I felt more prepared to handle larger weights confidently after implementing a disciplined warm-up program for my bench press exercises.
Warm up for bench press by doing the following four things:
- To boost body temperature, begin with a general warm-up.
- Choose mobility drills that boost blood flow to tense muscles.
- To improve range of motion, perform a dynamic stretching program.
- To prime the stabilizing muscles, use activation exercises.
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of any of these terms. I had no idea when I initially walked into the gym, so I either did a mediocre warm-up or skipped it entirely.
Since then, I’ve looked into how to properly warm up for bench press, and I’ve discovered that going through each of the phases outlined above has been demonstrated to improve both my strength and performance.
So, let me share what I’ve learnt in the hopes that you can benefit from your bench press sessions as well.
Warm-Up in General
The goal of a general warm-up is to raise your core body temperature by engaging in some modest cardiovascular exercise.
This stage may appear superficial, but research suggests that this portion of the warm-up can improve performance, particularly in terms of maximum strength.
My favorite approach to work up a ‘light sweat’ for bench press is to ride the stationary cycle or row for 15 minutes. I alternate between the bike and the rower on occasion, but I never skip the general warm-up.
If you’re pressed for time and can’t fit a 15-minute general warm-up into your schedule, additional research suggests that even 5-minutes can improve performance (Wilson et al., 2012).
To discover how to best utilize your technique at maximum loads, see my post on bench press cues.
Warm-ups: General vs. Specific
A good warm-up can make all the difference in your training, especially if you’re attempting a one-rep max or a personal record attempt. Warming up reduces the chance of injury, enhances strength, and improves technique and coordination.
A good warm-up has two parts: broad and specific.
- Warming up your entire body and getting ready for activities is the goal of the general warm-up. It might be as simple as some mild mobility drills or 5–10 minutes of light exercise on a cross-trainer or rowing machine.
- Your individual warm-up should prepare you for the work at hand. If you’re going to do bench press, for example, your warm-up should include steadily stronger sets of bench pressing. The calculator above demonstrates this.
Warming Up for Percentage Practicing NON-OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING LIFTS
These reps and percentages aren’t etched in stone; they’re just a guide to help you get into the working sets with a strategy. Throwing on the weight you’re meant to be utilizing is the worst thing you could do. You only have one body, so save it.
Bench Press Mobility Drills
Self-massage therapy techniques, such as utilizing a foam roller or a lacrosse ball to provide pressure to the muscle, are used in mobility drills.
When a muscle is tight, it restricts movement at the joint level. Every activity in the gym necessitates a certain degree of mobility. To bring the bar through a full range of motion in the bench press, you’ll need sufficient mobility in your shoulders and thoracic spine.
Apply pressure to the lat muscle while lying sideways on the foam roller. Roll the portions of your body that are tight, whether they are higher or lower.
The pectoralis major is a more powerful muscle group. The upper pecs will be tighter closer to the shoulder, so start there and roll inwards to the midline of the body.
Underneath the arm pit is the pec minor. Applying pressure to the pec minor against a wall may be more difficult, so practice this one on the floor and apply proper pressure.
Bench Press Dynamic Stretching
Prior to lifting, dynamic stretching will assist you lengthen the muscle and increase its function. Dynamic and static stretching are the two types of stretching.
When you do dynamic stretching, you move your muscles 15-30 times in and out of a range of motion.
When you do static stretching, you hold your muscles in a range of motion for a set period of time (30-60 seconds). Dynamic stretching is the form of stretching you should do before lifting.
Bench Press Activation Exercises
Smaller muscle groups that support the prime movers are stabilized by activation workouts.
The chest, shoulders, and triceps are the primary movers in the bench press. Several minor muscle groups in the rotator cuff and upper back, on the other hand, help stabilize the movement and allow the prime movers to perform to their greatest potential.
As a result, we’ll activate these stabilizing muscles in preparation for the major workout.
I recommend choosing 1-2 exercises from the list below and performing 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps. Feel free to switch between different activation exercises over time, and make sure to move through the range of motion carefully so you don’t overcompensate for the larger muscle groups.
It should take you no more than 15 minutes if you follow each of these parts of the warm-up. The advantage of following a good warm-up program is that it prepares your body for the main workout, improves performance, and minimizes the risk of injury.
While you can create your own warm-up routine depending on your particular tastes, you should always incorporate a general warm-up, mobility drills, dynamic stretching, and activation exercises to some extent.
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