Did you know?
The bench press is the single most popular lift in the gym. That is because it's the upper body exercise that allows you to lift the most weight.
Please Be Careful!
But you do have to practice safety measures and caution when performing the bench press, as it can - and does - cause most injuries, especially to the shoulder region. If you've had any shoulder injuries or shoulder surgery, skip this exercise until you've consulted with a physician or physical therapist.
The bench press is a form of weight lifting which primarily focuses on the development of the pectoral or chest muscles.
While the bench press is primarily intended for the development of the chest, or pectoral muscles, it also helps develop the anterior deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis, as well as the triceps.
How to perform the Bench Press Exercise:
- Lie on your back on a flat bench and grab the bar with an overhand grip just beyond shoulder-width.
- Lift the bar so it is over your chin.
- Lower the weight to your chest, pause, and then push it back up over your chin.
Note: It's a good idea to always use a spotter when you bench press.
Variation: Close Grip Bench Press
If the close grip bench press is not done with strict technique it may as well be a shoulder exercise!
Keep your elbows tucked in at all times and do not lock your elbows out at the top of the exercise. It's a good idea to have a spotter handy for this exercise.
How to perform the Close Grip Bench Press:
- Add some weight to your exercise bar.
- Lie on the bench with your arms extended, the bar over your chest. If it doesn't hurt your knees or back, bring your feet onto the bench.
- Slowly lower the bars to your chest, pause, and then push it back to the starting position.
Wide Grip Bench Press
The wide-grip incline bench press exercise primarily targets the chest muscles (pectorals) and to a lesser degree also targets the tricep muscles in the back of the arm.
Important: Do not touch the bar to your chest. This causes unneeded stress on your shoulder joints and takes the tension away from your pec muscles, which are what we want to be doing the work!
Repeat this movement for as many repetitions as you can until fatigue of the muscles is felt. Remember to always use a spotter when performing this and almost every other free weight exercise!
How to perform the Wide Grip Bench Press:
- Lie on your back on a bench set at a low incline and grab the bar with a wide overhand grip.
- Lift the bar so it's over your eyes.
- Slowly lower the weights to your chest, pause, and then push it back up over your eyes.
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