The bench press is a fantastic exercise, but to get the best, muscle-building results, you need to focus on getting your form right. Find out how to do the bench press the right way.
How to Bench Press Properly
The bench press is probably the most popular weight lifting exercise for bodybuilders. It’s a compound exercise that works the pectoral muscles, deltoids, and triceps. The bench press can effectively help you increase upper body strength and musculature, giving you a chest that people will admire and strength that can be used to help you go about your daily activities effortlessly. If you want to get the best results from doing the bench press, you need to learn how to bench press like a pro.
Professional bodybuilders know that form is the key to maximizing results in the gym. In order to get the most out an exercise and prevent injury, you must know how to perform that exercise to perfection. Some things to consider if you want to bench press like a pro are the use of free weights, grip width, foot placement, lifting techniques and prioritization.
Always Use Free Weights
Most gyms offer a variety of equipment including bench press machines, smith machines, and free weights. In general, working out with different equipment allows you to work specific muscle groups, but you will get the best results from bench pressing when you use free weights.
Free weights make you use all your muscle groups instead of targeting certain muscles. With free weights, you work the major muscles, but also have to recruit stabilizing muscles if you want to properly lift the weight. Not only do free weights help you use more muscle, they also allow you to move the weight in a comfortable pattern.
When you use machines, you are adjusting your movements to that of the machine. This unnatural adjustment is dangerous because it can lead to injury.
Machines help you lift more weight, but you are lifting that weight through the machines leverage system. In this way, you are doing yourself a disservice because you aren’t increasing your strength or gaining as much muscle as you could with free weights.
Grip width is very important for making gains in strength and lean mass when doing the bench press. A wide grip will target the larger muscles like the pectoralis major while a narrower grip focuses on supporting muscles like the triceps and deltoid muscles.
By changing your grip width your muscles will have an aesthetically pleasing appearance, your muscles will become larger and your strength will increase.
If you visit any gym you will occasionally see people performing the bench press with their feet in the air or their feet planted on the bench. Performing the bench press this way is not only wrong, but you increase the potential of injury.
If you have your feet in the air or on the bench and lose your balance, you could drop the bar and be stuck under a lot of weight or you could fall off the bench. These things have the potential to injure you for life or in extreme cases, kill you.
When you do the bench press, you should have your entire foot planted firmly on the ground (this includes your heels). Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and under or behind your knees.
Foot placement is important because it helps you lift the weight properly. When you lift the weight you are driving through the ground with your feet, slightly arching your back and then lifting the weight.
Some bodybuilders advocate slow and controlled reps on all lifts. However, a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information discovered that the opposite is true.
The way to achieve the greatest gains is to use a one-second count to lower the bar toward your chest and then raise it with all your force. Performing the exercise in this way will result in the greatest increase in strength.
Do It First
The bench press is a power exercise. It requires a lot of energy and force to perform it correctly. If you are performing it at the end of your exercise routine, you aren’t getting the biggest bang for your buck. This exercise should be performed before all other exercises.
When you first enter the gym and have completed your warm-up, your energy reserves and strength are at their highest levels. Use that energy to go all out on this exercise. You’ll be able to consistently lift more weight each week helping you get stronger while increasing your lean mass.
The pros know the secrets behind the bench press. This is why they are so strong. The pros focus on proper form, varying grip widths and prioritization. If you follow the tips listed above, you’ll be bench pressing like a pro in no time.