To adequately measure and track performance levels, a beginner on the bench press needs to determine their 1 Repetition Maximum (1RM).
Here is a situation that many of you are likely to be familiar with.
You are having a conversation with a friend or the gym buddy and they will in inevitably ask you, how much do you bench? The bench press seems to be the exercise that people sum up or assess a person's strength or power in the gym.
You hardly ever hear someone saying how much do you squat or how many dumbbell rows can you perform.
That's because the bench press is one of the only exercises or where a person can do is display their true lifting power which can be transferred into many other gym exercises and of course many other sports.
The first step for a beginner is to determine how much weight they can use on the bench press.
To do this you must work out to your one repetition maximum or 1RM.
Your 1RM is the maximum amount of weight that you can use for one full repetition and lets you accurately used bench press charts to work out how much weight you should be using when doing a certain number of reps.
When you get down to actually performing the 1RM test you must make sure that your body is well rested and fresh.
You must not do this test after doing a few exercises or at the end of a gym session because you will not have the maximum energy and power required to accurately assess your 1RM.
You will need a spotter.
A friend or someone who works out with you in the gym will be perfect.
A spotter will give you the self-confidence and assurance to go for your maximum lift without worrying that the bar will fall on you when you are in the middle of your lift.
When you are ready to do your 1RM, you must make sure that you warm up first.
A quick easy warm up of about 5 to 6 minutes will suffice.
This can be on the treadmill, bike or cross trainer just to get the blood flowing around your body.
Next you must do a few warm up sets with the bar to make sure that your are feeling good and you are ready for the heavy lift you are about to perform.
Here, it is important to appear to concentrate on your form.
Slowly lower the bar down to your chest in line with your nipples, touch very lightly, press back to the top of the repetition.
Perform about 5 to 8 reps.
The second set you should perform should be 75 percent of what you estimate your 1RM to be.
Perform about 5 to 6 reps then rest for three minutes.
Next, try roughly 85 percent of you all estimated 1RM for 3 reps.
Rest for 3 minutes and you are set to go for your 1RM.
Mentally you need to be ready.
You need to have the focus and determination to push through the pain and obtain your best maximum repetition.
Make sure that your spotter is ready then go! If the weight is too heavy and you fail halfway through the rep take some weight off, rest 2 minutes and try again.
However if you can complete the rep and you still feel that you still have some more energy left in the tank, then try adding some more pounds to the bar, wait 2 minutes and try again.
You want to get your 1RM correct so that you can accurately track your progress and any improvements made to your bench press workout.
With accurate measurements you can find out what parts of your bench press workout you need to improve and focus on.
Working out these problem areas coupled with hard work in the gym will increase your lifting power and increase your bench!