How To Bench Press
1) Lay down flat on a bench with the barbell directly over your eyes.
2) Raise your chest by pinning your shoulders back. Do not arch your lower back or lift your butt off the bench.
3) Grip the bar 1-3 inches outside of your shoulder width. Gripping the bar wider than this will put your shoulders in an unhealthy position.
4) Place the bar in the bottom portion of your palms and squeeze the bar as hard as you can. This will keep your wrists straight.
5) Unrack the barbell and hold it above your mid-chest for a few seconds. This allows your body to balance the weight before performing your first rep.
6) Lower the barbell in a controlled manner down to the bottom of your chest (below your nipples) and touch it to your body.
7) Press the bar straight up to the starting position as explosively as possible until your arms are locked out.
8) Once you have completed your desired number of reps, rack the barbell by hitting the uprights of the rack first and then place it down onto the pins. Failure to hit the uprights first can lead to serious injury. If you miss the pins, the barbell could fall onto your throat or head.
Always grip the barbell in the lower portion of your palm. This will help keep your wrists straight and pain-free. Nothing will halt your bench press progress faster than nagging wrist pain.
Why Bench Press?
Build Upper Body Size And Strength – The bench press is the king of upper body mass builders. It does a fantastic job of building the chest, triceps, and shoulders while also stimulating your back, traps, and lower body stabilizing muscles. You must include the bench press in your routine if you want to build maximum size and strength in your upper body.
Build Bigger Arms – 2/3 of your upper arm is made up of the triceps muscle. The triceps are a prime mover in the bench press and get stressed heavily during the exercise. The bench press allows for the most weight to be lifted by the triceps which builds the maximum amount of strength possible. More strength is more muscle!
Build Your Chest – If you want to have a big muscular chest, you need to get your bench press up to at least 225 pounds. Until you do that, skip the dumbbell flys and other isolation exercises.
Credibility – Nothing is more impressive than a guy with a strong bench press. Getting your bench press up to 315 pounds (3 plates) will instantly make you a gym hero. Strangers will come up to you and ask you questions about training and diet as if you were some sort of living god. Hell, you could even make a living off of teaching bench press technique if you wanted.
Common Bench Press Errors To Avoid
Benching Flat Chested – Performing the bench press without pinching your shoulder blades together and raising your chest puts you at a disadvantage for 2 reasons
1) It makes the distance that the bar has to travel longer. A Longer range of motion makes an exercise harder which means less weight will be lifted. Less weight lifted = Fewer gains in strength and size.
2) More stress gets put on your shoulders when you bench flat chested which will eventually lead to a shoulder injury. Shoulder injuries often require surgery and keep you out of the gym for many months. Do yourself a favor now and get those shoulders pinned back.
Bent Wrists – Most people bench with bent wrists and suffer from agonizing wrist and elbow pain. Make sure you grip the barbell lower in your palm and squeeze it as hard as you can. Benching with straight wrists will keep you injury free and make you much stronger.
Feet Off The Ground – Never bench with your feet off the ground. Your feet are an important part of the bench press and without them, you will not be able to lift the maximum amount of weight possible. Keep your feet flat on the ground and push through your heels to provide extra strength and power during the exercise.
Thumbless Grip – Benching with a thumbless grip can make it easier to maintain straight wrists throughout the movement, but it also adds extreme danger. A less secure grip increases the chance of the bar slipping and ending up on your throat.
Head Off The Bench – Your head should remain flat on the bench and neutral during your entire set. Don’t crane your neck forward and backward during each rep as some people do. This will lead to neck problems and other issues down the road. Keep your neck neutral and look at the ceiling.
Partial Reps – Many professional bodybuilders bench press without touching their chest or locking their arms out at the top. This is done in an effort to keep constant tension on the muscles without getting any help from their joints or other connective tissue. This may be beneficial to them but it is not optimal for natural drug-free trainees such as yourself. Always touch your chest and lockout at the top of the exercise. We want to lift the most amount of weight possible while also strengthening our tendons, joints, and ligaments.
The Best Way To Improve Your Bench Press Form
Filming your exercises is the second best thing you can do next to hiring a strength coach.
You will never perfect your form if you don’t know what you look like.
Anyone can easily film themselves by using the built-in camera on their smartphone.
If you don’t have anyone that can film for you, buy a smartphone tripod.
How Often Should I Bench Press?
At most, you should be bench pressing twice a week.
Any more than that and your muscles will not have enough time to fully recover in between workouts.
Excessive bench pressing can lead to inflamed tendons which can cause nagging injuries like tendonitis.
Your muscles grow outside of the gym, not during your workouts.
Strength Goals For The Bench Press
In order to be considered strong, you need to able to bench press 1.5 times your bodyweight.
If you are a 200-pound guy, you ought to be able to bench press 300 pounds after a couple years of proper training.
However, reaching those numbers will take time and dedication.
From The Man Himself –