How to Bench Press Properly

The bench press is a classic gym exercise, however, that does not mean that everyone does it well. Making mistakes while bench pressing can prevent you from obtaining the results you want, it can also cause injuries.
How to Bench Press Properly

Last update: 28 January, 2019

The bench press is one of the most well-known exercises, however, do you know how to do it properly? Mistakes while doing the bench press can result in cramps, pain and of course, lack of results. In this article, we’ll explain how to do this exercise correctly.

The bench press: typical mistakes

This exercise mainly works the pectorals, triceps brachii and the anterior portion of the deltoid muscles. It is typically performed lying on a bench face up, with bent elbows and a bar with weights. The bench press can also be performed with the bar alone or only with the weights.

One of the main mistakes made when bench pressing is starting with too much weight. As a consequence, there is a greater chance of suffering from a hernia. That is why experts recommended starting off with lighter weights before gradually increasing.

Bench press

Another common mistake is to hold the bar incorrectly. Keep in mind that while it takes some effort, your hands should be comfortable in relation to the rest of your body. A good tip is to separate the arms to the width of the shoulders in order for movements to be more natural.

Finally, mistakes are also often made during the descent of the bar. This should be done slowly. If you can’t bring the bar down slowly, you should reduce the weight you have on it. Keep in mind that the objective of the bench press is to tense the muscles to the maximum and to obtain the highest performance during each repetition.

How to bench press

Since an incorrect bench press technique can lead to pain and injury, it’s important to know how to perform the bench press correctly. Lie on the bench face up and make sure that both of your feet are on the floor, while your back, buttocks, and head should remain in constant contact with the bench.

Man and trainer bench press

Separate your arms to the width of your shoulders, raise them and grab the bar. Make sure that the weight of the bar is appropriate and make sure that your body is in the correct position to perform the lift. At this time you can ask your trainer for help to remove the bar from its support.

Firstly, rest the bar on your shoulders and keep your elbows bent. Do not forget to maintain the points of contact mentioned above, both with the bench and the floor. Push the bar upwards while maintaining a 45-degree angle between your arms and your torso.

Stretch your arms fully and count to three or five and then repeat. When you finish your repetitions, ask your trainer or helper to help you place the bar on the support. Finally, you can get up. Stay sitting on the bench if you feel dizzy, avoiding standing up too soon.

So, what if you decide to do the bench press without the bar? The movements are quite similar, however, in this case, you can perform the exercise bilaterally by raising both arms at the same time, or unilaterally (first one arm and then the other).

A lot of gym goers start with dumbbells since they weigh less, others choose to use the bar alone until they master the technique. It’s very important to master the correct technique in order to avoid injuries and to see results.

Smart progression will help you increase both strength and muscle mass. You will start to see the changes in your arms and chest in no time. It’s better to perform few, slow, and controlled repetitions with the appropriate weight rather than fast repetitions with too little or too much weight.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.