T Nation

Benching and Arm Strength


Hey guys I am looking for a little bit of help with my bench, I tried searching could not find anything. I feel like when I bench my arms/triceps are limiting the amount i can actually do.

I do work my triceps and I understand if they get stronger it will help, but I am wondering if there is anything special that can be done to help up my arm strength for benching. It currently feels like my pecks are not being worked as much as my arms.



A lot of people have great success with pre-fatiguing their chest before doing pressing through flyes or flye-esque exercises. Nothing drastic, but if you get blood pumping to the chest, it may help you to be able to recruit the actual pecs while benching.

I've known others that have focused on not tucking their elbows as much like a PL'er when benching. This may make it more difficult to put up impressive weights initially, and may very will put your shoulders/rotator cuff at a potential risk, but it's something else to think about.

Just a few things to think about.


Use dumbells.


dips help. basically you can dip more weight than you can bench so your triceps get overloaded. Make sure you go past parallel.


Rack press


What? You dip more than you bench?


well I count most of my body weight and I do weighted dips.


Can you get a video of your lift? You'd get a lot more help that way.


this. rdy go


Work on pre fatigueing the chest. Helps a ton when it comes to feeling the chest during bench. Through 6 years of training i never really felt my chest during bench (albeit i wasnt shooting for progress) but thats not the point.

It took me about 3 months of really prefatigueing the chest and supersetting exercises to feel my chest during bench. My chest has grown more now in the last 4 weeks then ever before.


Your post seems to have some conflicts in it that should be cleared up. Which is it, do you want your arms to assist MORE in your benching so you can lift more weight, or do you want your arms to be involved LESS so it works your chest more?


switch to a close grip with your hands about 4-6 inches apart and force your tri's to do the work for a few weeks. Not only will your arms grow, they'll get use to pressing.


You should be strengthenning all the muscles used in bench, doing this is what will get you a great bench

If its your chest - dumbbells as Bones said will be better for hitting the chest so I would say work heavy on those. I myself like making sure a muscle is strong no matter what angle or what head of the muscle you are working so I would go heavy on different movements

If your triceps are weak - weighted dips, close grip presses JM presses etc

Shoulders - your front delt is used in the bench so they should be strong, overhead pressing ofcourse is great hear i also like using heavy barbelll front raises using 3 different grips. Also your rotator cuff has a role as well so make sure they dont suck either. I like using a combination move im pretty sure i made up. it starts as a lateral fly with your ars bent 90 degrees then at the top you externally rotate. Your rear delts have a role on the negative and stabilizing the weight so get them strong and make sure they dont suck

Lats - Lats are huge in bench pressing on the negative portion of the lift and help stabilize so get them inhumanly strong.

basically make sure every muscle in your upper body is strong and train to get muscles stronger because certain movements like bench pressing are hindered a ton by weak points and are not a good choice alone in strengthenning those weak points.

Thats just what I did and it worked for me I can press a decent amount :slight_smile:


Exactly. I never understand how and why posters expect any real help without posting a vid of the lift in question.


powerlifting 101.. if your triceps suck, your bench suck. triceps bench the big numbers not your chest..question is what are your goals.. for bigger bench you best use PL form tuck with a J curve.

tate press is great for building mass and power, heavy pullovers for your long head, floor presses and pin presses are also great.. experiment or read some of Dave Tate articles where he gives some good tips on building a big bench. you could also use PL form with DB's, press with a tucked up neutral grip for more tricep and front delt activation.


There are some articles and forums that discuss this on this site http://www.T-Nation.com/ You should go there


If you look at the videos posted on this site and search bench press there should be one that helps out a lot. Christian Thibaudeau really explains some helpful tips in the video. Once I followed the technique in the video I noticed no pain after benching, giving me an idea of how wrong I was doing it.