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Bench More Weight

These six steps will have you putting up huge numbers on the most popular lift in the gym

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1.) Lie down on the bench and back up so your head is hanging off the end. Plant your feet flat and close to your hips.

2.) With an underhand grip on the bar, pull yourself up in the air and toward your feet. Lower your head and then your shoulders to the bench, keeping your arched-back position (it’s OK if this causes your heels to come off the floor). Maintain that tight feeling of your shoulder blades being pulled together throughout the lift .

3.) Squeeze the bar hard and try to pull it out of the rack without losing the tight arch in your back. Take a deep breath and push your belly up and out. Try to drive your heels down to the floor—they may never touch, but actively pushing on them will put you in a stronger position.

4.) Lower the bar, tucking your elbows slightly to your sides. Think about pushing your chest up to meet the bar. Touch the bar right below your nipples.

5.) Drive your feet hard into the floor again (your heels still may not touch) and start pressing the bar back up. The press and leg drive must happen at the same time. Try to push your body back on the bench using your legs—you won’t move, but the leg drive generates force that will help you press. Focus on pushing the bar back as it rises so it ends up over your mouth, nose, or eyes.

6.) When the bar is halfway up, move your elbows away from your sides (lose the tucked position and flare them) to lock your arms out.

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