The Benefits of Bench Press – Introduction
Great bench press benefits and massive muscles worked is why the bench press is one of the most popular exercises in the gym.
It’s a staple of bodybuilding training and one of the three big lifts contested in the sport of powerlifting.
The traditional bench press is also one of the exercises used by the NFL to assess new players.
So, what makes this exercise so good, and how do you do it?
The 10 Top Bench Press Benefits
The barbell bench press offers several advantages and benefits, especially compared to other chest exercises, such as dumbbell bench presses and machine chest presses.
The most critical bench press benefits are:
#1. Building upper body strength
Because, during this exercise, you are on a stable, flat bench, you are free to focus almost exclusively on lowering and raising the bar.
While the legs are involved in bench presses, they only really act as stabilizers.
This makes the bench press very useful for building upper body strength.
#2. Increasing muscle mass
The bench press is a popular chest-building exercise.
Very few bodybuilders don’t include the bench press in their pec building workouts.
If you want to sculpt a bigger chest, the bench press will help.
#3. Bigger, stronger triceps
While the pecs are the primary muscle during bench presses, the triceps also play a crucial role.
Bench presses are an excellent triceps-building exercise.
#4. Easy to learn
While you shouldn’t lift heavy weights until you have mastered proper bench press form, it’s a relatively straightforward exercise to learn.
It won’t be long until you can increase the amount of weight you are using with practice.
#5. Pushup Alternative
The bench is an excellent alternative when you are not yet able to do bodyweight pushups.
One of the best bench press benefits is that being overweight or obese will not stop you from training.
All you have to do is get a pair of dumbbells or a barbell without weights and start to bench!
However, if laying down on a flat bench is not comfortable, use a chest press machine.
Bench Press Daily Will Do This To Your Body
What Muscles Does the Bench Press Work?
The bench press is a phenomenal compound exercise, which means it involves several joints and muscles simultaneously.
A lot is going on during the bench press but, despite the complexity of the movement, it’s still possible to identify the main bench press muscles worked and, as a result-developed.
#6. Pectoralis major
Known as the pecs for short, these are your main chest muscles.
Most people bench press because of its effect on this muscle group.
#7. Anterior deltoids
The pecs always work alongside the anterior deltoids.
These are your front shoulder muscles.
#8. Triceps brachii
Usually just called the triceps, this is the muscle on the back of your upper arm.
The closer your hands are together, the more work the triceps do.
#9. Rotator cuff
The Rotator cuff muscles are the collective term for the stabilizer muscles in your shoulder joint.
These muscles are small, but they are powerful and play a crucial role in bench pressing.
#10. Serratus anterior
The Serratus anterior is the saw-tooth-shaped muscle on the side of your upper ribs.
Its primary function is stabilizing your shoulder blades during bench presses.
Safety and Avoiding Shoulder Pain
While the bench press is a safe and effective exercise, there are a couple of things to consider when doing this exercise that could affect your safety.
Firstly, you should bench press with a spotter close at hand so that if you cannot complete a rep, you won’t end up pinned under an enormous weight.
Alternatively, you can do your bench presses in a power rack or squat rack.
Also, bench presses can be hard on your shoulders.
Avoid shoulder pain during bench presses by always warming up first, using proper bench press form, and not lifting weights too heavy or too soon.
How to Properly Bench Press
Get all the bench press benefits with as few drawbacks and risks as possible by doing them correctly.
Follow these step-by-step guidelines or ask a personal trainer for more information.
- Lie on your bench so that your eyes are directly below the bar.
- Reach up and hold the bar with an overhand grip.
- Your hands should be just wider than shoulder-width apart so that, when the bar is touching your chest, your forearms are vertical.
- Pull your shoulders down and back and press them into the bench.
- Arch your lower back slightly and lift your chest toward the bar.
- Brace your abs.
- Finally, drive your feet against the floor.
- Your shins should be vertical and not move once you start your bench press set. There should be tension in your legs and glutes.
- Unrack the bar and hold it directly over your chest.
- Inhale, bend your arms, and lower the bar down to the highest point of your chest.
- Tuck your elbows in slightly to your sides as you lower the bar.
- Lightly touch the bar down on your chest.
- Do not bounce!
- Exhale and press the bar back up until your arms straighten, but your elbows are not locked.
- That’s one rep – keep going!
Please note: You can use different bench press grip widths to work various parts of your chest.
A wider grip targets the outer chest a little more, while a narrower grip emphasizes the center.
However, keep in mind that the closer your hands are, the more work your triceps have to do.
Avoid These Bench Press Mistakes!
Bench Press Variations
The classic barbell bench press is a great exercise, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only variation you can do.
Liven up your upper body workout with these other bench press exercises.
Incline bench presses
With this variation, you incline your body on a bench between a 15 and 30-degree angle.
This incline puts a little more stress on your upper chest, also known as the clavicular head of the pectoralis major.
Most gyms have a dedicated incline bench press station but, if yours doesn’t, just put an adjustable bench inside a squat rack.
Other than the angle of the bench, incline bench presses are performed the same way as flat bench presses.
Decline bench presses
The decline bench press emphasizes your lower pecs, correctly called the sternal head of pectoralis major.
Typically, you set the decline angle of your bench to around 15 degrees.
While most gyms have a dedicated decline bench press, if yours doesn’t, you can do decline bench presses by placing a couple of weight plates under the lowermost feet of a regular bench.
Close grip bench press
This variation is valuable if you want to build triceps strength or size.
Grip the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart, and keep your elbows tucked close to your sides.
You won’t feel this variation much in your chest and may not lift as much weight, but this is still a very functional exercise.
Barbell or dumbbell floor bench press benefits
The floor press is an excellent alternative exercise to the bench press.
It is particularly valuable when you either do not have a bench, or you want to protect your shoulder joint from a deeper range of motion.
Also, the floor press will work your triceps and help you improve any sticking point you have in the bench press.
As such, the floor press is an important assistance exercise to help you increase your bench press strength.
See Floor Press Vs Bench Press comparison, and learn more about the benefits, differences plus the proper way to do this great exercise.
To get the most from bench presses, you should adjust your rep and set scheme to match your training goals.
For strength, focus your efforts on sets of 1-5 reps using heavyweights.
Rest 3-5 minutes between sets to ensure you can give each set your best effort.
For muscle hypertrophy or growth, do sets of 6-12 reps using heavy to moderate weights.
You should rest 60-90 seconds between sets.
Do 13-20 reps using light weights to increase muscular endurance, resting only 30-60 seconds between sets.
If you want to build a better than an average bench press, consider bench pressing twice a week, using different bench press variations and different set and rep schemes.
- Flat bench press – 3 sets of 5 reps
- Narrow grip bench press – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Incline dumbbell flyes – 3 sets of 15 reps
- Incline bench press – 3 sets of 8 reps
- Decline bench press – 3 sets of 12 reps
- Pushups – 3 sets of 20 reps
Push-Ups VS Bench Press
Regarding pushups vs. bench presses, these two exercises use more or less the same muscle groups.
However, with bench presses, your body remains stationary while your hands (and the weight) moves, while with pushups, your body moves, and your hands remain stationary.
Also, with pushups, while you can make them a little more challenging by raising your feet, the primary method of progression is doing more reps.
With bench presses, you can do more reps or add more weight.
There is no need to choose between these exercises – both deserve a place in your split or whole-body workouts.
If you do bench presses at a gym, they will have everything you need to do this exercise successfully and safely.
That said, you can add a few things that will make your bench press workouts more comfortable or productive.
#1. Flat bench
- 【700 Lbs Weight Capacity】Designed a unique frame with triangular...
- 【Fast Adjustment With Automatic Lock】Designed with 7 back...
- 【2" Soft Foam Padding】10.6" Upgraded backrest and seat made of...
All you need is a flat bench.
Make sure your bench is sturdy enough to support your weight as well as the weight you are lifting.
#2. Combo bench
- DURABLE COMPOSITION: Made of faux leather and a powder-coated steel...
- HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE: Achieve a quality upper body workout by utilizing 3...
- INCLINE/DECLINE CAPABILITY: Set your bench parallel to the ground to...
Is your home gym looking rather empty?
Start by getting a good combo bench so you can bench press, squat, and even dip to your heart’s content!
#3. Wrist wraps
- STABILIZE YOUR WRISTS & LIFT MORE WEIGHT OR WE’LL SEND YOUR MONEY...
- BEST HEAVY DUTY 18” WRIST WRAP (PAIR) The only weightlifting wraps...
- PERFECT WRIST PROTECTORS FOR MEN OR WOMEN, XFIT, WOD & BODYBUILDING....
Elasticated wrist wraps support your joints when you are lifting heavier weights.
They are very stiff and help to keep your wrists straight, reducing your risk of injury.
- Includes non toxic , pigment free , fine powdered white gym chalk
- Premium grade cotton sock with drawstring is less messy than loose...
- Enhance your grip , keep your hands bone dry , and has no scent
Sweaty hands can make heavy bench presses dangerous.
Dry up sweat by putting some chalk on your hands before each set.
#5. Training gloves
- FULL PALM PROTECTION * No more torn hands and no more calluses. This...
- BUILT-IN WRIST WRAPS * Experience these uniquely designed...
- EXTRA TIGHT GRIP * Discover the one of a kind palm design of Silicon...
If your gym doesn’t allow you to use chalk, try wearing a pair of training gloves to soak up sweat and protect your hands from blisters and callouses.
#6. Neoprene elbow sleeves
- ELBOW COMPRESSION - Sleeves help support & brace the elbow joints for...
- COMFORTABLE - Designed with comfort in mind, even pressure throughout...
- VERSATILE - The best support for Men & Women - Perfect for...
Bench pressing can be hard on your elbows, especially in cold weather, if you are an older lifter or use heavier weights.
Wearing neoprene sleeves will provide warmth and support for sore elbows.
#7. Sling Shot
- HEAVY DUTY: A strong chest piece provides flexibility, and reinforced...
- ASSISTANCE: This training band will assist with exercises for perfect...
- BODY SUPPORT: This fitness band provides support while you're lifting...
The Mark Bell Sling Shot is an ingenious device that allows you to lift more weight during bench presses.
If you are serious about increasing your one-repetition maximum in the bench press, are a powerlifter, or want to give your shoulders a more comfortable time during this exercise, the Sling Shot can help.
Skinny To Muscular Weightlifting Transformation
Bench Press Benefits – Wrapping Up
Whether you are a bodybuilder, powerlifter, strength competitor, or just a fitness enthusiast, the bench press should be a staple of your upper body training.
It’s one of the best exercises for developing muscle size and strength, and it is also a great measure of performance.
It’s helpful in sports, too, especially if you want to increase your ability to punch, push, or throw.
That said, the bench press is just one of many chest exercises, and some people find it’s a little too hard on their shoulders for comfort.
If barbell bench presses hurt your shoulders, try using dumbbells instead.
They are every bit as useful for overall chest development and tend to be a little easier on your shoulder joints.
Besides the bench press for upper body training, you need to add at least two more big compound movements to target your entire body.
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