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Posts Tagged ‘bigger bench press’

Shoulder Blades Into Your Pockets for Stronger Bench Press and Rows

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Back Contraction and Scapular Control for a Bigger Bench

One of the things I’ve been working on really hard the last few weeks is intensifying the contraction of my lats and the scapular musculature when performing Rows and Presses, in order to improve my back development and increase pressing power.

By doing so, my Barbell Bench Press has never felt better, and it’s almost completely pain free right now, for my shoulder.

I recently shot a video to help understand what I’ve been working on, and the feeling I’m going for when performing a lot of my Row movements.

There’s a million ways to do this, and one way is with Recline Rows, which we just happened to be doing recently.

Shoulder Blades Into Your Pickets

This video also talks about the idea of Shoulder Blades Into Your Pockets. This is exactly what I’m trying to do whenever I do a Seated Row, a Pull-down, and many other pulling/rowing movements.

I think if you try to implement this kind of contraction when you Row, you’ll gradually develop a better mental connection between your lats and scapular muscles, and this will lead a much more stable and stronger Bench Press.

If you have any questions on this, please leave a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel.

All the best in your training.


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Make the Shoulders Feel Better to Lift Bigger Weights

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Stretches for the Shoulders and Lats


I am willing to bet that it has been a while since you gave your lats a good, solid stretch.

This means your results in the gym are probably being stifled

Tight lats will inhibit your muscle growth gains. Muscles need to be limber and flexible to allow for optimal growth, and if they are tight, your results will be stunted.

Don’t believe me?

Have you ever seen how flexible bodybuilders are? They may look muscle bound, but the truth is most of them stretch their asses off in order to maintain flexibility. If your lats are tight, you are limiting the amount of size you can put on.

Tight lats also mean your shoulders will not work right and your lifts will suffer. A great example is any form of overhead lifting: Strict Press, Push Press, Log, Barbell, Axle – it doesn’t matter. Tight lats will hinder your overhead performance.

Don’t believe me?

Try this. Do any version of overhead press with a thick hoodie on. Put a belt on your waist over top of your hoodie. You will feel the hoodie begin to restrict your overhead movement once the bar passes your head. This is essentially what happens when your lats are tight too – they inhibit your movement, and the Overhead Lifting is not the only thing they affect either.

Best Way to Stretch the Lats

Watch the video below. It will will show you my favorite stretch for the shoulders and lats. If you do this 4 or 5 times a workout, your tight lats will be on their way out the door, brother.

Obviously, this stretch utilizes bands. If you don’t have any bands, then you need to get some because these things are worth their weight in gold. If you have any questions on which bands to get, just let me know.

Places to Get Bands

If you don’t have bands, order some today. Beyond stretches like the one I show today, you can use them for tons of other things. Here are a couple of sources.

Rogue Fitness Monster Bands

RBT Rubber Band Training

Start doing this stretch TODAY and I guarantee you will see better results from your muscle building and strength training, plus, your shoulders will me healthier because of it.

All the best in your training.


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Bench Press Tip: Activate Lats for Stronger, Safer Bench Press

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Building a Bigger Bench Press

Dino Bravo – World Bench Record – 1988

It goes without saying that the Bench Press is one of the most popular lifts that are done in the gym.

And no wonder – it’s one of the best lifts for building upper body muscle, especially the chest, shoulders, and triceps. On top of the mass building potential of the Bench Press, it is also a great lift for building upper body strength.

In this post, I am going to cover a subtle adjustment you can make when you Bench Press to increase the weight you are able to press, the number of reps you can perform, and the safety of the Bench Press itself. When you can increase those three factors, your potential for size increases and strength gains is practically guaranteed.

The Power of the Lats in the Bench Press

Many trainees do not think about the lats when they Bench, because the lats are part of the back and are prime movers in rows and pull-ups, but the lats actually play a very important role.

Unfortunately, they do not realize that the lats are there to provide stability to the shoulder during the Bench Press. When the lats are activated properly, they provide a much better foundation for the shoulder, and this can be HUGE for your confidence under the barbell, when you are benching.

So, since the lats are so important, it makes sense to get them involved in the Bench Press as soon as possible, correct?

Well, many lifters miss the boat on that one as well. In fact their problems begin right from the moment they prepare to take the barbell out of the rack or hooks.

You can see exactly what I am talking about in the short video below.

Activating the Lats RIGHT AWAY for a Bigger Bench Press

I really want to thank Todd Hamer, strength coach from George Mason University, for showing me this technique modification. I met up with him at the Juniata Strength Clinic in June and asked him to take a look at my Benching Technique, and this has been a big help to me. It starts each new Bench Press set off with a completely different feel.

This way of un-racking the barbell may only be slightly different from what you are doing right now, but the way the bar feels in your grip and as you support it in the ready position is not. There is a night and day difference between these two techniques, and when you get this right, you can begin to see big improvements in your Bench Press.

And what’s great is, you can use this pulling lat activation method on your other Bench Press variations, such as Incline Bench and Decline Bench.

Let me know how you like this technique. Give it a try and leave a comment below.

All the best in your training.


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