The bench press is one of the most important upper-body exercises in your movement toolkit. Not only is it crucial for upper-body muscular development, but it’s an exceptional strength builder. Many people think the bench press is just a chest exercise, but I’m here to tell you that your triceps, shoulders, back, and even your glutes are involved. It’s a complex movement that can be disastrous if you get it wrong.
If you’ve been doing the bench press without being too concerned about how you’re doing it, it might be time for you to take a step back and focus on improving your technique. Three years ago, I tore my right rotator cuff due on improper form and not proper warm up. I have to stopped bench pressing and I got to rehab my right rotator shoulder before I can bench pressing again. It took me time to recover I’m not talking about weeks recovery but months! I’ll tell you right now, it sucked.
Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to incorporate the correct muscle groups and focus on the proper execution of the movement itself. After learning how to improve my bench mechanics, not only did the movement become safer, my confident has come back again and I’m trying to build my strength again slowly but surely!
If you’re new to this exercise I wrote a guideline list how I exactly execute this exercise;
- Slight arch on my lumbar spine “lower back”
- Tight on gluteus
- Feet stable on the floor
- Bar level “chest”
- Bar grip normal “thumbs under the bar”
- Shoulder blades together “tight”
- Big breath IN start pressing then breath OUT
- Head maintain straight on the bench and neutral during execution
- Avoid bouncing the bar on the chest while pressing (slow and control tempo if you can)
- Then, repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions
Here are some photo’s step by step how to execute this exercise
Here is my live (video) at my Instagram account how I properly executed this exercise!
Remember; First, before you get underneath the bar you need to make sure you have the strength on your chest, shoulders and triceps to manage the weight of the empty bar. The Olympic barbell, which is the standard one used to bench press in most decent gyms, weighs exactly 20kg. That may or may not sound like a lot depending on your weight training experience. If it does, then you need to get up to speed with press up or push up first.
Start in the press-up position with your hands underneath your shoulders, your core tight, and your toes together so your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Bend your elbows to lower your chest down to the floor, pause for a second at the bottom position, then press back powerfully to the start
If you’ve never done a press-up or push up before then you need to focus on doing one quality rep at a time, and gradually building up your strength until you can do ten good reps without stopping.
Once you can, you are ready for an empty bar bench press (following the form guide above), but only if you have a “spotter” who can stand behind you to assist your lift if you start to struggle. Read on for our comprehensive guide to the bench press to add muscle size and strength across your upper body.
Don’t forget QUALITY repetitions first before QUANTITY! What I meant by that is it doesn’t matter how heavy you lift, it’s about how GOOD you lift.
Until next time