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Home » Health

The Proper Way To Bench Press

Submitted by on May 11, 2008 – 11:02 am6 Comments


The bench press is one of the most popular upper body exercises at the gym but also one of the most dangerous. If you don’t bench press properly you could risk hurting yourself, and not only that, if your form is wrong you wont see results as fast as you should.

Variations of the bench press

There are a few different variations of the bench press but these are the 3 major ones that are controlled by the angle of the bench.

  • Incline Bench Press – Attacks your shoulders as well as your upper chest muscles
  • Flat Bench Press – Neutral position
  • Decline Bench Press– Allows you to lift more weight then the other two positions

What you must remember to do when performing the bench press

Safety is very important when performing the bench press due to the weight of the bar and its position directly over your chest. Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll lower your risk of injury.

  • Use a Spotter – The bench press is an exercise that you always want to use a spotter. In your later reps you might stall the weight on your chest and need help to get it up to the rack. Nothing looks worse then someone yelling for help when they cant get the weight up to the rack. Also by using a spotter you can get a few more reps out of each set. This will help you gain muscles faster.
  • Keep your thumbs wrapped around the bar– If you grip the barbell using a thumb less grip you run the risk of the bar slipping while you are pressing the weight. Chances are it will fall onto your chest and its going to hurt like a mofo.
  • Stay at a comfortable weight – Its not smart to always lift your maximum for the bench press. Start with a reasonable weight until you get comfortable with your form, then increase in small increments.

The perfect form for the bench press

Keeping the proper form is key to any exercise but its paramount during the bench press.

  • Tight upper back, Big Chest – Squeeze your shoulder blades together while keeping them down. This will make a real stable platform for your shoulders on the bench. Push your chest up as much as possible and keep it that way throughout the whole set. If you loose upper back tightness and your chest goes flat then lower the weight!
  • Proper Bench Press Grip Grip the bar so that your forearms are perpendicular to the floor when the bar reaches your chest. Keep the bar close to your wrist and in the palm of your hand.
  • Feet – Keep your feet planted on the ground.
  • Head Position – Don’t push your head into the bench. Try keeping it less then an inch off the bench

The Bench Press

Ok, so you know how to position yourself for the bench press. Now all you have to do is raise the bar off the rack with your elbows locked and position it above your chest. Keeping your elbows locked lowers the risk of the bar falling on your face. Now lower the bar to your chest while keeping your elbows at right angles to your torso. When you push the barbell back up keep it in a straight line and your elbows beneath the bar. Don’t forget to keep your shoulder blades together and your chest up during the press.

Video of Eric Cressey Bench Pressing 350lbs

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