Bench Press

bench press and muscles

The bench press is a basic (multi-joint) exercise intended to build chest muscles. The bench press is a basic exercise for developing strong, broad chest and massive shoulders. Exercise is central to any training program, whether the athlete works to increase strength or muscle mass.

muscles during bench press

In addition to the chest muscles, when performing a bench press, the front deltoids and triceps are actively involved in the work. Since the bench press is a basic exercise, it will be more correct to start training the chest with it.

Varieties and technique of bench press

This exercise is very popular. Any man on the day of chest workout performs this exercise. Therefore, there are a huge number of varieties of bench press. Let’s take a closer look at each of the types and analyze the technique.

Classic bench press

classic bench press

The bench press is performed lying on the back, with an average closed grip, slightly wider than the shoulders. The athlete lies down on a bench, puts his feet on the floor. The barbell is taken from the racks on straightened arms, lowered to the lower chest and pushed up to its original position. The classic bench press is a great exercise for developing a strong and massive upper body (chest, shoulders, and triceps).

crab does bench press

Look at the crab, even it understands this and pushes the barbell (pencil)! Notice how hard it is for the sixth rep =) Okay, let the crab work out further, and in the meantime we will return to the next type of bench press.

Powerlifting bench press

powerlifting bench press

This is a type of bench press performed in a strength sport called powerlifting. This exercise in powerlifting is the main one of the three competitive exercises – bench press, deadlift, squats. Its peculiarity is that before the start of the exercise, the athlete arches. That is, he takes a position in which he touches the bench only with his shoulder blades and buttocks, while his back is bent. The grip is wide. All this reduces the range of motion of the barbell, so the weight that the athlete can press significantly increases. This type of bench press is performed with and without special equipment.

Close grip bench press

close grip bench press

It is performed similarly to the classic one but the grip is narrow. This moves a lot of load to the triceps. In this exercise, they get a lot more load compared to the classic bench press. The load from the chest is shifted to the inner point of the pectoral muscles. This exercise is basic for the development of the triceps.

Incline bench press

incline bench press

It is performed in a similar way to the classic bench press but the bench is placed with a positive angle (20, 30 or 45 degrees). This leads to a shift of the load on the upper bundle of the pectoral muscles. The one that often lags behind bodybuilders. Also, this variation of the exercise involves the front deltas more strongly.

Decline bench press

decline bench press

It is performed similarly to the classic bench press but the bench is placed with a negative angle. Accordingly, the load is shifted to the lower bundle of the pectoral muscles.

Smith Machine bench press

Smith Machine bench press

As you might guess, it is performed in the Smith machine. It is a special frame in which the barbell moves along the guides. This leads to the fact that the barbell does not swing in the athlete’s hands, the stabilizer muscles almost do not work here. Therefore, the technique of performing the exercise is almost ideal, it allows you to work out the chest muscles better. Also, for beginners with an unsettled technique, I would advise you to start performing the bench press in the Smith machine.

Reverse grip bench press

reverse grip bench press

It is performed in the same way as the classic bench press, but, you guessed it, with a reverse grip. This is a fairly traumatic exercise, but it works well on the inner of the chest muscles.

Secret bench press with burning barbell

bench press of a burning barbell

This type of bench press is performed… I’m kidding, the guys on the gif are just fooling around. We distracted and rested a bit from reading, and now let’s continue with the bench press.

Bench Press Technique Tips

1) Warm up well and warm up your muscles before doing the exercise.

2) Perform the exercise smoothly, without jerking. Keep your back, lower back, and buttocks on the bench.

3) Do not hold your breath while doing the exercise. Lower the barbell as you inhale, and press as you exhale.

4) When doing the bench press at the final (top) point of the amplitude (the one when you have almost pressed the barbell on straight arms), leave your elbows slightly bent. This relieves stress on the elbow joint and reduces the chance of injury.

5) At the lowest point of the amplitude, do not hit the bar on the chest, slightly touch the chest with the barbell – then gently push. Firstly, hitting the chest with the barbell can cause severe injury (such as broken ribs). And secondly, at the moment when you hit the barbell to the chest, it skips the lower section of the trajectory by inertia, that is, it simply springs from the chest. The muscles relax, and you pass the most important part of the trajectory to empty, losing the zone of maximum stretch of the pectoral muscles.

6) When performing a press at a positive angle, lower the barbell in the area of ​​the middle or upper bundle of the pectoral muscles.

partial rep bench press

7) And in my opinion, the most important thing is to do the exercise in 3/4 of the amplitude. Let me explain why. If we analyze the amplitude of the barbell movement, from the lowest point to the middle of the amplitude, then undoubtedly the chest muscles here receive a colossal load. But from the middle to the very top (the end point of the amplitude), the load from the chest significantly reduces, and the load on the triceps and front deltoids increases.

These muscles are significantly smaller than the chest muscles. Accordingly, they will get tired earlier if they work at full amplitude and do not allow the chest to work properly. We, performing the bench press, purposefully pump the pectoral muscles, so it is worth reducing the amplitude of the barbell movement. In fact, you will not push the bar to the end, but the pectoral muscles will only benefit from this. Another positive side is that without pressing the bar to the end, your pectorals will not rest during the exercise. After all, when you fully press the barbell and hold it on straight arms, the pectoral muscles do not work. Therefore, performing a bench press in 3/4 amplitude, your pectoral muscles will be under maximum load throughout the exercise, and this is very good!

How to perform bench press (video)

How to increase bench press

How much do you press? The main question that interests almost all gym visitors. Any man wants to increase his strength in this exercise. But in order to press a lot, firstly, you need to master the technique, I hope this article helped you with this. After performing the exercise in practice, you can begin to study the issue more globally. Choose for yourself a suitable program and a set of auxiliary exercises that will help increase the bench press.

Well, if all the requirements have been met, I propose to move to the next level. To do this, I advise you to read the articles: (Links will be soon)

1) How to get 100 kg bench press in the shortest possible time.

2) Supporting exercises to increase the bench press.

3) Cycles of intensity in the bench press for weeks.

These materials are written based on my personal experience. I do not want to show off, but I pressed my first hundred kilograms after 10 months of training in the gym. Everything is possible! Give it a go!

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