How To Bench Press In 3 Simple Steps
How to Bench Press in 3 Simple Steps
- Step 1: The Set Up For Bench Press
Start with your back flat on a bench and feet firmly planted on the ground.
Keep your feet apart so you have a firm base of support. Your shoulder blades should be tucked back and down.
Think about trying to put your shoulder blades in your back pockets.
Finally you will want to make sure you eyes are directly underneath the barbell.
- Step 2: Hand Grip Position Bench Press
Start with no weight on the bar to see if your hand position is correct when the bar touches your chest.
Your hands should be wide enough on the barbell so that in the bottom position, when the bar is touching your chest, your forearm is perpendicular to the bar.
For most people this is just outside shoulder width.
- Step 3: Full Range Of Motion
The bar should be unracked from the bench and will hover over your shoulders. This is the starting position.
You should lower the bar down to your chest. Ideally, this will be a few inches lower down on the chest and more in line with the nipples than the shoulders.
The bar itself does not move 100% up and down. It is more of an arc pattern.
Bench Press Muscles Worked
The bench press is a Horizontal Pushing Movement meaning it pushes weight to the front of the body. The primary muscles trained in the bench press are:
- Pectoralis Major (Chest Muscle) This is the main muscle responsible for drawing the arm across the body.
- The Tricep Muscles (Back Of The Arm) The main muscle responsible for straightening the arm from a bent position.
Other muscles used to assist in the bench press movement are:
- Front Deltoid (Front of the shoulder) The front of the delt will help out the chest in bringing your arm across the front of the body.
- Core (Muscles surrounding the spine) A strong core will help transfer force in an advanced lifting technique called “Leg Drive” in the bench press. Beginners should avoid this technique until they have mastered the fundamentals.
The Best Barbell Bench Press Video On Youtube
I must have watched this video 100 times over the years. Anything with Mark Rippetoe is pure gold and he has a voice like pure silk… which explains at least half my view count.
The other half can be explained by the fact that each time I revisit his book or videos online I learn something new.
(Full Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission for each sale at no extra cost to you. That being said. I 100% recommend Starting Strength for a beginner. All you have to do is read the amazing reviews on Amazon.)
The Best Bench Press Alternatives
Before starting into the bench press you should learn how to, and build up to being able to do, bodyweight push-ups. During the bench press, your shoulder blades remain pinned down between you and the bench itself.
However, in a push up the shoulder blades are free to move and thus will allow for more active training of the serratus anterior. A muscle that lies between your shoulder blade and your rib cage.
This is just one of the reasons you should opt for a great push-up before learning to bench press.
Once you have mastered the push up you can easily progress onto the barbell bench press, or the chest press machine.
Why You NEED To Master This Exercise
Starting to go to the gym can be very intimidating. I remember the first time I joined the gym. I felt so out of place and like I had no idea what I was actually doing.
Although I had dreams of losing weight, and finally being comfortable in my own skin, I just couldn’t shake the fear of people laughing at me.
My personal solution, that allowed me to conquer my fears was self-education. I learned all about the exercises I would have to do in the gym if I wanted to lose weight and finally get strong.
Learning how to do each exercise correctly, and being confident in my own knowledge, empowered me to shake the fear and finally make a change.
My passion now is to help other gym beginners learn about exercises so they too have the confidence to conquer their own fears and goals.
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