Bench Press 101
Welcome to the Bench Press guide.
What is the Bench Press?
Much like a Squat and Deadlift, the Bench press is a compound exercise utilizing various muscle groups when performing a single repetition. The exercise primarily uses the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, biceps , triceps and anconeous (elbow). There are also different Types and variations including:
- Flat Bench Press
- Incline Bench Press
- Decline Bench Press
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Wide Grip Bench Press
- Floor Press
- Reverse Grip Bench Press
- Dumbbell Bench Press etc.
Bench press is considered as one of the most dominant strength training movements for the upper body. It is used amongst lifters as a measure of strength and also comes with its benefits including:
Development of muscles groups - namely chest
Application and Development of Strength
Energy expenditure - Powerlifting bench press exert lots of energy (calories)
How to Bench Press?
For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on the powerlifting bench press setup. Here's a quick breakdown on How to Bench in 7 simple steps:
1. Bench Setup: Prepare yourself by loading the bar with an appropriate amount of weight.
2. Lay down on the bench pad tucking your feet back. Grip the bar and pull yourself up towards the bar and down towards your feet. This will help create an arch or bridge in the lower back. Note: Do NOT move your feet of the ground; just arch your back into a bridge.
3. Use a fully wrapped Grip Type and keep Grip Width slightly shoulder width.
4. Squeeze Shoulder Blades together whilst keeping wrists Straight. Take a deep breath, brace the core and when ready unrack the bar.
5. Keeping Elbows Locked whilst unracking, bring the bar slightly out over the chest area.
6. Descend the bar by flexing the elbows and tucking them in. The bar should end up on the lower chest region ideally the sternum or below the nipple line.
7. Begin the Ascent by pressing the bar upwards. Dig your heels as hard as possible into the floor and arch your back as hard as you can. Once the elbows are locked out, rack the bar in a controlled manner.
Congratulations! This completes the Bench Press movement.
Common Errors and Misconceptions
There are also incorrect ways to Bench Press. This can leave you more prone to accidents and injury. Some incorrect cues to look out for:
Unspotted Bench for maximal effort
If you haven't already incorporated these lifts in your Training, give them a go!