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About the Bench Press
Video: How To Do Bench Press
Barbell Bench Press Instructions
1. Take up position for the Bench Press by lying flat on a bench, with your hands placed just a little more than shoulder width.
2. Pinch back your shoulder blades and drive them into the bench for fixation.
3. Breathe in deeply, hold it, and with the assistance of a spotter, lift off your weights while retaining tightness in your upper back muscles.
4. Wait a moment for the weight to settle and hold your back tight after you lift off.
5. Exhale as you let the bar gradually return back to the starting position by unlocking your elbows.
6. Make sure the bar comes down in a straight line right to the bottom of your breastbone, and touches your chest.
7. Then push the bar back up in a straight line, pressing your back into the bench to generate power while you also drive your feet into the ground for leg power and extend your elbows.
8. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
How To: Bench Press
Precautions and Tips for Bench Press
Like most other weight exercises, your technique should always take priority over the weight lifted. The price you pay for sloppy technique is injury!
The bar should move in a straight line. This means your wrist and elbows must be locked and held tight to guide the weight.
To increase the intensity of your bench press, stop each rep just before you reach the very top of your swing. This holds tension through your triceps and chest muscles.
If you need to arch your back, be sure that it’s only the mid- to upper-back that bends, not the lower back. If you feel a cramp or pain lower down, it means your position isn’t right. Correct this before lifting, or you’ll suffer injury.
Bring the bar down to touch your chest with every rep.
Advanced bench press lifters can use a thumbless or ‘suicide’ grip, but most bodybuilders only need to do the conventional form of this exercise.
Don’t let your wrists roll back into extension.
Try out different grip widths until you find your ideal formula. Those with longer arms will require wider grips.
Squeezing the bar tightly helps increase shoulder stability during a bench press.
Keep your shoulder blades retracted and don’t change their position during the bench press.
Weights should move smoothly and without bumps, jumps or jerks. Don’t use the momentum to move the weights. Use your muscle power only.
Your feet can remain quiet during the lift, though some like to utilize leg drive to push their feet into the ground while squeezing the glutes to stabilize the pelvis.
To learn more about the intricacies of a bench press, Mike Westerdal’s ‘Critical Bench’ is a great place to begin.