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Yo, my bench REALLY sucks, and I'm struggling to make progress. I saw a video of one of your guys, Stan Efferding, benching 600-plus pounds. That got me all fired up! Help me out, brah; I need to get my stats up!
Mark: The fastest route to big gains is to correct your form and work on improving it. I know coaches who can show people how to cut a tenth of a second off their 40-yard dash simply by having them change their setup at the starting line.
When you lift with good form and "set up" properly, the same dramatic results can be seen in powerlifting.
When I go out and teach Crossfit Powerlifting certs, it's not uncommon to see athletes hit a personal record minutes after being taught how to do the movement the right way.
Just a few simple changes in technique and, wham, they're lifting 25 pounds more than they ever have before. Just like that!
The main thing is, most people don't know how to get tight. Stan Efferding slapped 50 pounds on his bench and nearly 200 pounds on his total in six weeks with Super Training.
This is amazing when you consider how strong he was already. A big focus for him was learning to stay tight throughout the movement.
Here are a few things I did with Stan that can help you reach your own PR:
Come on, dude: Don't lie! You know you flex every morning before and after your shower. (After the shower is the best because the heat from the water gets the veins cranking, although staring down some serious shrinkage is a tough way to start your day.) Anyway! When you flex your lats like you would when hitting your lat spread-that's how you need to flex your lats out of the bottom position of the bench press.
When it's time to press the weight, push it up with everything you got. Simple enough, right? Don't lose sight of this. You now have a lot to remember, but above all else, being strong has a lot to do with showing up and working your ass off.
Try benching with a 2-second pause on the chest. Try benching off a phone book or some boards. Throw in some close-grip work. Rotate a few exercises around from one week to the next and watch your numbers take off.
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