Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Here are five key ways of building a bench press that I'm sure you've heard but lacked the strength to obey ;) These even apply to other lifts too! So listen close -
CONSISTENCY. "Dammit! WHY does everyone preach consistency." They preach it because they know you're not doing it! Some folks say they bench press once a week (but it really turns out to be once every other week) or they say twice a week (when it's actually once a week!). The key is to stay consistent and add on gradually, not rush the process, and appreciate small gains on bench press but REMAIN CONSISTENT. Too many folks are never consistent, get fat and remain lazy, and blame external factors for their lack of progress. Take control and get consistent! You're not going to be able to magically bench press 350 or squat 500 if you don't do the work to build it.
VOLUME. "Dammit! I'm doing all the volume!" No, you're doing it wrong. Minimal dose effect is the key, brah. If you hammer the hell out of yourself with volume, what will the impact be? Where do you go from there? Start with the minimum volume you need to sustain your current bench, then add a little bit at a time like a fine recipe. Then, fast forward a year or two down the road and voila you have a bench press you don't have to be embarrassed by. But this step can ONLY be done with step 1: consistency.
VARIATION. "Dammit! I use variation!" You probably are doing some good variation like dumbbell bench press or multigrip bench press or floor press, etc etc etc. But it's probably not the RIGHT variation for you. Or if you are using variation, then you might be flip flopping from exercise to exercise and never getting the actual training effect from bringing it in and spending time at getting good at the weak point it has the potential to bring up.
PATIENCE. "Dammit! I am patient!" If you were patient then you would learn to enjoy the process rather than the result. Sure, PRs feel awesome but if you live in "I'm never good enough" land then you'll jump ship before you ever get to yield the crops. Learn to focus on good movement, get to know what making things a habit means, let yourself enjoy training. The only competition is with yourself! Strive for a little bit better every month - or if you've been doing this for a while then aim for a little bit better every 3 months. A little bit better over a length of time adds up to a lot better by the end of two years. We live in an impatient world. Be the rift in the world and practice patience. You'll find you'll LOVE the process much, much more.
INTENTION. "Dammit! I work hard to stay focused and do everything to the tee." So then why are you in the gym for so long? Why do your rows look like a flopping fish? Why are you cutting corners in accessory work? Why are you on your phone 5x longer than you are actually doing stuff in the gym? Do ALL THINGS in your training like it's your competition lift and THEN you'll see the transfer ;)
Don't be the guy who seems to always be starting over. Be the guy who stays consistent and seems to always be coming away with a nice yield of crops. This is done by staying consistent, training smart, using appropriate variation when necessary, practicing patience, and focusing on the details at all times when you're training. And if you are on your phone, make sure that you're reviewing your last set and focusing in on the ONE THING your coach wants you thinking about that day. It's all really more chill than you'd expect and is a long term simmer rather than a short term flash in the pan.