The bench press is a must-do and one of the most basic exercises in every gym. It is a compound exercise and is great for building upper body strength. It is one of the three powerlifting exercises viz, squats, and deadlifts. In this article, I will try to cover all the topics that you should be concerned about in the bench press.
what do bench press work?
The major/primary muscle targeted is the chest pectorals (pecs). The secondary muscles include the triceps brachii and deltoids of the shoulder front.
What are the benefits of bench press?
For starters, it is great for growing your chest mass and size to give you an aesthetic body. It helps to build stronger pecs which can prove to be very useful in many sports like swimming, climbing etc. It also strengthens your upper body which aids in pulling and pushing movements.
How to do close grip bench press:
There are many variations (will be discussed later) of bench press. Here, we will discuss the flat bench press.
You should have a “spotter” while doing the bench press who will assist in lifting up the barbell, especially if you are new to the gym or you want to lift heavyweights.
- First of all, lie down on the flat bench in such a position that your eyes should be straight with the barbell. There should be a slight bend in your spine to bring your chest upwards while your hips constantly touching the bench. Your feet should be flat on the ground.
- Now grasp the barbell with your wrist at a distance equal or slightly more than your shoulder width. Your thumb should be wrapped around the bar. Lift the barbell from the rack keeping balance.
- Bring the bar in front of you nipples slowly. Do not directly move the bar to your chest from the rack. Lock your elbows. Bring the bar lower with your arms tucked so that it touches your chest a little (not strictly necessary).
- Inhale as you push the bar up in the straight-line motion. Bring the bar at the same point you started. For convenience, you can focus on a spot at the ceiling consistently.
- Repeat the steps up to your desire.
close grip bench press mistakes:
1. Racking and unracking:
I have often observed people unrack and rack the bar in an arc. This happens when you start your rep directly by unracking the bar. When you unrack the bar, bring it in front of your chest with your arms extended and perpendicular to the bench. Start your rep from this form and stop your reps at the same site then rack the bar.
2. Lifting off the hips from the bench:
Keep your hips on the bench while doing the whole set. Lifting your hips from the bench may result in lower back pain.
3. Wrong width of grip:
You WILL NOT get a WIDER CHEST with a WIDER GRIP. Instead, you will risk injuring your shoulder. A too-close grip will shift the focus to your triceps. The normal width of the grip is equal to or a little wider than your shoulder width. Just put your tip of the thumb on the edge of the knurling on the road and from there have a tight grip with your thumb around the bar.
4. Straight back and unpacked shoulders:
This is the most common mistake. If you keep your back flat on the bench and your arms unpacked, you are risking shoulder pain. Packing your shoulders ensures that your elbows are tucked in the correct angle (about 25° with the bench) and will also help in the path of the bar. It also ensures maximum force on the chest instead of the shoulders.
Bench Press Variations:
You can also add up a few alternative exercises like smith machine bench press, dumbbell bench press.
1. Dumbbell bench press: If you have a flat bench but you do not have a barbell, you can do a chest press with the help of dumbbells name as a dumbbell press. Sit on a flat bench with dumbbells in your hands, lie back and take good form. push dumbbells up and do not bring the dumbbells lower than your chest on the eccentric movement.
2. Smith machine bench press: Set a flat bench under a smith machine. Add the weights if you want to, get into the same form as describes earlier, and perform the exercise. This variation may help beginners in achieving a good straight angle of the movement.
3. Floor press: If you do not have a bench, you can also perform a chest press by lying on the floor. Pick up dumbbells and sit on the ground, put the dumbbells on your thighs and roll back on the floor. Keeping a tucked position of arms, perform the floor bench press. This variation is however not as effective due to its lower range of motion.
4. Hex Press: This variation is slightly different and can be performed by either dumbbell or by a strength training plate. Lie on a bench holding dumbbells with a neutral grip and squeeze them together at the top in front of your chest, bring them down on the chest and then lift up at the starting position. Performing this variation can give you a massive pump on your pecs.
What is bench press good for?
Bench press can be used to increase strength, improve endurance, and tone the muscles of the upper body, including the chest, arms, and shoulders.
What does close grip and wide grip bench press work?
The close grip bench press specifically activates the triceps and the anterior deltoid muscles on the front of your shoulders. On the other hand, The wider grip of a bench press puts more emphasis on the pec muscles, particularly the pectoralis major.
Which bench press grip is best for chest?
The traditional grip is the most common grip used for Benching, and it offers a nice balance of comfort and control. For most people, the traditional grip allows them to move the most weight.
Is close grip bench better?
The close-grip bench press results in higher velocity and power, while the wide grip bench press results in a higher force