Whether you go to the gym regularly yourself or know someone who does, you probably have heard someone ask the question “how much do you bench press?” This question can seem scary at first, but the bench press is actually a great exercise for anyone looking to gain upper body strength, core stability, and a strong grip.
Bench Press Safety
Follow these steps to complete a standard bench press, but remember, it can be a dangerous exercise if you do not take the necessary precautions. Always use a spotter when bench pressing, and start with a weight that you can comfortably lift at least a dozen times. During the exercise, your spotter should stand behind your head, and hold the bar lightly with an underhand grip. If you can’t lift the bar up anymore, they can assist you so that you do not become stuck under it. There is nothing wrong with starting with only the bar, and if this proves too heavy, start with pushups or lighter weight dumbbell chest presses to build your strength properly.
- Lie on your back on a flat bench with your feet planted to the floor and the bar roughly at eye level.
- With an overhand grip, grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Unrack the bar by straightening out your arms.
- Slowly lower the bar to your mid-chest.
- Press the bar back up until your arms are straight.
Muscles Worked by the Bench Press
The bench press primarily works chest, shoulder and arm muscles. However, you can bias the muscles you want to work depending on the position of the bench as well as the width of your hand grip. Compared to doing the exercise on a flat bench, using a decline bench will bias the lower chest muscles and shoulders. Comparatively, using an incline bench will bias the upper chest muscles and shoulders. In terms of the handgrip, using a more narrow grip will bias the tricep muscles as opposed to a wider grip which would bias the bicep muscles.
Whether you are working out so you can keep up with day-to-day tasks like mowing the lawn, or you simply want to build more upper body strength, the bench press is a great exercise if done properly. Be sure to visit painPRO for our functional fitness program, where we focus on how to exercise with proper form and function.