The bench press is one of the best muscle building exercises that allows you to build big muscles and real power. It works all the pectorals and triceps as well as your shoulders and if you use it correctly it will be one of your best muscle building tools. Read this article to learn how to do the best bench press of your life with these instructions.
Bench press requires perfect lifting technique. If you want to improve your bench press strength then you really need to master the technique and get every aspect of it perfect. This is especially true if you are using a heavy weight and are really trying to push yourself beyond your ordinary growth.
I have said it over and over again that technique is the most important aspect of weight training for strength or for muscle growth. If you have every other element of lifting down (diet, reps, sets, etc.) but are cheating on your lifting technique then your muscle gains are going to be average.
This is especially important for the bench press as it requires a lot of muscle groups to work together to perform a lift. You are also carrying a lot of weight so if you muck something up chances are a joint or muscle is going to pay the price.
Here are some tips you should remember to make sure your bench press technique is correct:
- The weight should not be too heavy as this will force you to cheat on each rep.
- Each rep should be slow and controlled
- The barbell should be lowered to a spot below the nipples
- Your head should be position in the correct spot on the bench
- Your back should not lift off of the bench throughout the whole motion
- Your feet should be planted firmly on the ground. DO NOT place your feet up on the bench you will lose stability.
Try and read as much as you can on the bench press and get help from the big guys and the trainers in teh gym. Just ask them to spot you and point out any errors for one set. They will be thrilled that you asked.
Switch from the bar to dumbbells
When I was in high school I always thought the only way to do the bench press was on a flat bench with a heavy barbell. But, as my training progressed and my mind opened up to the idea of different weight lifting methods I started to see that what I had been doing was only a very limited way of training the bench press. Many years on and I now do my bench press mostly on an incline with a pair of heavy dumbbells!
Dumbbells are an excellent way to take your bench press to a new level. They allow you to get a deeper stretch in the pectoral muscles and allow for a more free lifting motion which means the muscles will have to do more work to keep the weights stable.
Do the bench press first
If you want to be able to lift a heavier weight or build the muscles that the bench press targets then you should do the bench press first in your workout.
Doing one exercise before another means that you will be able to hit it with maximum energy and strength and hopefully get the most out of it. If you wait until later in the workout, however, your muscles will be tired and you will not be able to handle as much weight or do as many strong reps. You will also find that your muscles contraction is not as tight as it is early in the workout.
Do each rep super slow
I hinted at this earlier on in the post but it really is so very important. Whenever I go to the gym I see people pumping out bench presses like that are on fire and they need to get it over and done with as soon as possible. This is wrong because it allows the muscles to get off lightly as the motion and gravity do most of the work for you.
If you take in nice and slow, however, each muscle is tensed to its full and is put under a maximum load of pressure. This means better muscle growth and strength gains.
The bench press really is one of the best exercises you can do to build upper body strength and power. However, do not be confined by the ordinary ways of doing it. Try to be creative and mix up your bench press workout so that your muscles are forced to keep adapting to the change. You will be much better off if you do.