Equipment Required: flat bench, weights of various sizes, bar
- Begin by lying flat on a bench, with your feet flat on the floor and buttocks and shoulders touching the bench.
- Grasp the bar at slightly wider than shoulder width apart (so that the elbows are at right angles at the lowest point).
- Start with the arms fully extended, holding the weight directly above the chest
- The weight is lowered at a controlled speed and with a smooth motion, to just touch the chest then returned to the starting position.
Key points to remember
- Make sure that the back is not excessively arched, and that bar is not bounced on the chest.
- The bar should be kept horizontal so no particular arm does more work
- You should not hold your breath during this exercise - breathe slowly in on the way down and out on the way up.
- A spotter, standing behind the athlete's head, should always be used.
- By changing the width of the grip on the bar, you can influence how much the chest and triceps are used. A wider grip uses more of the pectoral muscles, while a narrow grip stresses the triceps muscle more.
- The bench press exercise can be performed with either a single barbell or two dumbbells. The advantage of using two dumbbells is that you can perform the exercise with alternate arm action (see dumbbell press)
- Some gyms may have a bench press machine that will enable you to perform the same action as this exercise.
- Other lifting techniques
- Free weights for sale in the fitness store
- Bench press maximum fitness test
- Bench Press 1RM test
- World Records for the Bench Press