Boost Your Bench & Squat Till You Drop!
Muscular Development|September 2021
The bench press and squat are the ultimate exercises for building upper and lower body strength, respectively.
By Michael J. Rudolph, Ph.D.

Correctly performed, these two lifts can dramatically increase strength and power, enhancing athletic performance, while also stimulating tremendous muscle growth. While many advanced bench press and squat techniques routinely manipulate training intensity and volume in a pretty straightforward way to enhance strength, some uncommon training methods exist that have a more unconventional impact on training intensity and volume, resulting in extraordinary strength gains in the bench press and squat.

Bench More Weight

Bench pressing a loaded bar with greater acceleration, while being careful not to cause injury, potently increases the intensity of the lift, which preferentially activates fast-twitch muscle fibers, ultimately promoting their hypertrophy. The targeted growth of the superior force-producing fast-twitch muscle fiber results in larger strength gains, making this bench-press technique an optimal way to boost your bench press.

In addition, a study by Liu et al.1 confirmed that rapidly accelerated bench pressing can also stimulate the conversion of slow-twitch muscle fibers to fast-twitch muscle fibers, further validating the use of this training approach for optimal strength gains in the bench press. In this study, test subjects were split into two groups. One group performed standard-velocity bench presses, and the second group performed both normal-velocity bench presses on day one of the protocol, and then accelerated bench presses with 30 percent of their one-repetition maximum (1RM) during the next scheduled workout. The results showed that the group performing a combination of regular and accelerated bench presses increased the fast-twitch fiber type by 15 percent, while decreasing the slow-twitch fiber by a similar amount, indicating that high-velocity movements stimulated the conversion of slow- to fast-twitch fiber.

Altogether, the ability of high-velocity bench press movements to increase both the size and number of fast-twitch muscle fibers indicates that this approach to the bench press is a very effective way to enhance bench press strength.

Blast Past the Sticking Point

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