The reason you can't seem to get stronger or add more muscle is rarely that you're not training hard enough. More than likely it's that your form is breaking down when the weight gets heavy.
The solution? Use balls to improve your mobility. We like the specially designed mobility balls from Acumobility (acumobility.com), but lacrosse or tennis balls work, too, to help open up every muscle group.
The balls work like a massage, releasing chronically tight muscles in the back that prevent you from arching your thoracic spine and retracting your shoulder blades when you bench press and shoulder press. Improving your ability to achieve these positions makes for a stronger platform to bench press from.
For example, here’s how to use them if your bench press is stuck, according to orthopedic acupuncturist and Acumobility CEO Brad Cox.
Step 1: Line 'em Up
Place the balls on the floor so they fit on each side of your spine.
Step 2: Add Some Weight
Grasp a light kettlebell with both hands and lie on your back, resting against the balls so they dig into your back, three inches below your shoulder blades. Bend your knees 90 degrees. Hold the kettlebell above your chest.
Step 3: Breathe, Then Crunch
Take a deep breath, then slowly let it out as you do a crunch, driving your back into the balls as you curl your torso up a few inches. Lift the bell overhead as you rise. Your lower back must remain against the floor.
Step 4: Repeat Along Entire Back
Slowly lower your torso and the weight back down. That’s one rep. Do five reps, and then move your body down an inch or so to target the upper back. Repeat once more so you’re pressing right below the shoulder blades.