Bench press - how to do it? Detailed description of the technique
The bench press from the chest, lying on a straight or on an inclined bench - this is one of the five basic exercises , that is, strength exercises, the most effective for the integrated development of the entire musculature of the body. The main working muscles during the bench press are the pectoral muscles, the secondary ones are the muscles of the shoulder girdle, triceps and, in part, the upper part of the press.
In fact, the bench press is a key exercise for gaining muscle mass in the upper body, as well as for the formation of a wide and powerful chest. Anatomically, the bench press is close to push-ups from the floor, but the main difference is that the use of a barbell or dumbbell makes it easy to use extra weight and load the muscles harder.
How to do bench press?
Since the bench press is a complicated version of the usual push-ups from the floor, it is recommended for beginners to first learn the correct push-up technique , and only then move on to the chest press. Since during press-ups, the press is kept in light tension (and at the top point the exercise repeats the bar on outstretched arms ), the press should be tense even with the bench press.
This is one of the key points of the correct technique - you should be able to lift the weight of the bar precisely due to the muscles of the chest with a tense and motionless body, and not bend and wriggle with your whole body or lifting and putting your legs on a bench to facilitate the exercise. Dumbbells, in turn, only make it difficult for beginners to learn the bench press technique.
Bench press: step by step technique
1. Check grip
2. Activate the shoulder blades
3. Watch for deflection
4. Watch your legs
5. Squeeze the bar correctly
6. Watch out for the lower point of movement
7. Lower the bar evenly.
8. Use insurance
Bench press for girls
Due to the structural features of the spine, it is much more difficult for girls to maintain a constant body tension, which is so necessary for the correct performance of the bench press. That is why, before performing this exercise, they are recommended to do 2-3 warm-up sets of the bar on outstretched arms and 2-3 sets of slow push-ups from the floor.
Also, girls (just like beginners) are not recommended to perform “specific” variations of the bench press on the fitball, with their legs raised up and so on. It is important to first study the correct technique of the classic barbell bench press from the chest on a straight bench, and only then move on to dumbbells and variations on an inclined bench , since this only complicates the mechanics of movement.
How to breathe while bench press?
Unlike most other physical exercises in which the breathing process is more or less natural, it is important to remember that when pressing the barbell while lying down, it is strictly forbidden to exhale air at the lower point of movement. In fact, emptying the lungs, you provoke a decrease in the volume of the chest and reduce the level of tension of the muscles of the body.
A chest full of air will not only provide additional stretching of the pectoral muscles, but also help keep the shoulder blades brought together, which, again, will facilitate the task of maintaining the muscles of the body in tension. It is necessary to exhale when pressing from the chest at the upper point of the trajectory - however, it is important not only to empty the lungs, but only to gain a little new air.
With the correct technique of the bench press, the legs lying down should be firmly on the floor, allowing the muscles of the press and body to be kept in static tension. The shoulder blades come together, the chest is pushed forward, the back retains a slight deflection (however, the pelvis does not come off the bench). The bar drops down slowly and slightly diagonally, and the exhale is performed at the top of the trajectory.
Starting Strength, 3rd edition: Mark Rippetoe, Jason Kelly.
How to Bench Press with Proper Form: The Definitive Guide, source