Next time you’re on the bench, think of yourself as a circus strongman; try to literally bend the bar in half and pull it apart. “I’ve seen guys improve their bench by as much as 40 pounds doing this,” says Harry Selkow, C.S.C.S., a strength and conditioning coach at Re-Active Gym in Pleasanton, CA.

Throughout the lift, imagine you’re trying to snap the bar in half. It’ll activate an army of muscle fibers, particularly in your lats and triceps. The more muscle fibers you use, the greater your ability to lift heavier weight. “The bench press is a whole-body exercise,” says Selkow. “When your technique is spot-on, you can anticipate bigger numbers.”

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