Let’s talk about bench press form and the proper way to perform this exercise. This form guide will help you increase your bench press while avoiding injury.
International Bench Day
The bench press – an exercise that has its own day. Lifters from everywhere know Monday as International Chest Day. It is nearly impossible to get yourself a bench at a gym on Monday. Smart lifters avoid doing chest on Monday for this very reason.
Learn How to Bench Press With Proper Form
It is time to discuss the proper form of the bench press. It is important that you perform any exercise with proper form, but poor form will lead to a torn pec or injured shoulders among other muscular and ligament injuries. I have had to deal with sore shoulders and rotator cuff injuries from years of subpar bench press form. Over the years, I practiced and practiced and now I am using proper form on my benches.
Bench Press Form Step by Step
One of the keys of proper bench press form is to figure out the proper form and the rinse and repeat – follow the same steps during each set.
- Lie flat on the bench with your eyes under the bar
- Place your feet on the floor back towards your butt
- Arch your lower back slightly as if you have a fist under your lower back. This is somewhat controversial amongst bodybuilders as some feel that this is a powerlifting method. But, this arch will actually help you maintain a neutral spine and keep your back tight as you press.
- Grab the bar tightly with a shoulder length grip (wrap your thumbs around the bar)
- Retract your shoulder blades and stick your chest out
- Unrack the weight by straightening your arms
- Lower the bar to your chest (touching your chest) while breathing in
- Raise the bar until your arms are nearly straight (do not lock our your arms – this keeps your chest under tension)
— Use your feet to generate power from the ground through your entire body
- Breathe out and you raise the bar
Bench Press Form – A Compound Movement
The bench press is a compound movement meaning that is works multiple joints. In addition to building a bigger chest, the bench press also works the shoulders, triceps, and core.
Mistakes With Bench Press Form
Many exercises are performed with bad form routinely. The bench press is one of the exercises that is most often performed poorly. Ego lifters want to look like they are bunching a ton of weight at the gym so they cheat. The common bro question is “how much do you lift bro” making people cheat to increase the weight that they lift. I have seen many people bench 4-5 plates, but they are only moving the bar a few inches. That method is not working the chest optimally and keeping the muscle under tension is what tears your muscle fibers and causes growth.
This was already mentioned above and is one of the common flaws in bench form. The bar should touch your chest before getting raises. It should also not bounce off of your chest. You should always be in control of the weight.
Flaring Your Arms
Do not flare your elbows when bench pressing. This is the easiest way to cause elbow pain or tear a pec.
Pay attention to how you breathe during a bench press. As you lower the weight, breathe in. As you raise the weight, breathe out.