Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press is an excellent exercise for developing chest muscles. This basic multi-joint exercise actively loads the pectoral muscles as a whole and the front bundles of the deltoid muscles, triceps act as the main assistants. The bench press with a wide grip is probably the most popular exercise among bodybuilders, it expands the chest well, helps to increase the width of the shoulders.

Barbell Bench Press

Technique for Exercising Bench Press

Starting position: Lie down on a bench with the hands on the neck slightly wider than the shoulders with a classic grip, grab it tightly. Feet are on the floor, heels are pressed to the floor – this is necessary so that the body is motionless. Hands are located strictly above the collarbone. Tighten the muscles of the upper back, bringing the shoulder blades a little closer (making the so-called “rigid” back), remove the bar from the racks.

  1. Bending arms at the elbows, lower the bar evenly until touching the chest in the solar plexus.
  2. Powerfully push the bar up, fully extending your elbows.

The bench press is performed on the exhale, lowering – on the inhale.

Anatomy Exercise Barbell Bench Press Bench

Bench press

Muscles Involved in the Exercise Bench Press: 1. Large pectoral muscle. 2. The front bundle of the deltoid muscle. 3. Triceps.


  • Keep the back straight, and keep the forearms perpendicular to the barbell (strictly beneath it) throughout the entire movement.
  • Throughout the exercise, the shoulders, head and buttocks remain in constant contact with the bench.
  • The chest stays straightened and rises all the time when the bar is lowered.

Grasp. Medium or wide grip can be considered ideal. Changing the width of the grip greatly changes the inclusion of muscles in the work – for example, an increase in the width of the grip increases the load on the front dentate muscle, which, with a narrow grip. Is almost not involved in work. Breeding of the elbows increases the load on the triceps, especially on its medial head. Reverse grip carries the load on the triceps.

Range of motion. Shortened barbell bench press, in which the arms are not fully straightened, allows you to maintain tension of the pectoralis major muscle and reduces the load on the triceps.

When to do exercise

If the goal is muscle growth, the exercise is performed in the middle or at the end of a series of exercises on the muscles of the chest. To achieve maximum strength indicators – perform at the beginning of a series of exercises on the muscles of the chest.

The most common mistakes

  • A sharp toss of the barbell on the chest
  • Breaking the bar
  • Tearing off the feet from the floor or lifting toes
  • Changing the position of the spine during the exercise

Barbell Bench Press Tips

Watch your body position on the bench

Correct body position on the bench will increase the result, improve the biomechanics of movement, reduce the distance of movement of the neck and create a real base for the bench. Your first steps should be as follows:

  • Sit on a bench with the bar in line with your eyes. If you lie higher, the neck can touch the racks; if lower, you will have to spend a lot of effort just to remove the bar from the racks.
  • Place your feet firmly on the floor, close to the bench. If your feet are on the floor, you can generate much more power when passing through the “dead center”. Setting the legs close to the bench allows you to create the necessary deflection in the back. If you put your feet on a bench or limp “spread” your legs on the floor – weaken the position and upset the balance.
  • Pull the shoulder blades as far as possible, move them in the direction of the pelvis and press firmly against the bench. When working with submaximal scales, stability is extremely important. With raised chest and flattened shoulder blades, your back fits securely on the bench, creating the necessary foundation.
  • Tighten your torso muscles and create a slight arch in the back. Lock this position: the chest is raised and deployed. The back should be slightly curved, not pressed into the bench. Too much deflection or separation of the pelvis from the bench can contribute to lower back injuries.
  • Raised chest and arched back – the most productive position on the bench, shortening the neck. The shorter it is, the heavier the weight you can work with.
  • Fix the feet, pelvis, back and head throughout the approach, do not get “on the bridge”

Watch out for grip strength

You can easily increase the result in the press by simply increasing the grip force. Cling to the bar, imagine that you want to squeeze it as tight as possible! The stronger the grip, the higher the weight control. Always grip the bar with your fingers. In open grip there are absolutely no advantages. In addition, the bar can slip and cause serious injury.

Watch your breath

Exhale with each repetition, but hold your breath at a critical moment. Beginners are often afraid to hold their breath, as they were told that it was dangerous. Holding your breath for a long time is really dangerous (you may lose consciousness and wake up with a barbell on your head), but you will never achieve significant results in a press without controlling your breathing.

Holding your breath at the right moment is crucial: increasing your abdominal pressure will help you break the dead center. It will also increase your self-confidence and create a sense of stability. Without this physiological support, you will feel “crushed” by a heavy barbell.

When you start to lose weight, take a deep breath, while changing direction, hold your breath and hold it until you pass the “dead center”. Then exhale and inhale at the beginning of the next repetition.

Breathing tips

Breathing tips Barbell Bench Press

  • Do not straighten your arms at your elbows at the top of the trajectory, keep constant tension in the muscles of the chest.
  • Do not allow “beating” when the bar is accelerated at the lower part of the trajectory when lowering the bar and “beats” from the chest to give a starting impulse.
  • For a targeted effect on the muscles of the chest, try to spread your elbows to the sides so that the arms move in a plane perpendicular to the axis of the body (do not press your elbows against you).
  • For a more accentuated effect on the muscles of the chest, it is possible to perform a barbell bench press lying without support with the feet on the floor (legs are bent at the knees and raised).
  • Use the help of an insurance partner who will help remove the bar from the racks and return it to its place, as well as complete the approach.

In case of pain in the muscle or ligaments during the bench press, in no case do not seek to complete the repetition. Stop moving by placing the barbell on your chest, or by asking your insurance partner to place it on the racks.

Do not forget about auxiliary muscles and exercises

For a powerful bench press, strong triceps, deltas and widest backs are needed, not just the pectoral muscles. Of all the working auxiliary muscles. Triceps are the most important. To maximize them, work hard in all basic exercises. Include in the program various types of extension of the arms and presses with a narrow grip on both horizontal and inclined benches.

Strengthening the frontal deltoid bundles will also make significant improvements in improving performance. Additional work on them should include army presses, all kinds of frontal arm lifts (with dumbbells, with a barbell, with disks, and so on).

The widest back muscles are involved in the work with the barbell bench press to a much greater extent than you might have expected. They help create a deflection in the back and stabilize the torso. They also help with lowering the weight and at the very beginning of the lift. The best supporting exercises for them are traction (best with dumbbells or a barbell, as they work out the back in the same horizontal plane as the barbell bench press).

Exercise Bench Press Lying Video

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