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Bench Press Plateau: Blast Your Way Out
by Justin Leonard
Written on March 12, 2001

You've met your goal on the bench press. But for some reason you're not progressing as you once did. You've been stuck at the same bench press weight for months. You're fed up with your performance, and you need to know "new" techniques which can blast your bench past the bench plateau. What do you do?

The following article will describe different techniques you can test to get past the bench press plateau.

Stop! Don't try to bench press more weight as a possible solution. Instead, ask yourself these questions: When was the last time I took an entire week (or two) off from training? Am I sticking to the same training routine for too long? Am I training too many muscle groups with chest?

It's one of the most important aspects when it comes to improving strength: rest. If you don't get enough rest, the muscles won't grow. They can actually begin to break down in extreme cases of rest deprivation.

If you've been using the same training routine for months, then your body is more than likely getting used to your routine. It's adapting to your workout. When this happens, strength gains are hindered.

You may be training too many muscle groups when you train chest. For example, if you train chest, triceps, biceps, and shoulders all in the same day, you may be taking away from the key area.  

In addition to utilizing these training techniques, there are other possible remedies you can try:

1. Go on a light weight phase for about 2 - 3 weeks, then shock the chest by bringing in the heavy weights.

This will allow different muscle fibers to be utilized and may ultimately produce a bigger bench press.

2. Additional protein may help.

This can be a whey protein supplement or by simply increasing meal protein.

3. Use heavy dumbbell bench presses as a primary chest exercise for 2 weeks, and use the barbell bench press exercise as an ending movement.

This technique will strengthen the stabilizer muscle groups (triceps, shoulders, biceps, and back) and force maximum output, ultimately producing greater strength.

4. Train chest on different days or at different times of day.

Try switching the day of the week or time in which you train your chest. Your body may be getting used to a repetitive routine, even though you might have fully recovered from a previous week's routine.

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