Barbell Bench Press

If you’ve spent any time in a gym with a weight room, you’ll definitely have heard this question asked: “How much can you bench?” The bench press is the go-to upper body exercise for weight lifters of all skill levels. It is also the exercise that results in the most shoulder injuries. Let’s have a look at what muscles it works, its benefits, and, finally, how to do it properly and as safely.

The muscles

The bench press works the upper body in an intense way, exercising pectorals, triceps, shoulders, hand flexors, and abdominals.

The benefits

– Bench pressing weight can actually improve your bone density, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Our bone cells are said to deposit bone tissue directly into the bones being used in the exercise. This is a key benefit as we lose bone density, and hence strength, as we age.

– A favorite of runners, the bench press conditions chest muscles in just the right way to benefit running properly, encouraging an upright upper-body posture.

– Including the bench press in your regular workout will increase the power of your upper body.

– Timeliness. The bench press gives the major upper body muscles an intense workout in a period of time shorter than comparable exercises.

How to do a proper bench press

1.      Make sure that you are either wearing non-slip workout gloves or dust your hands with chalk.  Sweaty hands increase the risk of an injury.

2.      Lie on a support bench inside a power rack.

3.      Slightly arch your back ad firmly plant your feet flat on the floor.

4.      Make sure that you are comfortable, and lying so that your body is centered on the middle of the bench.

5.      Firmly grip the weight bar, directly above your shoulders.

6.      Remove the weight from the rack, and lower it to your chest.

7.      Press the weight back up until your arms are straight.

8.      Keep your body still throughout the lift.

9.      The number of repetitions you do depends on your level of fitness and workout strategy. Make sure not to overdo the number of repetitions; you shouldn’t feel like you are losing control of the weight at any time.

The bench press, when done properly and safely, offers an efficient way to work the major muscles of the upper body, building up strength, power, and bone density. Having a trainer or an friend in-the-know observe your technique and give you some tips is a smart idea. Here are some of the most common mistakes trainees make when bench pressing, and a few tips to increase your bench press.

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