If you're a Female Powerlifter, then you have experienced the heart crushing, bone rattling feeling of hitting that tricky Bench Press plateau. Many girls reach this plateau at the 135-155lb mark and it could take weeks, months and sometimes even years to overcome it and push through to set a new PR.
Some of the successful techniques that I have used with my Female lifters are:
1. More work at 60%-75% of your Bench 1RM.
Hypertrophy (60%-70% | reps of 6-12): Some of the benefits of a Hypertrophy cycle include; technical development (more sets/reps means more practice doing the Bench), increased work capacity/MRV (or Max Recoverable Volume, which is the amount of volume your body can handle before your recovery becomes compromised), increased muscle mass (more muscle means more potential strength), and a Hypertrophy cycle can also be a good break from constant heavy lifting.
General Strength (70%-75%): This is the cycle that typically comes after the Hypertrophy phase. The main purpose of the General Strength phase is to increase Rate of Force Development (or RFD, essentially the ability to display strength), and works as a "bridging phase" between light Hypertrophy work and the peaking phase.
2. Incorporate Overhead Press work.
Although this is a highly debated topic amongst the strength and fitness world, using overhead pressing movements to increase your Bench Press has been backed by many highly successful lifters including Dan Green, Jeremy Hamilton, Jim Wendler, Jesse Norris and many more.
At Nova Strength we have all our athletes, male and female, perform overhead pressing variations twice a week -- a heavier barbell variation on Sunday and a lighter dumbbell variation on Wednesday. Not only will this increase all your pressing movements, but it'll add muscle mass onto your shoulders, traps and upper back.
Watch Dan Green go over The Overhead Press HERE
3. Use the SPOTO Press.
Invented by one of the strongest Bench Pressers of all time, Eric Soto, the Spoto Press has gained popularity the last few years and for good reason -- it works.
The Spoto Press is one of the best variations to increase the bottom portion of your Bench Press and to put muscle on your pecs. Although the Spoto Press's magic is in it's simplicity, many people perform the movement incorrectly.
When performing the Spoto Press ensure that you are tight and stable throughout the entire movement. When lowering the bar, lower it in a fast, but controlled motion and stop approximately 1 inch above your chest. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds, then drive the bar up and back to the starting position. This exercise is best done with 60%-75% of your Bench 1RM for 6-12 reps.
Video example of the Spoto Press HERE
Although this one seems obvious, many people overlook the most important aspect of strength development -- recovery. If you aren't recovering properly between training sessions, then your lifts will plateau, decrease or even worse, you'll get injured.
Comment below with tips that have helped your bench press.