Boost your bench

mens fitness
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Warm up

'A thorough warm-up is a must and I’ll always do a couple of sets of 15 reps without any weight after some long stretches to really get the blood pumping. Never go straight to the heaviest weight; I’ll do single sets of ten, then fives, then threes as I gradually increase the weight.'

Perfect position

'The most efficient position for transferring force into the bar to lift the weight is to grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Too narrow and there’s too much emphasis on the triceps, but too wide and you have to lift the weight further. Shoulder width gives you the shortest lift distance.'

Get spotted

'Never attempt to lift heavy without a spotter. It is unsafe to lift heavy without someone watching you, and a good training partner can really motivate you to push harder than you would by yourself.'

Breathe easy

'Inhaling when you lower the bar expands the lungs as they fill with air and consequently lowers the distance the bar needs to come down. Exhale hard on the push up as your arms straighten.'

Foot power

'Resting your feet on the bench is a big no-no. Feet should be flat on the ground, and back flat on the bench, because this makes lifting heavy weights easier. As you lift you naturally drive your feet into the floor, which generates extra power. Having your feet on the bench makes you unstable and unable to lift as much.'

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders has been bench press world champion four times and holds the current world record in the 100kg class of 230kg.

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