The 4 Best Exercises to Boost Your Bench Max

Written by Keith Hansen

January 19, 2018

Big bench

The Bench Press is the most common exercise in any gym.

Walk into your local training facility at 5:30pm on a Monday and try to get a bench. I dare you.

It isn't going to happen, because everyone loves to bench press.

Mondays are famous for being international chest day, and for some people, Tuesday is as well.

The primary muscles involved in the bench press are the pecs, the triceps, and the anterior deltoid. Strengthening these muscles and keeping them healthy is critical if you want to bench more weight.

With the help of a friend who boasts a 450lb bench press we've come up with the 4 Best Exercises to Boost Your Bench Max.

1. Overhead Press

The anterior deltoid(the front part of your shoulder) plays a big part in the bottom of your bench press.

The overhead press is what you want to do to really beef this muscle up because it puts the deltoid through a large range of motion. Large range of motions mean lots of stimulus to grow, and this translates to big strong shoulders.

The overhead press also hits the triceps hard, and big triceps always equal a big bench press.

2. Dips

There are a few ways to do dips, and the different variations will target some muscles more than others.

The top range of motion in the dip is primarily tricep--just like your bench press. If you struggle with lockouts you should focus on the top portion of your dips.

If your bench press fails near your chest it is most likely due to weak pecs/deltoids. If this is you then focus your dip efforts on going lower--at or below 90 degrees in the elbows.

Be smart with your form and ensure you have great technique to minimize wear and tear on your shoulder joints.

3. Push Ups

Push ups are a favorite because they can be done anywhere. No equipment required.

They are also recommended because they allow you to get in a high amount of volume, and you can easily adjust the difficulty.

If you're tired, or push ups on flat ground are tough, perform your push ups with your hands on an elevated surface to reduce load.

If you need regular push ups to be more difficult, or you want to work in lower rep ranges for more strength focus, elevate your feet instead.

4. Band Pull Aparts

Band pull aparts are the ace-up-your-sleeve when increasing your bench. Band pull aparts will increase your bench by keeping your shoulders healthy, and by improving your joint stability.

The only way to hit a true bench press maximum, that is, lifting every ounce of iron your body is capable of, is through perfect technique.

Perfect technique starts with perfect stability, and perfect stability starts with healthy shoulders.

You can keep your shoulders healthy with band pull aparts. They will strengthen the posterior(back) side of your shoulders, and this is a necessary component for joint stability.

How to do Band Pull Aparts


These are the best exercises to work on the weak points in your bench. We have organized some of these exercises and more into a program to strengthen your bench as well as your squat and deadlift.

You can check out our free guide, The Seriously Strong Intermediate Program, by clicking on the link below.

Download the Seriously Strong Intermediate Program

Check out the Serious Guide to the Bench Press for more information on the bench press.