The bench press or chest press with a barbell is a weight training exercise for developing your chest muscles. It is one of the most famous weightlifting exercises in the world. This compound movement targets multiple muscle groups of your upper body. To perform the bench press exercise you require a flat bench and a weighted barbell. Lifting the barbell upwards while lying on a flat bench contracts your pectoralis major and minor muscles. Building a strong chest can boost your performance in other compound exercises and sports activities.
The bench press exercise gained popularity in the 1950s. It has evolved over the years to become a standard for chest exercises. This exercise is among the three lifts in powerlifting along with deadlifts and squats. The bench press is the only lift in the sport of Paralympic powerlifting.
Adding this move to your routine will strengthen your pectoral muscles, the triceps, and the anterior deltoids. It is among the most effective workouts for upper-body muscle growth. Bench press alternative exercises are the dumbbell chest press and parallel bar dips.
The major bench press benefits include increased muscle mass of the upper body and core stability. Bench press technique should be specific to each individual and depends on the intensity and strength level. The weight needs to be challenging but not so heavy that your form begins to break down.
The current bench press record without raw is 355 kg (782 lbs) set by Julius Maddox of the United States in 2021. Bench press shirts or raw is a tight supportive shirt that improves performance. This equipment is mostly used in powerlifting competitions. The bench shirt supports the shoulder muscles of a powerlifter.
The highest bench press record with raw is 599 kg (1320 lbs) set by Jimmy Kolb on Feb 27, 2022, at the 2022 IPA Pennsylvania Disabled State Powerlifting Championships, United States.
Benefits Of Doing Bench Press Exercise
Below are the best benefits of doing the bench press exercise with the correct technique. These bench press benefits are genuine and backed by research.
1. Builds Strength In Your Chest Muscles
The bench press is a must-do exercise in every chest workout. It’s an effective way to train your pectoral muscles (chest). Increasing the strength of your chest muscles helps in doing other weight-lifting exercises more effectively. It also supports your shoulder joints and improves your upper body movement.
2. Targets Many Muscle Groups Together
You can target other muscle groups while bench pressing, including your triceps, shoulders, and core. Targeting multiple muscle groups helps in building strength and muscle mass in your upper body. Working on your abdominal muscles (core) helps in improving your posture and balance. Strong core muscles are required for doing compound lifts and sports activities.
3. Can Be Performed Anywhere
The bench press doesn’t require any special equipment and it can be added to your home workout. You only need a weighted barbell and a flat bench to perform this exercise. If you don’t have a flat bench, you can perform the floor press variation.
4. Several Variations To Try
There are many variations of this exercise that targets different areas of your chest muscles. Some famous variations are the incline bench press, decline bench press, floor press, and close grip bench press. Adding some of these variants to your workout will make it more challenging and effective.
5. Corrects Muscular Imbalance
Performing the bench press exercise helps in correcting muscle imbalance in your upper body. Muscular imbalance is a common issue among many people. This can cause one side to be overactive and the other to become underactive. Muscular imbalance causes a lack of mobility and performance in one side of your body. The bench press is a functional movement that helps in overcoming this issue by challenging the stabilization of your muscles.
Step By Step Guide
Below are the step-by-step instructions to do this exercise with the correct form. Improving your technique will help in getting the most benefits out of this exercise.
1. Start this exercise by getting on a flat bench. Grab the barbell with your hands slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. Place your feet flat on the ground and press your back against the bench. Engage your core and keep a stable spine position. Avoid arching your back throughout the exercise.
2. Raise the barbell off the rack without locking your elbows. This is the starting position of this exercise. Now, bend your elbows at 45 degrees to slowly lower the bar towards your chest. Breathe in while bringing the barbell near your chest. Keep your core engaged throughout the movement.
3. Pause the exercise when the barbell reaches just a few inches above your chest. Now, push the bar back to the starting position. Breathe out while lifting the barbell. This is one repetition of the bench press exercise.
4. Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions with moderate weights. Keep increasing the intensity as you progress. You can perform bench press once or twice per week according to your workout routine.
For personal records, always perform the exercise under the supervision of a supporter. This helps in preventing injuries and boosting your confidence.
Doing bench press offers a great way to work your chest muscles and provide variation in your workout routine. While doing this move, you are working on the major muscle groups in your upper body. Like your pecs, triceps, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. Adding this exercise to your workout routine will help you build muscle mass and improve your strength. It’s also safe to perform with the correct technique and weights according to your fitness level.