Awesome Workout Tips – Part 1

By Jim Smith

Over the years, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the gym.  And the lessons I’ve learned have always been the hard way. 

To make sure you don’t go down the same path I did, I am going to show you not only how to train the right way, but how to do it and be your very best. 

While it is true that there are training principles that don’t change and fundamental movement patterns that must be learned, training is very different from one person to the next.

Everyone has their individual limitations and restrictions and knowing the regressions and progressions to every strength training exercise and any program, is the key to training smart and reaching your goals fast. 

In this ongoing series, I will give you more options in the weight room so that you can make better decisions in your programs and train smarter with your individual strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s get started.

Workout Tip #1 – Bench More Weight

To bench press more weight, you need a stable setup on the bench.  This allows you to create more full body tension and maintain a good chest up and shoulders backposition. 

Unfortunately, this is very difficult to do when your shoulders are sliding around on the bench.  This happens a lot if you’re wearing a shirt made out of a certain material or when you’re sweating.

Wrapping one or two bands lengthwise on the bench will help to eliminate this problem.  This will help you get setup better with more tension and allow you to stay ‘set’, once you get into your setup.  Maintaining a good stable foundation throughout the lift and being able to utilize your chest, shoulders, triceps and lats together to control and overcome the bar, will make always make you stronger. 

Workout Tip #2 – Bench Pain Free

As I’ve gotten older, the barbell bench press has gone from an essential exercise in all of my programs, to an exercise that I only cycle in once-in-a-while.  While there are lifters who train the bench several times a week and never have a problem, it has always been one of my worst lifts.  I’ve tried every bench variation you can think of including speed bench, pause bench, high rep bench, static start bench off pins, bench with chains, band-resisted bench, the list goes on and on.  It just isn’t that great a lift for me.

As I’ve grown as a coach, I’ve learned over the years that there are a lot of ways to get the job done and you don’t have to be focused on only one exercise to do it.

Dumbbell bench, unlike the benching with a barbell, has never given me any problems.  And I’ve found that simply by changing the angle slightly when performing dumbbell bench, I can further alleviate stress and strain on my old shoulders.  This allows me to go heavier which helps to build more muscle. 

Check out this video to see how to easily change the angle of the bench to find your ‘sweet spot.’

Workout Tip #3 – Super Effective Pre-Bench Warm-up Drill

I used to think warm-up drills were absolutely essential before you performed any type of training.  But now I know that better movement and recovery strategies have to be incorporated consistently each and every day; not just before you train.

You should definitely be crushing a very thorough warm-up – to prepare you body and address any injuries or weaknesses - before you train to maximize your potential and rehearse similar movement patterns that you will be performing.

But you can’t forget the other 23 hours of the day. 

Leading up to the workout or during an off day, you should be working on improving or ‘opening up’ your overall movement.  Performing simple warm-up drills like striders, push-up pluses, and some foam rolling will make you feel better and help you recover faster between workouts.

Today we will focus on your pre-workout warm-up with a drill that will help you bench press better. 

Band-resisted hand walking has a ton of benefits.  It not only targets the posterior delts and upper back, but it also teaches you how to stay tight and engage the lats.  Learning how to get your lats on tension will allow you to control the weight better when you are lowering the weight to your chest.  This will be a solid and stable foundation to press the bar back to lockout.  In addition, performing band-resisted hand walking in a push-up will also build and reinforce full body tension and core stability; which is essential since the bench is a full body lift.

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the Awesome Workout Tips series.  I look forward to hearing your feedback after you try some of the techniques in your workouts.  Please let me know in the comments how you like the new series.


How to Bench Press – Comprehensive Guide


Jim is a proud Dad, strength coach, and entrepreneur.  Co-author of the best selling Athletic Development Training system and co-founder of the CPPS certification for coaches, Jim has been recognized as one of the ‘most innovative coaches’ in the fitness industry.  Jim is regularly featured in Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Muscle & Fitness.

Website: http://www.dieselsc.com/

FREE Gift from Jim: The Mass Report – Build More Muscle Fast: http://www.dieselsc.com/free-stuff/