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How Much Can I Increase My Bench Press Each Month?

by
author image Heather Hitchcock
Heather Hitchcock has been writing professionally since 2010. She has contributed material through various online publications. Hitchcock has worked as a personal trainer and a health screening specialist. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science.
How Much Can I Increase My Bench Press Each Month?
Man gets spotted while bench pressing Photo Credit matthiasdrobeck/iStock/Getty Images

The average amount of weight a person can increase their bench press in a month varies upon their training level. A beginner may be able to make considerable gains in a month, around 40 to 50 pounds. Someone who has been training awhile may only be able to increase their bench press 10 to 15 pounds in a month.

Neurological Adaptations

When beginning a strength-training program, several adaptations occur to increase the strength and size of the muscles being trained. The neuromuscular system is one of the most responsive systems in the in body, and can produce considerable strength gains of between 25 to 100 percent in three to six months, note Jack H. Wilmore and David L. Costill, authors of “Physiology of Sport and Exercise.” The neurological adaptations are the primary reason why beginners experience rapid gains in strength. Once the body becomes accustomed to the stimulus, the adaptations will stabilize unless changes in your training program occur.

Bench Press Technique

Changing your bench press technique is an easy way to increase your bench press in a short amount of time. Improper form can not only result in a decrease in your bench press but also increase your risk for injury. Proper technique involves grasping the bar with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and feet planted flat on the floor. Your butt should remain on the bench throughout the movement and your shoulder blades retracted. Keeping your shoulder blades retracted and still during the lift can contribute as much as a 5 percent increase in your bench. Lower the bar to your lower chest, and press your arms up until fully extended. Have an experienced spotter available during heavy lifts.

Weekly Increases

After mastering proper technique, gradually increase the weight you lift weekly. Training to muscle fatigue on the bench press is the most effective way to increase your bench. Complete three to five sets -- not including warmup sets -- using a weight in which muscle fatigue is reached between three and five repetitions. Increase the weight lifted 2.5 to 10 pounds each week to increase your bench press between 10 and 40 pounds in a month. Perform heavy bench press at least once a week but not more than twice weekly on nonconsecutive days.

Considerations

Although the bench press primarily targets the pectoralis major, other muscles such as the front deltoids, triceps, back and quadriceps are also stimulated. Include exercises that strengthen each of these muscle groups in your weekly workout routine to help improve your bench press. Effective exercises include close-grip bench press for triceps, Arnold press and internal/external rotations for the front deltoids and rotator cuff, pullups and bent over barbell rows for back -- and barbell squats or leg press for your quadriceps.

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