You’ve changed the number of sets and reps you do, changed the resistance half a dozen times, switched to machines, ate more food—you tried everything to break that plateau. But there’s one small tweak you may have overlooked, and that’s your angle. The strongest, smartest lifters don’t bench-press with their upper arms 90 degrees from their sides—they tuck their elbows in on the descent to get more power and reduce the risk of shoulder injury. To get fluid and comfortable doing this, performing the neutral-grip bench press for eight to 12 weeks. Switch back to the traditional barbell while keeping in mind the cues of tucking your elbows. Watch your bench number skyrocket.
HOW TO DO IT
1. Grab dumbbells and lie back on a bench. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together and arch your lower back. Position the weights at the sides of your chest with palms facing each other.
2. Press the weights straight overhead, keeping your wrists in the same position.
WHY IT WORKS
Pressing with the palms facing each other, rather than pointed toward your feet, will naturally cause you to keep your elbows close. This takes excess pressure off your shoulder joints and increases your mechanical advantage, allowing you to lift significantly more weight.