Here’s how to Bench Press with proper form:
- Lie on the bench with your eyes under the bar
- Grab the bar with a medium grip-width (thumbs around the bar!)
- Unrack the bar by straightening your arms
- Lower the bar to your mid-chest
- Press the bar back up until your arms are straight
Hold the weight for a second at the top, with straight arms. Breathe. Then take a big breath, hold it, and lower the bar again. Keep your butt on the bench when you press it back up. Bench sets of five reps every StrongLifts 5×5 workout A.
The Bench Press is a full body, compound exercise. It works your chest, shoulders and triceps most. It’s the most effective exercise to gain upper-body strength and muscle mass because it’s the upper-body exercise you’ll lift most weight on (more than Overhead Press). The bigger your bench, the bigger your chest.
To avoid shoulder pain, tuck your elbows 75° when you lower the bar. Don’t try to stretch your chest by flaring your elbows 90° out. You’ll impinge your shoulders if your upper-arms are perpendicular to your torso at the bottom. Tuck your elbows 75° to Bench Press pain-free.
Unlike the Squat or Deadlift, the bar doesn’t move in a vertical line when you Bench Press with proper form. It moves diagonally from your mid-chest over your shoulders. This is the safest way to Bench Press for your shoulders. It’s also the most effective way to Bench Press heavy.
This is the definitive guide to proper form on the Bench Press.