Increase Your Bench Press by 20 lbs. in 3 Months

Even though the bench press is one of the three main movements in powerlifting, this exercise becomes favorite for many athletes. It is the bench press that starts the training of most beginners who consider it the finest measure of strength and the best way to show off. But when it comes to more experienced athletes, over time, for them, the bench press turns into hard work, in which it is very difficult to achieve long-term progress. Therefore, it is necessary to resort to various tricks. Including the use of chains.

Let’s have a look at a simple technique that might be helpful even for experienced athletes who have some troubles with the bench press. By applying it, in just 3 months anyone will be able to increase his or her bench press by 20 lbs. or even more. Of course, you can say “20 lbs. is not too big of a deal, I can do it in a month!”. Yeah, maybe you can. But don’t forget that when your bench press has exceeded 300 lbs. and above, an increase of 20 lbs. may not seem so insignificant.

Generally, the bench press with chains is a rather old and well-known technique. The thing is, not everyone uses it correctly and understands how it works. Both of these questions we are gonna discuss in this article.

Increase Your Bench Press

How does it work?

When using chains in your bench press, you should consider these two factors:

  • Psychological factor

When you lower the barbell and start moving up, the barbell is as light as possible. And at the subconscious level, your brain evaluates the weight of the barbell. And, since your brain is used to the fact that the weight of the bar does not change, it becomes a bit of a “shock” for it and your muscles that the weight increases with every inch. It is not a regular load. And any unusual stress is useful for the muscles.

  • Boost effect

The weight that increases makes your muscles work harder. As you get used to pressing with chains, the muscles begin to turn on automatically just from the middle of the amplitude. And as for most of us, the middle of the amplitude is the main stopper. The chain can easily help you to overcome it.

Using chains for bench press – main principles

  1. The difference in bar weight at the bottom and at the top must be at least 20 lbs. Or 30 – 40 lbs. would be even better. Otherwise there will be no proper effect. Agree, there is not too much of a stress for your muscles when the weight changes by only 10 lbs. You may not even feel this change.
  2. If you do a bench press with chains, then you do not need to do a regular bench press. For these 3 months bench press with chains should be your main and only one.
  3. The number of repetitions must be varied. Basically you need to aim at 2 – 6 repetitions. But sometimes you can do 10-12.
  4. Set a goal on 2 – 3 reps with a 100% of your one-rep maximum in classic bench press. This means that at the top of the amplitude the bar should be equal to this weight. After all, at the lower point the bar will be lighter.
  5. Once a month it is necessary to do the “test set” in the classic bench press for 1 – 2 repetitions.

How heavy must your chains be?

Another important thing is to know how much weight you should add to your bar. Here is a little table for reference.

Bench Press

SR Maximum

Chain weight

Under 100 lbs.

Sorry, no chains for you yet

100-200 lbs.

20 lbs.

200-300 lbs.

30 lbs.

300-400 lbs.

40 lbs.

400-500 lbs.

60 lbs.

*SR – single repetition

*All numbers are estimated, they are calculated based on your single-rep maximum

As promised, if you concentrate on working with chains and follow the recommendations, you can expect some impressive increase in strength in a fairly short time.

About Benjamin Clarkson

As a former professional weightlifter, Ben has come a long way in using a wide variety of equipment and training techniques, including weightlifting chains. His experience and knowledge is a valuable contribution to our team that can bring immense benefit to any visitor to his classes. Despite the image of a stern man, Ben actually demonstrates himself not only as a very understanding instructor, but also a cheerful and funny friend. If you have questions to Benjamin, just ask your question using the form.

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Weight Lifting Chains
Average rating:  
 3 reviews
by Ben Petersson on Weight Lifting Chains
Location (City, State): St. Louis, MO

Well, fairly saying no one can guarantee you a progress of 20 lbs if you don't take it seriously enough. It depends. But if you do you can go even further, take your time get used to it and chains will reveal their potential.

by James Abrams on Weight Lifting Chains
Location (City, State): Irvine, CA

Yep, my experience says that chains are a real test of your capabilities. They can reveal your weak points, but you can advance if you learn how to use them properly.

by Larry Cofield on Weight Lifting Chains
Location (City, State): Saint Paul, MN

When my coach first suggested that I use chains I was a bit uncertain. I took them as just another way of making the barbell heavier. But now a couple month later I see how wrong I was.

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