When it comes to building an upper body worthy of anime legends one of the oldest moves is the barbell bench press. It builds your chest, shoulders and triceps while also making the bro's jealous of the movement.
However, it can seem really scary when you are first getting into the gym to get a bar in your hand and press it virtually over your face.
To help you increase your bench press and boost your confidence, we will be sharing some of our best tips for proper pressing!
Proper bench press set-up
The bench press is honestly incredibly straight forward when you get down to the nuts and bolts. Lay on a bench, control the bar down and press it up... It's really that simple.
Mastering this is great for beginners because it will help build the confidence you need and introduce you to the king daddy of chest day movements.
Without a strong foundation, most people won't be able to maximize their bench press and may even increase the risk of injury.
Here is a basic overview for HOW to bench press:
- Lay down flat on the bench with your back and butt touching the bar.
- Grip the bar firmly, with your thumbs around the bar. Pay special attention to make sure your grip is even on both sides of the bar. Generally you'll want your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
- Pinch the shoulder blades together and tuck them into your back pockets. This helps protect your shoulders. It will also give you a small arch in your lower back.
- Find your foot position. Just like grip, leg positions vary. The standard is tuck your heels beneath or behind your knees, so pull your feet in and slightly out and build tension by pushing your toes towards the wall.
- With your whole body primed and positioned, take a deep breath as a brace and SQUEEZE the bar out of the rack.
- Re-brace again, then bring the bar down to your chest with complete control. Once it touches your chest, explode up, with control.
Common Errors While Benching
We've covered the basics, but that's not all there is to this. Lets dive into some common mistakes in the bench press and what YOU can do to combat them.
1- Check Your Ego
Preventing injury is usually MUCH easier than it is to fix it. Don't let your ego put more weight on the bar just because your buddies are doing it. When you are first starting out, hammer in the fundamentals so you can stay healthy through this marathon of strength training.
As you build the fundamentals, you will be able to go heavier and heavier. There may be times where form breaks down and that is perfectly normal, just don't let it be habit.
2- Stop Humping the Air
It happens, we get it. You initiate leg drive and the glutes get just a BIT to excited and jump off the bench. However, if you are looking at competing or just staying safe (from getting made fun of), this can be fixed quickly.
Our advice, adjust your foot position so you push OUT not UP when you are pressing with the toes.
3- Control is King
This comes down to literally making sure you don't bounce the bar, either off of your chest or straight out of the rack.
Control on the way down and up makes sure you stay safe, the equipment stays in perfect form and you can keep going up to 4 plates on each side.
4- Uneven Grip
Breath, relax and make sure your hands are even on the bench. Be consistent with where you put them. If you misplace your hands, that is one of the first places that injury CAN occur due to uneven pressing of the bar.
5 - Happy Feet
If we have to staple your feet to the ground to keep you anchored through the lift, we will.
But our biggest tip for avoiding happy feet is to push through your toes to create tension in your hamstrings and glutes.
6 - Find a Spotter
It isn't a sign of weakness to get help from someone. It's more important to keep yourself safe instead of just winging it.
Hopefully you can follow along as we dive deeper into the squat and deadlift as well as other strength training movements so you can get the most out of your training.
Building the body of anime legends is hard, but we believe that this fundamental series will help you on your way to greatness.
FOLLOW THEIR JOURNEY
If you are looking to follow and learn from some amazing people and powerlifters follow the links below or read this article for some great stories. Or if you are looking for programming, you can find one of our free programs here or you can reach out to one of our team members to see how to take your training to the next level.