Our Guide to Bench Pressing! Follow our tips
Today’s “How to” is all about the Bench press. The bench press is an upper body compound exercise targeting the chest (pectoralis major), front of the shoulders (anterior deltoids) and the back of the arms (Triceps). This classic lift is one of the big three lift used in powerlifting along with the squat and deadlift and is commonly used in bodybuilding. Oh and every Monday in your local gym!
The bench press offers a number of different variations to target different areas of the chest muscle. It is common for bodybuilders in the throes on a hypertrophy training programme to perform a two or three variation of bench press or chest pressing type exercises.
- Flat bench position – targets the middle portion of the pectoralis major muscle.
- Incline bench position targets the upper portion of the pectoralis major muscle and has an increased emphasises on the anterior deltoids.
- Decline position targets the lower portion of the pectoralis major muscle.
Other variations include:
- Using Dumbbells which can be used with either a flat, inclined or declined bench
- Close-grip bench press
- Single arm dumbbell
- Stability ball bench presses
- Floor presses
- Machine bench presses
- Powerlifting style (elbows tucked in, lats flared, back strongly arched)
How To – (classic flat bench position)
- Using a bench lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground
- Position your eyes directly below the bar so it will lift clear of the J hooks
- With your back slightly arched grasp the barbell with an overhand grip wider than shoulder width apart
- Breathe in and lower the bar down to chest
- On the return extend the arms and breathe out
- Maintain a steady tempo and do not bounce the bar off your chest
Pay attention to your hand grip; always have a firm secure grip with the thumb opposite the fingers and never allow the fingers to point when you push the weight up on the return phase.
If you are benching a heavy weight or working towards muscular failure, make sure you have a competent spotter on hand as when things go wrong with the bench press, serious injuries can be the result.
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