• 48°

Ester Burgess column: Increasing the 'bench'

By Ester Burgess

For The Salisbury Post

Q. How can I increase my bench press the natural way?

A. I loved that your question included “the natural way.” In the weightlifting world and sports world, the question, “How much do you bench?” comes up a lot. I love watching a good bench-press contest. It takes lots of dedication and lots of training hours to be able to lift the weights power lifters are using. Understand that it takes years to get where they are.

I have written about this before, but as my readership has increased and new people have moved into this area — or just to refresh your workout — I am going to give you a 10-week program to increase your max — the maximum weight that you can lift/press at one time.

Make sure that you are spending quality time on your warm-ups. When you are working out, make sure you are performing the bench-press the proper way. I know that you can lift a lot more when you let the bar bounce off your chest. However, that is not a clean press.

Keep your buttocks on the bench at all times, and both feet on the same spot on the floor. When you are lifting weights like this, make sure that you have a spotter. That’s someone who can be of assistance when needed, and/or can give you a lift-off.

To get stronger, you need to focus on your whole body. To be able to get stronger, you need to know what your max is. The workout I am including gives you percentages of your max. I don’t recommend these workouts for people who have just started working out, or who have not worked out in a while. Your chance of injury increases a lot (with heavy weight period), and it can be hard on your tendons.

For you, I recommend two weeks, 2 sets of 8-10 reps. Then, for two weeks, increase sets to 3 sets. Then, go to two weeks 4 sets of 8-10 reps, and finally, two weeks 4 sets of 6-8 reps. You use a weight that you can do for that number of repetitions. After those eight weeks, you can set your max on all the exercises and include “heavy” days.

When I used to work out hard, I liked one “strong” day for each muscle group and one “pretty” day. On “pretty” days, you work on technique and form, and perform about 3 to 4 sets at 6-10 reps.

Strong days

First four weeks.

n 4 sets of 5 reps at 75-80 percent of max.

n 1 set of 2 reps at 85 percent

Week five and six.

n 3 sets of 3 reps at 85-90 percent

Week seven and eight.

n 2 sets of 2 reps at 90-96 percent

Week nine and 10.

n 3 sets of 2 reps at 85-88 percent

n 1 set with 1 rep at 97 percent

Take about 3 days off (have cardio days) and after a great warm-up, try an increased max. Start back at the beginning of this workout with your new max.

Suggested program and exercises

Monday (heavy). Bench press, incline bench press, dips, triceps push-down, skull crushers

Tuesday (heavy). Lat pull to the chest, cable row, preacher curls, straight bar curls, concentration curls.

Wednesday (heavy). Squats, leg press, leg extension,leg curl, calf raises.

Thursday. Same as Monday, this time “pretty.” Include two different abdominal exercises 4 sets of 25 reps.

Friday. Same as Tuesday, “pretty.”

Saturday Same as Wednesday, “pretty.” Include two obliques exercises, 4 sets of 20 reps (each side).

Contact Ester Hoeben Burgess at 704-636-0111 or eburgess@rowanymca.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month