The chest is considered one of the muscles many guys want to show off. Probably chest muscle (pectoralis) gives the look of strength and solidity. Therefore, it is common too see benches at the gym are always occupied with people doing bench pressing. However, many have got this common chest workout done wrong.
So, how to do a proper barbell bench press?
- Lie down on a flat bench with feet flat on the floor.
- Grip the bar about 3 – 4 inches wider than shoulder width and space your hands evenly using the markings on the bar.
- Lift the bar off the rack to a point directly above your shoulder joints.
- Lower the bar to the center of your chest (some call it nipple line) with your upper arms moving directly out to the sides. Touch your chest lightly (not resting at your chest).
- Press the bar up to the starting position. Do not lock your elbows at the top.
- You should inhale as you are lowering the bar and exhale as you are pressing up.
- Do 8 to 12 repetitions with 2 to 3 sets.
- The entire motion should be done in a smooth, controlled manner that with the downward movement no faster than the upward.
- Keep your wrists straight. Do not twist them. I learn my lesson by hurting my right wrist. Check out this post – How To Prevent Wrist Pain From Weight Training .
- I used to put my feet on the bench thinking it will help stopping myself from arching my back. Instructor at Clark Hatch advised me to put the feet back to the floor. Reason? You can draw power by pushing from that base (your feet). However, if you are more comfortable to put your feet at the end of the bench, by all means, do it. Nothing wrong with that.
- Do not let the bar rest on your chest and do not bounce the bar off from your chest.
- Always keep your buttocks on the bench.
- For starter, get a spotter to help for safety reason.
- When I first started train my chest, I used only machines, including the smith machine. Later, I tried the barbell bench press without any weight for the first two weeks to ensure I get the posture correct. So, stay with light to moderate weights until you have mastered all these techniques. It is more productive to use moderate weights with perfect form than heavy weights with sloppy form. Remember, we are going to gym to build strength and not to show off strength.
- A wide grip will focus on the chest. A narrow, shoulder width grip will focus more on the triceps.
Once you are comfortable with barbell bench press, the next one you should try should be dumbbell bench press. Check out the article – Dumbbell Bench Press.
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