Just a quick tip today, for National Bench Press Day - celebrated every Monday, every week!
Before I have clients press, or press myself, I have them do two things:
- a general shoulder warmup, like is discussed in this post.
- throw things.
The throws tends to be either medicine ball tosses to the side (like you're swinging a bat, only throwing a medicine ball into a wall), "chest passes" where you throw a ball straight off your chest at a wall, or partner ball tossing (side or front throws to another person who throws it back). We use a 6-8 pound medicine ball, or something a little lighter, but not heavier - the goal is speed and snap, not how heavy of a ball can you throw.
We tend to do 10-12 throws per side, with a pause in between. I couch people to throw the ball at the wall like if they break it they don't have to do any more throws. When tossing to a partner, I ask for a moderately hard toss, so it's not impossible to catch but it's a moderate challenge to do so.
All we're trying to do here is get your nervous system firing before we start moving weights. I've found this allows for a heavier bench press or more weight at a given rep range for any kind of press in general. It's not throwing for fatigue, it's not "cardio," it's a warmup. Give it a try and let me know how it went in the comments.