Five tips to bench press 315 pounds

Almost every guy can bench press 135 pounds when they’re just starting out. After about 8-12 months of training, many can work their way up to bench pressing 225 pounds.
However, very few ever reach 315 pounds – aka three big plates.
To get to the point where you can one day clank three 45-pound plates onto each side of the Olympic bar and bench press it, or at least get close to that kind of weight, here are five tips to increase your bench press.
1. Mix up your reps – Change up your bench press workouts in terms of the amount of reps and weight you’re using. Start out with higher reps, like sets of 12 or 10, to build a base.
After a few weeks, start doing reps of 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 in which you increase the weight as you lower the reps. Further into your training program, have days where you do three sets of five and even three sets of three to get used to heavier weights.
2. Tuck your elbows in toward your sides – Most of the top bench pressers do this. By tucking your elbows in more, you’ll put less wear and tear on your shoulders and involve your triceps more.
3. Use your legs – Tuck your legs under the bench and push your toes into the front of your shoes as you do the bench press. This will help tighten up your entire body and get a good amount of extra push.
4. Build your complementary muscles – Make sure to work out your upper-back muscles and triceps to help out the shoulders and chest during bench presses. Also, use light dumbbells to build up the back of the shoulders and rotator cuff. If you keep hammering away on just bench presses you could be headed for some shoulder trouble.
5. Arch your back correctly – It’s OK to arch your back some when going for a max lift, just do it properly and safely. Squeeze your traps together and try to slide your upper back closer to the bottom of the bench.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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