Bench Press Technique - How to bench press

This week we were asked by Ronnie at Fitbanker (check out their Facebook group) to provide some tips and training techniques for their exercise webinar held for the clients of their online program.  It was held at private training studio, MTD Health & Fitness Club in Sutton so that we could demonstrate some key exercises and answer questions. The participants of the group had a number of concerns regarding bench pressing in particular. Here we are breaking down the bench press and showing you the 'perfect' form so you can use this exercise in your own workouts - safe and confidently.

 

Bench Press Technique:

As you can see in the video (below), my hands (and grip on the bar) are slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and I am holding the bar with a full ‘closed’ fist. It is important to wrap your thumbs around the bar for safety to keep the bar in place. Lastly, squeeze. Squeezing the bar hard will help ready you to lift the weight.

Once you have the bar under your control, stay tight to the bench and get ready to lower it. Lower with control (don't smash yourself in the chest) to around nipple / lower chest level.  Once it reaches the chest it is going to be driven back up hard towards the sky as you straighten your arms.

The depth that you take the bar is dependent on shoulder health and flexibility. Some people will find that it isn't very comfortable for them to lower the bar all the way to their chest. If this is you, it is important to go as far as you can comfortably without any pain. Try bringing your elbows in slightly (towards your body) and you will likely have much better range of motion. Better depth can also usually be achieved by reducing the weight. In some cases.  Pay close attention to your range of movement throughout the exercise and how closeout get the bar to your chest.

 

After you have driven the bar back up and your arms are straight, you have reached the top of the movement. Don't lift the bar up further with your shoulders, they should still be in contact with the bench. If you are thicker set and your shoulders don't make contact with the bench, concentrate on squeezing yourself 'in' to the bench and staying as tight as possible to it.

If you are trying to lift weights and you are feeling pain at a joint, then you need to do something differently to what the ‘consensus’ is. You may be performing the exercise 'correctly' in theory but find that you still get pain. Here, edit your form to suit you. Don’t let yourself be swayed or intimidated by what someone else may say you should be doing or not doing. If you have specific questions about how to modify an exercise specifically for your body, send me an email or comment below and I'll get in touch!

Finally, feet. My feet are planted firmly and used to drive into the floor. This increases my 'tightness' onto the bench and allows me to generate force as I drive the bar. This is because the more stable I can keep myself, the more power I can produce through my upper body.

Perform your bench press repetitions with purpose and actively work on bringing the bar down into your chest and also when driving it back up - don't perform 'lazy' reps where you are thinking about your shopping list or what your weekend plans are. Concentrate on what you're doing to both progress faster and avoid injury.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment and ask

Thanks!

James

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