look at how to work up to benching 2 plates!
1) Decide what your current "10 set" is.
What can you bench for 10 reps? Once again, I encourage realistic gains, not fast gains!
2) Begin to use variety and pyramid techniques.
To bench two plates, will require you doing things other than bench press, you'll need powerful tri's, and stable shoulders, make sure you are training your whole body adequately, bench press is a compound motion, a lot more than just pecs. You'll need to pyramid weight, starting with lighter sets working it up to heavy.
3) Don't always bench press to increase your bench press.
Yup, you read that right, incorporate dumb bell bench press, push ups, and even machines or cables once in awhile to use some variety in your work out.
4) Hit the pecs from three angles.
You want to build your mass as much as possible to lift 2 plates, I don't always follow this rule due to ego, but if you can, sometimes do incline bench first, dumbells or barbells, it is the hardest of the three benches, and requires the longest range of motion, you are best doing it first, then flat bench press, and then decline press which requires the shortest range of motion. These 3 angles to hit your chest will be the holy trinity of having complete pec developement.
5) Every two months, try to move your "ten set" up by ten pounds.
If you are eating good and following a great diet, this will be very possible, but as you advance it gets harder, a lot harder, other wise everyone that trained 10 years would have over a 600 pound bench press.
6) Make sure you are getting enough protein!
You should be looking to put on some mass, make sure you are consuming enough protein, 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight would be ideal. Weigh in, and make sure you are weighing yourself properly and not gaining bad weight, more on that here. If you are supplementing with protein or Creatine these are my 2 favorites that I have used for over 10 years and clients have used as well, but remember no protein beats a great diet, you need that down first.
Get it in your head first that this weight is going to move! If I am spotting one of my training partners and they say, I'm probably not going to get this, I say, I'm not spotting you then. Mind over matter works!!! Don't go try to put up double what you think you can max, but believe... trust me.
This is a sample 6 month program for a lifter who can currently bench press 145/10, it's not the only way to do it, so as always educated yourself and experiment safely:
Chest one time/week, if you are going to do something with chest, do it after chest training while building up your max...
Bench Press 135/15 145/10 155/ 8 165/ 6
Incline Dumbell Press 60/10 60/10 65/8
Decline Barbell Press 135/10 145/8 165/4
Flys 25/10 25/10 25/10
One set of push ups to failure, move to knee push ups once you fail at regular
Incline D Bells 65/10 65/10 70/8
Flat D Bells 60/12 65/10 70/8
Machine Decline Press 3 sets to moderate fatigue in the 10-15 range (weight is not listed because different machines will be different to use)
Cable Crossovers 3 sets of 15
Machine Flat Press: 1 drop set (medium range weight) to failure
Flat Barbell 145/15 145/15 145/15 95/to failure
Incline Barbell 95/15-20 3 sets
Decline Press 135 3 sets of 10
Flys 25/10 25/10 25/10
Cable Crossovers: 3 sets of 10 with medium weight superset with pushups till failure
Incline D bells 65/10 65/10 70/8 75/6
Flat Barbell 165/8 175/6 185/4
Decline Press 145/12 155/10 165/6
Flys 30 for 3 sets of 10
Flat Barbell 165/12 175/8-10 185/6-8
Incline Barbell 135/10 135/10 135/10
Decline Press 155/12 165/10 175/4-6
Pec Dec Flys: 3 sets of 10 with moderate weight
Flat Bench 185/10 195/6-8 205/4-6
Incline Smith Machine 165/10 175/8-10 185/4-6
Decline Barbell 155/15 185/4-6 185/4-6
Push Ups Wide grip super set with easy machine presses for 20
Your max out day.....
Ok you are ready to bench press two plates for the first time!!! Here's how to go about it, you should be comfortably getting 175-185 for 10 reps at this point.
First warm up your body with some light cardio, 5 minutes tops.
Do some cuban rotations on the shoulders with 5 pound plates.
Bench the bar for 15
Bench 135 5
Bench 185 2
Bench 205 1
Choose a reliable spotter who will SPOT you, not lift it off the rack for you, not help you lift it, someone that will only help if you cannot get it on your own. Now... get in the zone, do whatever it is you do to stay motivated, I think, I put my mind out of the gym, and think about everything, I think about how much the lift means, how much my strength means, I imagine the weight coming off my chest before I have even lifted it off the bar, I imagine the blood running into my pecs, I jack my mp3 player extremely loud, and then go for it! No lift off, press it off the bar, bring it all the way down do your chest and LIFT all the way up!!! As the 2 plates ascends from your chest and you rack the weight, smile, don't go jump around like you hit the world bench press record, you've made a big step, but you haven't made it to the end, you've made it to the beginning of the next level, and it only gets better from here. Happy lifting & feel free to email or facebook me with more specific bench questions!
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