Bench Press: A Complete Guide to Technique
Before you, a complete guide to the technique of performing bench press! Follow these tips and recommendations, and will harvest from the chest with superhuman strength.
Author: Lane Norton, Ph.D.
Bench press is one of the key exercises of your arsenal for the upper body. It not only determines the development of the musculature of the trunk, but also gives a tremendous stimulus to the growth of force indicators. Many people consider bench press as an exercise only for pectoral muscles, but I tell you that it involves triceps, shoulders, back and even buttocks. This is a classic movement, and if done incorrectly it can lead to disaster.
If you have not really thought about how you actually do it in practice, it's time to take a step back and focus on the technical aspects. Seven years ago, during the wrong bench press, I tore the right pectoral muscle. And this, I tell you, was devilishly unpleasant.
After the injury, I devoted several years to studying how to include the right muscles in the work and purely carry out the movement itself. Improving the technique of my bench, I not only made the exercise safer, but also achieved a sharp increase in strength indicators.
Bench press: everything you need to know about the technique
For bench press, you do not need anything other than your body and barbell, but some accessories and equipment items will help you perform the exercise safer and more efficiently.
The main part of my outfit during bench press is wrist bandages. To raise the maximum weight, you need to generate maximum effort. To do this, keep the brushes in the straightened position. Carpal bandages help fix wrists, so I recommend using them always.
Carpal bandages should cover the wrist joint completely, hence the length of the bandage should allow you to quietly wrap it above and below the joint. I like bandages of 45-60 cm length, since they allow me to make enough turns around the joint. However, you can use any bandages in the range from 30 to 90 see.
How tightly wrap – decide for yourself. In general, the denser, the better, the main thing is not to pain or numb fingers. Tight bandaging will give the brushes additional support under heavy load.
Legs are your foundation. This is the "point of contact" between your body and the ground, so that shoes matter – even during bench press! In general, the choice of the model – it's purely personal, but it will be nice if a pair of sneakers on your feet will ensure a good grip on the floor.
I like ping-pong – sneakers for powerlifting. Because of the raised heel, they give me a feeling of better contact with the surface. In addition, they have a really tenacious sole that does not allow my legs to slide. However, many like flat-soled shoes, for example wrestling or sneakers for wrestling. But whatever you choose, try hard to fix the stops in every approach to the bench press.
I like to put chalk on my shoulders and upper back. Whichever part of the back I rest on the bench, the chalk prevents slipping and helps me to create a stronger foundation for doing the bench press.
Of course, the chalk does not belong to the mandatory items of equipment, but if you raise really big weight and you were lucky to train with a partner, ask him or her to chalk your back with chalk. I guarantee you will feel the difference in both stability and numbers.
The position of the body under the bar makes a huge impact on the technique of performing press bench and your personal records. Do not take this issue lightly. My recommendations will help you raise your maximum weight without too much risk!
Although the position of the feet in the press bench is not so important as in the deadlift or squats, it is not worth forgetting about the legs. Your feet are the beginning of a solid framework and the place from which the generation of effort begins.
Try to move the feet as close as possible to the buttocks, but so that they all the surface are on the floor. Depending on the growth and physique, for each it will look a little differently. The main thing is that the feet firmly rested on the floor, and you could generate effort from the legs and through your whole body.
Like the position of the feet, the back position of each will be unique, depending on the constitution and biomechanics. It is necessary, however, to sit on the bench high enough to make it easier to remove the bar from the racks, but not so high that during the press to cling to the stops. Move the shoulder blades together to lock the body and protect the shoulders. Imagine that you want to crush the vines between the shoulder blades, and press the upper back into the bench.
Quite a controversial point, especially among bodybuilders. Many of them believe that the deflection of the back is a technique of powerlifting, but in reality a low back will help you keep the spine in a neutral position and protect it during a bench press.
If you are not a powerlifter, the deflection of the back should not be too obvious. However, always keep a slight deflection in the lower back. Well, if you are a powerlifter, bend your back as much as possible to shorten the trajectory of the bar.
Grab the bar tight and confident! The main weight should be on the lower palm of the palm. If you hold the bar high or even "fingers", your wrist bends back, while only the straight brush gives maximum effort.
The width of the grip depends on the build. People with long arms need a wider grip, athletes with relatively short arms – in a narrower. In any case, do not go to extremes. Also, I do not recommend using a one-sided, or an open grip. Be sure to grasp the bar with your thumbs.
Take a deep breath, remove the bar from the racks and then exhale. Before you drop the projectile, take another deep breath. Hold your breath and strain the abdominal muscles. Do not exhale until you have passed through the dead point of the concentric phase of the bench, and then exhale with effort.
Do not waste your strength by lifting the bar from the racks, especially if you work with a decent weight. If you do not have a partner who could help, put your back on the bench with all your might and just lift the bar.
So, you took a deep breath and strained your abdominal muscles, it's time to lower the projectile. At this point, try to imagine that the arms bend the bar into the U-shaped arch. This "bending" the bar will help you to naturally choose the elbows, connect the latissimus muscles and protect the shoulders.
The point of contact of the bar with the chest depends on the length of the arms and the width of the grip. In any case, at the bottom of the forearm should be at an angle of 90 degrees to the floor. If the angle is less or more, you lose power.
If you have long arms and a narrow grip, the bar will touch the chest just below. If the arms are short and the grip is wide, the bar touches the chest a little higher. In most cases, the point of contact is somewhere between the upper abdomen and the line of the nipples. Be that as it may, try to touch the same point in every repetition.
As soon as the bar touches the trunk, start squeezing the shell, straining the buttocks and resting with the feet on the floor. No, this is not cheating. A pulse from the feet will allow you to better lock the body and lift more weight.
During the ascent, imagine that you are throwing the bar up. The trajectory should resemble an arc like an inverted "J".
As you can see, bench press is not such a simple exercise, as many think. The most common problem in my practice was a bench press with a breaststroke. Here it is not so much an excessive burden on the sternum, as in the impossibility of fixing the body at the moment of beating. In addition, if you sprung the bar, what kind of bench press can there be?
Many breathe incorrectly or do not strain the abdominal wall, so be sure to pay special attention to these aspects. You will be surprised at how your working weight will grow if you learn to breathe deeply and strain your abdominal muscles.
I also often see the elbows moving apart, because people think that this leads to more active participation in the work of pectoral muscles. If so, the game is not worth the candle, because it's very dangerous. That's how I tore my pectoral muscle: I took too wide a grip and let my elbows go too far. In this position, the latissimus muscles are not included, and the effectiveness of the bench press falls.
It is also often necessary to see how people at the top point turn their shoulders forward, push the blades apart during the lifting or rearrange the feet. Anything that does not correspond to the fixed position of the body with the pressed shoulder blades, leads to an unproductive and dangerous bench press. Be tense and maximally immobile.
Now you have all the tools for the correct and safe technique of bench press performance with high efficiency. Bench press is an art, like squats or any other basic exercise. The more you practice, the cleaner you do this movement. Start with light weight and gradually increase the load as you will better understand this exercise and more confidently carry it out.