The bench press is an effective exercise for adding upper body mass. (Image via Unsplash/Michael Demoya)

How to Do a Bench Press: Proper Form, Benefits, Variations, and Common Mistakes

The bench press is a popular exercise. It strengthens the pectoral muscles, arms, and shoulder muscles of the upper body.

Depending on your goals, you can try various bench press variations that target different muscle groups. For instance, a bench press with a tighter grip will place more attention on the triceps and forearms.

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Bench presses can also help you build upper body strength, increase muscular endurance, and even get your upper body ready for push-ups and other upper body exercises. They can also be helpful in strengthening drills for sports like football, hockey, and athletics.


Proper Form of Doing the Bench Press

A regular flat bench can be used as well in place of a specialized bench press rack. This exercise can also be performed using dumbbells or a barbell. Whichever option you pick, make sure to choose the right weight for you.

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Here’s how to do it:

  • On a bench, lie flat on your back.
  • Hold the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart so that your hands will be directly above your elbows when you complete the action. You can generate the maximum force this way.
  • As you inhale, carefully lower the bar to your chest.
  • As you exhale, push up while firmly grasping the bar and keeping your eyes on the roof rather than the bar to make sure it follows the same path each time.

Benefits of Doing a Bench Press

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Big lifts give massive gains. If you learn how to do bench pressing well, and do it consistently, you can look forward to the following benefits.

1. Gains in Muscle Mass

The bench press works with some of the biggest muscles in the body and is an effective exercise for adding upper body mass. It uses a significant amount of your entire musculature because it is a complex activity that involves several joints working at once.

On every single rep of the bench press, your pectorals, triceps, front deltoids, and even the upper back receive plenty of attention.

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2. Upper Body Strength

The bench press is excellent for enhancing your range of motion and movement patterns in the upper body. It challenges the muscles of the region and builds your upper body strength.

The workout is bilateral, involving both of your arms simultaneously, allowing you to use far larger weights than you could if you were using dumbbells or a machine. Due to its high loading potential, bilateral impact, and compound approach, the bench effectively increases your strength.

3. Convenience

The bench press is efficient because it involves a high level of muscle engagement in a short duration. So you need not spend a lot of time in the gym. It is an exercise that stimulates multiple muscles at once. You can lift hard if you can only fit one or two upper-body lifts into each session.

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All you need is an available station to start using the bench press, which offers thorough stimulation and convenience in spades.


Variations of the Bench Press

Depending on your fitness level and objectives, you can perform the bench press in a number of ways.

Incline bench press

The bench should be tilted upward between 45 and 60 degrees for this variation so that you are leaning back somewhat. It targets the shoulders and upper chest muscles.

Decline bench press

For this variation, the bench should be slanted downward so that your feet will be higher than your head while you are lying down. It exercises the shoulders and the lower chest muscles.


Common Mistakes to Avoid in Bench Press

If you are a beginner or an intermediate lifter, you should be careful to avoid these mistakes.

1. Not Arching

Even the average gym-goer, who works on the bench press, builds a small arch. Although a more prominent arch is a typical objective in competitive powerlifting, it is essential to move more weight. Besides, it reduces the risk of injury.

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2. Not Lifting Off Properly

Unracking the bar and bringing it to the starting position is known as the lift off in a bench press. A poorly executed lift off can tip your starting position and compromise your performance.


Takeaway

A significant goal of fitness should be improving muscular strength. The bench press is an excellent workout for the upper body and builds endurance by opening your chest, arms, and shoulders. Get off to a good start by trying the above exercises. Remember to keep proper posture during the routine and aim for a slow and consistent increase in the challenge with the pressing.

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Edited by
Ramaa Kishore
 
 
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