The bench press is a great exercise...but only if you get your form right. Avoid the silly mistakes most bodybuilders make and get optimal results from every bench press you do.
The Big Mistakes to Avoid When Bench Pressing
When it comes to developing your upper body, few exercises can compete with the bench press. This compound exercise works your chest, shoulders and triceps simultaneously. However, if you are making mistakes when performing the bench press you won’t get the results you want.
In a worst case scenario, you might injure yourself and then you will be out of the gym for weeks or months. This article will discuss some of the worst bench press mistakes made in the gym and tell you how to avoid them.
Overtraining and Pushing Yourself Too Hard
You are hungry for it. You want to gain as much strength and muscle in your upper body as you can so you train and train. Training hard is commendable, but training too often hurts your progress. If you are doing bench presses two or three times a week, you are overtraining.
Overtraining occurs when you don’t give your body the proper rest it needs to recover from prior workouts. If you aren’t able to continually lift more weight on the bench press, you need to reduce your training frequency to one time a week.
When performing the bench press, there are several areas in which people make mistakes. One common mistake happens when you use the wrong grip.
If your arms are positioned about shoulder-width apart, widen that grip about three inches and you will notice that you can increase the weight you lift.
Another mistake people make is not squeezing their shoulder blades together during the exercise. Your shoulder blades should be squeezed together throughout the entire exercise.
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The third big mistake is not keeping your feet on the floor while performing the exercise. Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor and you should drive through your heels when lifting the weight.
Lastly, your lower back should have a slight arch in it when you are bench pressing. By correcting your form, you will be able to shorten the distance the bar travels and improve your performance on this exercise.
Not Keeping A Journal
If you are trying to lift more weight and gain more muscle, you have to keep track of your progress. The best way to do that is to write down how much weight you are lifting, and how many repetitions you perform every time you go to the gym.
This way you will be able to gradually increase the weight instead of haphazardly adding too much weight or too little weight each time you perform the bench press. Journaling can also help you see if you aren’t progressing.
If you are lifting the same amount of weight for weeks, then you have to look at your diet or your recovery techniques to see if they are affecting your bench press.
When performing the bench press, some people bounce the barbell off their chest in order to be able to lift more weight. While this may allow you to lift more weight, you aren’t properly working your chest muscles. Instead of bouncing the bar off your chest, decrease the weight.
When correctly performing this exercise, the barbell should lightly touch your chest on the descent and then you should raise it again. This will help you properly work your chest muscles so you can make real gains in strength and muscular with this exercise.
Too Many Warm-up Sets
Warming up before performing your actual sets is a great idea, but too many warm-up sets can hurt your progress. If you are performing four sets of warm-ups before beginning your working sets, you will notice that you are lifting less weight.
The reason for this is that your muscles are exhausted from your warm-up sets. Try performing some pushups, stretching or two very light warm-up sets before beginning the exercise and you’ll notice that you are able to lift more weight.
No More Mistakes
It’s easy to avoid common bench press mistakes when you know how to spot them. Avoid overtraining, using bad form, and keep a workout journal.
You should also limit the number of warm-up sets you perform and never bounce the barbell off your chest when doing the bench press. If you follow this advice, you will be able to lift more weight and gain more muscle.