Easy to learn but tedious to master, the bench press is a classic test of strength.
Primary Purpose: The bench press strengthens the entire upper body, with an emphasis on the pectoralis major (chest) and triceps (back of arms).
Additional Purposes: The bench press develops grip and shoulder strength while supporting muscles improve posture and shoulder stability. The trapezius (upper back) and latissimus dorsi (outer back) work with the core muscles to support the back while leg drive uses the quadriceps (front of thigh) and glutes (bum) to support the whole body.
- Lie on the bench with your eyes behind the bar.
- Place your hands evenly on the bar, outside shoulder-width apart.
- Squeeze your scapulae (shoulder blades) together and point your chest back behind you.
- Lock your glutes down onto the bench and set your feet firmly on the floor.
- Pull the bar out of the rack, immediately locking your elbows, and let the bar settle above your chest.
- Take a deep breath and set your core tight at the start of each rep.
- Pull the bar apart and keep this tension on the bar throughout each rep.
- Unlock your elbows and pull the bar down to your lower chest, keeping tight as the bar touches the chest.
- Push through your feet and drive the bar back up until lockout. Keep your shoulders tight and chest up until lockout.