Standing barbell bench press
Bench press from the chest while standing is a key exercise for developing the muscles of the shoulder girdle and arm muscles. Since the correct execution technique involves lifting the weight above the head with fixed legs and a tense press, this exercise also indirectly develops the muscles of the body. That is why the standing barbell press is one of the five basic exercises for muscle growth.
In addition, standing press is considered one of the best ways to strengthen the muscles involved in doing pull-ups on the crossbar - first of all, the latissimus dorsi, back bundles of the deltoid muscles, and also the trapezium. Regular performance of the bench press standing from the chest helps to create a broad-shouldered figure with a confident sports posture and strong arms.
It is important to note that the main drawback of the bench press is its technical complexity and an increased risk of injury to the shoulder joint with the wrong technique - including variations with dumbbells. It must be remembered that novice athletes are recommended to perform this exercise exclusively with moderate working weight and under the supervision of a trainer.
Despite the fact that in any gym you can always meet people performing a bench press for the head (exactly like the pull of the upper block for the head), this technique is erroneous and not recommended. When doing the presses for the head, and not from the chest, the shoulder joint, just like the trapezius muscles, get a dangerous and completely atypical load for them.
Even the slightest violation of the trajectory of the barbell or a slight turn of the shoulder can cause not just a dislocation, but a rupture of the soft tissues, leading to the prohibition of performing any strength exercises for a sufficiently long period of time. Remember that the advantages in the form of a “point study of the muscles of the shoulders” are not able to outweigh the high risk of injury.
Bench press standing: step by step technique
Before starting the exercise, stand exactly in front of the rack, the bar is on the mounts at about shoulder height. The legs are spread across the width of the hips, the knees are looking forward, the feet are firmly on the floor and slightly open (but no more than 15 °). Make sure that your legs are on the same line, and one leg does not go forward or backward.
Take the barbell from the rack with a sufficiently narrow grip - much narrower than when doing the barbell press lying on the bench. The wrists should be parallel to each other (when viewed from the front). In the initial and final position of the exercise, the shoulders should be kept slightly raised so that the weight of the bar rests on the "fleshy" part of the shoulder.
How to avoid wrist pain?
At the lower point of the bar bench trajectory, the standing elbows should be directed strictly to the floor (and not be spaced apart or go forward), and the hand should not be twisted either forward or backward - in other words, the weight of the bar should be supported precisely by the wrist, and not hand brush. If you cannot hold the bar in this way, then its weight is too high.
It is critically important to place the barbell in the lower part of the palm of your hand, and not try to hold its weight with your fingers. It is this technical error that is the main cause of wrist pain and significantly increases the risk of joint injury. In addition, it is extremely important to cover the bar with your thumb, and not to point it up.
Bench press up
While lifting the barbell over your head, your legs should be firmly on the floor and your knees should not bend - in other words, you should not try to push the barbell up with squats. The muscles of the press must be maintained in a conscious tension - this will protect the spine and lower back, as well as help in the development and strengthening of the muscles of the body.
Watch your breath carefully when doing this exercise. It is advisable to do either five repetitions of the bench press with one breath, or breathe exclusively at the top point - but in no case exhale air when moving up, or at the bottom of the trajectory. Remember that the presence of air in the lungs helps push the weight of the bar up.
Standing barbell press: the highest point of movement
Since the bench press is an exercise for training, first of all, the muscles of the shoulders, during its execution you should feel the work of these muscles, and not any others. That is why it is necessary to squeeze the bar up slowly and with full control. In addition, at the top of the trajectory, you should slightly raise your shoulders even higher.
This secret of technology will help not only to include the trapezius muscles, but also significantly reduce the load from the rotators of the shoulder joint. If you cannot do this, or you cannot lower and lift the barbell slowly and with a sense of control, then you are using excessive weight - which, in turn, will sooner or later cause injury.
Standing Dumbbell Press
In the event that you do not have the opportunity to work with a personal trainer to improve the technique of performing a bench press with a chest while standing, you can replace this exercise with a bench press with dumbbells. Beginners are recommended to start by doing the exercise while sitting (this allows you to focus on the sensation of the muscles of the shoulder girdle), gradually moving to the dumbbell bench press while standing, and then to the barbell.
However, avoid using excessively heavy dumbbells - when training your shoulder muscles with dumbbells, it’s not just the maximum working weight that matters, but the extremely correct technique for doing the exercise. Since the shoulder joint is considered one of the easiest to injure, even the smallest mistakes during its training can cause serious sports injuries.
The bench press from the chest is a key strength exercise for the development of the muscles of the shoulders, upper back and arms. The correct technique for its implementation implies complete immobility of the legs, a tense body and the use of an adequate working weight. At the same time, it is recommended for beginners to perform variations of the exercise with dumbbells of moderate weight and under the supervision of a trainer.
- Starting Strength, 3rd edition: Mark Rippetoe, Jason Kelly.