Barbell Bench Press: How To, Tips, Benefits

The barbell bench press is perhaps one of the most iconic upper body exercises when it comes to bodybuilding and resistance training. Known as one of the “big three” lifts which include the squat, deadlift, and bench press, with proper form and technique the bench press can help you build exceptional strength and size.

Barbell Bench Press

Focusing on technique and form is crucial to get the most out of your lifts. Bench press is a compound movement that involves the pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, and the upper arms. Barbell bench can develop and build more strength and size, and also improve balance in movements amongst athletes.

Several variations of the bench press exist, which incorporate different segments and angels of the pectoralis major to ensure well rounded aesthetic, strength, and posture.

Some of those variations include 

Benefits of Barbell Bench Press

  • Increased Muscle Strength
  • Better Posture
  • Stronger Upper Back And Chest
  • Better Chest Definition 

How To Barbell Bench Press 

  1. Lie flat on a bench and set your hands just outside of shoulder width on the bar, and feet firmly planted into the ground. Make sure your feet are placed proximal in towards your body, while keeping them flat on the floor. This will provide a good base for more driving power when it comes to heavy loads and finishing your set.
  2. Back position is equally as crucial as your feet placement. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  3. Grip is the next focus point. Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the bar. Grip position also depends on specific intent and goals. If you want to develop the outside of the chest, a wide grip is recommended as opposed to a conventional grip which is placed right outside the shoulders.
  4. Take a deep breath and unrack the barbell. Allow your spotter to help you with the lift off in order to maintain tension and positioning of your upper back.
  5. Inhale and descend the bar slowly just touching your chest, bracing your abdominals and core.
  6. Drive the bar back up, let out your breath, and drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows.

Barbell Bench Press Tips And Tricks 

  1. Always focus on executing proper form. Your body works in a specific plane of motion. Ensuring your grip, feet placement, and breathing is in line with your lifts, will produce better results.
  2. Don’t pay attention to the weight. Everyone is different and we all have our own journey to follow. Ramp up your load and volume slowly overtime.
  3. Bench press should be used in your training program, but not used on every chest day training split. Exercise variability is important to increase muscle mass, strength, and core strength. Utilize different barbell variations within your training program, not just barbell bench.
  4. When you plan to max out, make sure you have a spotter, so you can obtain one rep, with full range of motion.
  5. Imagine that you are pushing your body away from the bar, instead of pushing the bar away from your body. This will encourage you to use good form.
  6. Before you begin your first set, place your hands on the bar and pull your chest up to the bar. This will loosen your muscles in preparation for more weight.
  7. If you want to work your triceps, use a close grip that is shoulder width apart.
  8. When deloading keep your elbows tucked and close to your sides as possible
  9. As you push the bar off your chest, squeeze and press the bar outward, as if you were trying to pull the bar apart. This forces more muscle fibers to be activated.
  10. Your glutes and shoulder blades should maintain their contact throughout your entire lift.
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