Whether you visit a local gym or an international franchise, you will be assured to find one piece of equipment- and it is none other than a bench positioned under a barbell.
With all the benefits that it offers, bench press also deserves to get such attention. If you have never tried a bench press exercise before, it is time to perform it now. Once you have mastered the right technique, you will notice amazing progress and improvement in your strength and muscle development. In addition, you will also gain muscles and get a toned shape gradually.
To help you kickstart your journey of bench press workout, we have gathered important details. From its step-by-step instructions to the variations and tips, you will find a quick guide to bench press workouts right below. Let’s begin.
Muscles Worked During Bench Press
Different variations of bench press focus on different muscle groups. These include:
- Traditional Bench Press: It works on your shoulders, arms, and pectoral muscles.
- Incline Bench Press: It targets your upper chest and shoulder muscles.
- Decline Bench Press: It works the lower chest muscles and shoulders.
- Narrow Grip Bench Press: It focuses on the triceps and forearms.
As for how to perform these variations, we have discussed them in the later sections. So, make sure you read the article till the end.
How To Perform Bench Press
Here is step-by-step instructions for performing a traditional bench press. For the equipment, you can take either barbells or dumbbells. We have jotted down the steps for barbell bench press exercise. To do a dumbbell bench press exercise, just replace the weights and follow the same instructions.
- Wear comfortable cloth and lie down on a flat bench with your back on the platform. Grip the barbell with hands from the rack and place them slightly wider than shoulder-width.
- Make sure that you press your feet firmly into the ground and also keep your hips, shoulder, and head flat on the bench throughout the entire movement.
- Now, slowly lift the barbell off the rack and lower it to the chest. This will allow your elbows to bend to the sides.
- Stop when your elbows are just below the bench. Exhale and push the bar back up to its initial position. You need to press your feet to the floor while doing these. You may also want to engage your core muscles.
- Now, inhale as you slowly bring the barbell down after a second and repeat. While doing the reps, focus your eyes on the ceiling and not the weights.
- You can try performing 5-10 reps for up to three sets.
- Once you are done with the bench press workout, place the bar on the rack with locked-in elbows and gently lower it on the barbell rest. Avoid rushing the process as it can be dangerous if you lose control. In case of a dumbbell bench press exercise, just lower the dumbbells and slowly keep them on the ground.
Precautions To Take
No matter which gym or home workout you perform, it is important to follow the precautions to avoid any possible injury or harm. A few safety measures or tips you can try during a bench press include:
- Do not perform bench press if you are recovering from any shoulder or back injury.
- In case the weights feel too heavy, replace them soon as excessive stress on the muscles can lead to injury.
- Do not overdo the bench press workout. Stick to three sets of five reps if you are a beginner. Increase the weight only when you have mastered the form.
- To be on the safer side, you can use a power rack that has bars on either side. If the lift falls, the bars will prevent the barbell from falling and crushing your chest.
- Make sure you consult a fitness expert or gym instructor to learn the perfect techniques of bench press or its variations.
Variations of Bench Press
When you have mastered the traditional bench press, you can also try other variations to make it more effective and fun. Some of the most famous bench press variations include:
- Close-Grip Bench Press: As the name suggests, you have to narrow your grip on the barbell when doing a bench press. This helps in emphasizing on the triceps and protecting your shoulders. If you want to focus more on your arms, a close-grip bench press is a great workout.
- Incline Bench Press: This type of bench press exercise is done on an inclined bench. If you wish to focus on your upper chest portion of the pecs, try this variation. However, you will not be able to lift heavy weights as easily as you could in the flat bench version.
- Decline Bench Press: If you wish to focus on pectoralis major, you can try this exercise on a decline bench. To do this variation, you need to follow the same basic steps as a barbell bench press exercise, but just from a declined position.
- Dumbbell Flye: If you are performing dumbbell bench press exercise, you can try this variation. For this workout, you will have to pull back the weights sideways making a “T” position with the body. This workout targets chest muscles.
Benefits of Bench Press
Incorporating bench press workouts in your fitness plan is a great way to improve upper body strength. Some other benefits that you can enjoy with this exercise are:
- Toned Muscles: You can try bench presses to tone your muscles such as pectorals, arms, and shoulders. To tone your triceps and forearms, you can shift to other variations such as a close-grip bench press.
- Increased Upper Body Strength: Bench press is not just about getting a sculpted body. You can also notice an impressive increase in your upper body strength. This further helps in performing other workouts such as overhead press, push-ups, or military press with ease. It also helps in improving your performance in sports such as swimming, football, sprinting, and hockey.
- Better Balance and Coordination: Your muscle stability and coordination play a vital role in a bench press. Over time, you will find that you have better muscle balance. This again is quite crucial for athletes and sportspersons.