For competitions, if you’re a powerlifter, it’s crucial. The bench press is still a useful tool for improving overall upper body strength in weightlifters and strongmen.
Many upper body muscles can be developed using the bench press. This exercise can be performed with either a barbell or dumbbells. For greater strength and muscle growth, frequently perform them as part of an upper-body workout. But to achieve all this, it must be done well!
How to Do a Bench Press
Compound exercises like the bench press work the pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, and upper arms. It can help athletes improve their balance while improving their strength and size.
There are various bench press variations that use various pectoralis major segments and angles to provide a well-rounded aesthetic, strength, and posture as well as training instruments. It can be performed at home but is best at the gym.
A regular flat bench can be used in place of a specialised bench press rack if you don’t have access to one. Bench presses can also be performed using dumbbells or a barbell. Whichever option you pick, make sure to choose the right weight for you.
Lie on the seat just beneath the bar-holding rack. Your eyes should be approximately in line with the uprights of the barbell rack. Your neutral spine is flat on the bench, as are your butt, shoulders, and head. Your feet are flat on the ground and spaced rather widely. Use weight plates or blocks beneath your feet if your feet are not level on the floor since this will increase stability as opposed to putting your legs on the bench, which will decrease it.
Steps to Follow
- Avoid pressing with your shoulders rounded by pulling your shoulder blades back behind you.
- Use an overhand grip to hold the barbell, keeping your thumbs outside of your closed fist. Your upper arms are positioned such that they are roughly shoulder-width apart and at a 45-degree angle to your body.
- Elbows locked, remove the barbell off the rack. (Avoid bringing the bar straight from the rack to the chest position.)
- As you bring the bar down to your chest, at the nipple line, take a breath.
- Breathe out as you raise your arms and press the bar towards your chest. Concentrate on the ceiling rather than the bar.
- The bar should be lowered till it is slightly over your chest. For the next bench press, this is the beginning position.
Once you’ve completed the number of reps you wanted, lock out your elbows and set the bar on the rack. Once you can feel the uprights of the rack, slowly move the bar backwards and lower it to the barbell rest. Avoid attempting to strike the rack rests directly. Missing puts you at risk of losing control, which is hazardous.
All the Muscles a Bench Press Works
These muscles all receive an incredible workout while you perform a bench press; it’s not just an arm exercise.
1. Pectoralis Major
The pectoralis major and minor, or “pecs,” are the chest muscles that the bench press works. These muscles are involved in the “pushing” motion that pushes the weight back to the starting position from your chest against gravity.
As you perform the move, you’ll feel your pecs tighten. At the peak of the action, you should feel the tightest squeeze; yet, when you start to press the bar back up, they will exert the most effort.
2. Anterior Deltoids
Additionally, the tiny muscles on the front of your shoulders that support forward arm movement are being worked, known as anterior deltoids. They help with the pushing motion.
The triceps contract all the way through the bench press. As you get close to the top, your triceps take over to complete the motion and lock the weight out. The muscles on the back of your arm that are used in all pushing activities are those mentioned above.
4. Latissimus Dorsi
The latissimus dorsi, often known as the lats, in your back will begin to contract as the weight is brought back down, helping the bar or dumbbells to slow down. The bench press is regarded as a compound workout for this reason. The lats, core, and biceps may not be physically worked out by the it, but all of these muscles are activated to keep you steady as you perform the activity.
5. Serratus Anterior Muscle
You’ll also work out the serratus anterior muscles, which are situated on the sides of your chest on your ribs. During pressing and pushing workouts, the serratus anterior is involved by supporting your shoulder girdle. Your rotator cuff is less stressed, enabling you to carry heavier weights.
Other Variations of the Bench Press
Partial Bench Press
Once you have some bench press experience, you can change the grip to target slightly different muscle groups. For example, a little wider grasp will make the pectorals more active, whereas a tighter grip will make the triceps more active.
Incline bench press
The press can also be executed while seated on an inclined bench. The upper chest of the shoulder, or the anterior deltoids, are highlighted while lifting from an incline.
An incline press can be performed using dumbbells or a barbell. The bench should be tilted upward between 45 and 60 degrees for this variant so that you are leaning back slightly and placing your weight just above your chest. To return to the beginning position, slowly drop the weight after pressing it up toward the ceiling.
Decline bench press
Another choice is to carry out this exercise on a decline bench, which highlights the pectoralis major more clearly. You perform a decline bench press in the same manner as a regular bench press, just from a squatted position.
The bench should be sloped downward so that your feet are higher than your head while you are lying down. It exercises the shoulders and lower chest muscles.
Narrow grip bench press
In this version, your hands are closer together on the barbell and you press essentially the same way you would during a bench press. It strengthens the forearms and triceps.
All of these variants don’t have to be performed in the same workout. An injured muscle group might result from overusing it. This is especially true if you’re using hefty objects to lift.
You can choose two or more options for each workout if you prefer diversity. Give yourself one or two days off to allow your muscles to recuperate before attempting the other versions.
In addition to being wanted by bodybuilders, muscle growth has advantages for everyone because muscle mass normally declines with age. The bench press is a useful workout that makes it easier for you to push or move things around in your daily life.
For athletes who predominantly employ pulling muscles, the bench press can aid in regaining muscle balance. This comprises swimmers, wrestlers, and rock climbers. Along with the deadlift and squat, the barbell bench press is a competitive lift in the sport of powerlifting.
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