How To Bench Press With Perfect Form

The bench press mainly works the chest, shoulders and triceps. When performed correctly the muscles of the back and legs also get worked.

The bench press is performed lying flat on a bench holding the bar above your body with straight arms, the weight is then lowered to your lower chest, then pushed back up until you’ve locked your elbows. The bench press is one of the more popular exercises amongst weightlifters, the question most people ask when they want to know how strong you are is “how much do you bench?”. 

This exercise will allow you to use the most amount of weight out of all the upper body exercises. That is why this exercise is so effective for upper body strength and muscle development.

Here’s how the bench press is performed:

Step 1. Start with the bar set-up with a light weight at a flat bench press station, lay flat on the bench with your eyes looking straight up slightly looking past the bar. Make sure your butt, upper back and head are in good contact with the padding and keep a natural arch in your lower back. Your feet should be flat on the ground in a comfortable position.

Step 2. After getting into position take an overhand grip on the bar. The bar should rest on the heel of your palm. Your grip width will vary slightly depending on your arm length, experiment with somewhere around 22 and 28 inches apart then adjust as needed. A neutral grip will work best for most people.

Step 4. Engage your core, glutes and quads by squeezing these muscles. Keep a tight upper back by squeezing your shoulder blades, keep them back and down at all times. Keep your chest up and don’t let your shoulders roll forward. Squeeze the bar as if you were trying to rip it in half.

Step 5. Stay tight and unrack the bar, the bar should now be directly over your body with vertical arms and your elbows locked. Look directly up at the ceiling, take a deep breath, begin to unlock your elbows and slowly lower the bar to your lower chest, without stopping drive the bar back up until your elbows are locked.

You have completed the bench press.

The bar should move in a straight line up and down. Your elbows should be pointing out from the body at about a 45-60 degree angle, make sure they are tucked in and don’t flare out.

The bench press is a very effective exercise there’s no doubt about it, however if its used too much without any incline bench pressing, you can end up with a very over developed lower chest and a under developed upper chest. I spent years of my life focusing on flat bench pressing while doing programs such as Starting Strength, 5×5, Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 and now I have a lot of work to do to develop my upper chest.

The incline press is performed almost in the same way as the bench press, but with the bench at roughly a 30-45 degree angle. Developing your upper chest will give you that nice line up the middle and will make you look more masculine.

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