Bench Press: A Comprehensive Exercise Guide
Jan 5th, 2010 - written by Stephan in Strength Training
IntroductionBench press is one of the most popular weight training exercises. It is a basic upper body exercise for the chest muscles.
Due to its compound mechanics, bench press enables you to lift relatively large weights and to develop great upper body strength.
A widespread prejudice is that bench press is a "dangerous" exercise, which is not true at all. Bench press, in all its variations, is as safe as any other free weight lifting exercise.
Occurring difficulties or even injuries in the shoulder joints can usually be traced back to a wrong training technique, inadequate preparation or the use of too much weight.
|Development of Strength||Bench Presses let you lift relatively large weights, which makes it one of the most effective upper body exercises to build strength.|
|Muscle Growth||Bench Presses can help building an impressive torso. It is a great exercise for developing chest, front deltoids and triceps.|
|Effective Training||Doing Bench Press and few Bench Press variations basically provides an adequate training for the muscles involved. Thereīs no urgent need to experiment with a lot of other exercises. Improve your Bench Press performance, and so will your physique.|
Bench Press Instructions
- Lie supine on the bench of a bench press rack.
- Grasp the bar with the desired fashion, dismount it from the rack and, with arms extended, hold it above your chest.
- Lower the weight in a straight line down to your chest while forearms travel perpendicular to torso, looking from the side.
- Then press the weight up until arms are extended. , that is a Bench Press.
Bench Press VariationsThere are several grip options and bench angles available to add versatility to your bench press training:
|Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Bench Press|
|Close Grip Bench Press||Triceps Brachii||Bench Press, Close Grip|
|Incline Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Clavicular||Bench Press, Incline|
|Decline Bench Press||Pectoralis Major, Sternal||Bench Press, Decline|
|Floor Press||Triceps Brachii||Floor Press|
|Reverse Grip Bench Press||Triceps Brachii||Bench Press, Reverse Grip|
Bench Press Technique
|Grip_Distance||Gripping too close shifts workload to the triceps and weakens the pushing force. Gripping too wide compromises the range of motion. A good estimation is vertical forearms as bar touches chest.|
|Grip_Setup||Place the bar in the palm of your hands and secure it with your thumbs.|
|Torso_Posture||Always keep your chest up. Tense your back, bring your shoulder blades together and pull your shoulders back to create a safe and solid foundation to lie on and to press the bar up from. Donīt let your shoulders roll forward.|
|Feet_Position||Place your feet wide apart and put them flat on the floor. Keep your knees bent about right-angled and shift the weight on heels.|
|Head_Position||Keep your head in neutral position on bench. Donīt press it into the pad to prevent the neck from being overstressed.|
Range of Motion (ROM)The Bench Press range of motion is a controversial issue. Science has proved that a limited range of motion for the negative as well as for the positive part of the movement are the safer choice for the shoulder and elbow articulations and offer the same training effect as full range of motion. This insight leads to the following consequence for your Bench Press training: Avoid any extreme joint positions. Donīt lock your arms at top of motion and donīt let your elbows travel far below height of shoulders at bottom of motion.
|Bottom Position||Top Position|
|Full Range of Motion|
|Limited Range of Motion|
Bench Press Safety
|Warm_Up||Before doing Bench Presses with high resistance, have an initial overall warm up followed by a short local warm up of 15-20 repetitions with about 40-50% of the estimated maximum weight you Bench Press.|
|Weights||Learn the correct technique first and begin with light weight. Progressively add weight, always under the prerequisite of a proper training technique.|
|Posture||Keep your buttocks on the bench and prevent them from lifting off, because that will increase the risk of overextending your lower back.|
|Thumbs||Use your thumbs to hold the bar, otherwise it may slip out of your hand.|
|Spotter||It is recommended to Bench Press with a training partner or any other spotter. They will offer support if youīre unable to lift the bar off the chest.|
Bench Press Injuries and Pains
- Posture: If you have slouching shoulders caused by long-term seated or other one-sided positions, you should stretch your chest as well as your front shoulders. Also train your middle back and rear deltoids on a regular basis.
- Imbalances: Bench Press, besides almost any other chest exercise, also trains your front shoulders, which may lead to an imbalance between the strong front and weaker rear shoulders. Consequently and permanently your upper arm bone is slightly being pulled out of its natural position within the shoulder joint, causing pains and making it less resilient. Again, stretch the muscles of the anterior torso be stretched while the muscles of the rear torso have to be strengthened
Lower Back Problems
- Posture: Keep your Gluteus on the bench to dis-burden your lower back. To relieve the lower back from any pressure, raise your thighs up perpendicular to the floor and bend your knees. Consider that this position costs some stability.[/bold]
- Inefficient Dismounting: Dismount the barbell from the rack with straight arms, because that letīs you carry most weight. Lock your elbows and move barbell above your chest.
- Pressing to Shoulders: Move the barbell up and down above your chest, not towards or above your shoulders.
- Upper Arm Position: Keep your upper arms perpendicular to your torso or, when doing close grip bench press, close to your torso. Raising the upper arms above perpendicular to your torso forces your shoulder joints into a weak and vulnerable position.
- Bent wrists: Keep your wrists as straight as possible and hold the bar close to your wrists.
- Overextended back: Lifting your Gluteus will limit the range of motion. Worst of all, it moves your lumbar spine into an overextended position causing unusual high pressure that may lead to back pain.
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tags: bench press | bench | press | barbell | technique | guide | shoulder | pain | injuries | exercise | training |