The bench press is a fundamental barbell exercise, notoriously used for bragging rights and as a bench mark of strength. It is an excellent upper-body exercise primarily targeting the chest and shoulders and is one of the great Olympic strength lifts for developing upper body mass, strength and power.
- Primary Muscle: Chest
- Secondary Muscle(s): Shoulders, Triceps
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Also known as: Benching, Bench Pressing, Chest Press
- Equipment: Bench
- Optional: Resistance Bands, Barbell and Weights, Dumbbells, Power Rack
- Short Code: BP
View Bench Press guide
Bench Press Guide
'How much do you bench?'
The bench press is probably the most talked about weight training exercise there is and is a bragging rights favourite in gyms around the world, but it's more than just an ego exercise.
The bench press is a fundamental movement for developing upper body strength and an attention grabbing physique. It not only trains your chest, but gives the front shoulders, triceps and back a solid workout too.
For a full, round chest with functional power the chest press is an excellent exercise to integrate into your routine.
How to Bench Press
- Lie back on a sturdy bench and grasp a bar with an overhand grip (slightly wider than shoulder width). Feet should be flat on the floor and back arched.
- Dismount the bar from the rack and lower the weight until it touches your middle chest.
- Press the bar upward until arms are fully extended (focus on using the chest muscles throughout the movement).
- Slowly lower bar back down to chest and repeat for desired repetitions.
- Without adequate safety racks in place it's advised that you use a spotter when bench pressing, especially if you're new to the exercise.
- Remain in control of the barbell at all times and do not bounce the bar off your chest.
Advanced Bench Press
For those that want to add additional intensity to the bench press or overcome training plateaus, many people find the use of chains or heavy duty resistance bands particularly effective.
By attaching chains or resistance bands to each end of the bar you're introducing progressive resistance. Essentially, the exercise get more difficult the higher you lift the bar from your body which increases the intensity significantly in proportions of the lift which typically are easier to perform.
Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise