The bench press is one of the more popular upper body exercises at the gym but also one of the most dangerous. If you don’t bench press properly you could risk hurting yourself and not only that if your form is wrong you won’t see results as fast as you should.
Variations of the bench press
There are a few distinct variations of the bench press but these are the three major ones that are regulated by the angle of the bench:
- Incline Bench Press which attacks your shoulders as well as your upper chest muscles
- Flat bench press which is done in a neutral position
- Decline bench press which lets you to lift more weight as opposed to the other two positions.
What you must keep in mind to do when performing the bench press?
Safety is very important when doing the bench press because of the weight of the bar in addition to its position directly over your chest. Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll lower your risk of injury.
Use a spotter
The bench press is an exercise that you always want to use a spotter for. In your later reps you might stall the weights on your chest and need help to get it up to the rack.
Keep your thumbs wrapped about the bar
If you grip the barbell using a thumb-less grip you run the risk of the bar slipping while you are pressing the weight. If you do these chances are it will fall onto your chest which will cause you injury.
Stay at a comfortable weight
Start with a reasonable weight until you get comfortable with your form. Then increase it in small increments.
The perfect form for the bench press
Keeping the proper form is key to any exercise but it’s paramount during the bench press:
Tight upper back, big chest:
Squeeze your shoulder blades together while keeping them down. This will make a stable platform for your shoulders on the bench. Push your chest up as much as possible and keep it that way throughout the set. If you lose your upper back tightness and your chest goes flat then lower the weight.
Proper bench press grip
Get a handle on the bar so that your forearms are at right angles to the floor when the bar reaches your chest. Keep the bar close to your wrist and in the palm of your hand.
Keep your feet planted on the ground.
Don’t push your head into the bench. Try to keep it less than an inch off the bench.
Bench presses are an exercise which can be used to tone the muscles of your upper body. These include the pectorals, arms and shoulders. Depending on your fitness goals, as we’ve seen earlier in this article there are a number of different variations of bench presses that work slightly different muscles such as a narrower grip bench press which also works the triceps as well as forearms.
Other plus factors of including bench presses in your weight-training regimen include enhancing upper body strength, increasing muscular endurance, and even training your upper body to do movements like push-ups. With so many benefits of doing the bench press, there’s never been a better time to start!
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