Perfect Bench Press Form For A Safe Lift

Bench Press

The Bench Press remains one of the most popular exercises in the gym.

You’ll be hard pressed (pardon the pun!) to find an available Bench Press station on Mondays.

The reason why the Bench Press is so popular is that it builds the body part which symbolises strength; The Chest.

In fact if people know you work out chances are, one of the questions they’ll ask you is “How much do you Bench Press?”

But as popular as the Bench Press is, it is also one of the most vilified.

Many Personal Trainers claim the Bench Press leads to shoulder injuries, torn chest muscles and that you can get better results with other chest exercises.

First, any exercise can lead to injury even torn muscles if done incorrectly.

Second, the Bench Press allows you to carry more weight than any other chest exercise because as a compound movement, it involves other muscles.

A stronger muscle is a bigger muscle. A 100 kilo Bench Press will develop your chest faster than 10 kilo cable crossovers.

If you want to add size to your chest, here are 5 tips for a safer, and more effective, Bench Press…

1.  Use A Wide Grip

Rotator cuff injuries happen when your shoulder over-rotates at the bottom position.

With a wide grip; 81 cm, your shoulder will not rotate when the bar is on your chest.

2.  Pull Your Shoulder Blades And Arch Your Back

Pull your shoulder blades back before you lie on the bench. Then fix yourself to make sure 2 points of your traps are firmly on the bench.

Arch your back but keep your glutes on the bench.

This position removes all compression forces on the shoulders and gives the chest the best leverage for lifting heavier weights safely.

3.  Grip With Your Thumbs

There’s a reason why a thumb-less grip is also called the “suicide grip”.

A thumb-less grip will have less control on the bar and will force your shoulders to over-rotate. Use your thumbs when gripping the barbell.

4.  Don’t Flare Out Your Elbows

On the descent of the bar, your elbows must lead toward your lats. Thus when you press up, the bar must follow the same pathway.

If your elbow flares out, the shoulder will rotate forward and slow down the ascent of the bar.

There will be more compression forces on the rotator cuff.

5.  Plant Your Feet

Stabilise the upper body by firmly planting your feet on the floor. Do not tip-toe of place your feet on the bench.

Some people do this because they believe it isolates the chest.

It doesn’t; pressing with your feet on the bench will expose your lower back to injury.

Finally, leave your ego at home. There are many who pile on plates on the bar but only do half or quarter movements.

Do not attempt to bench press heavy weights until you have mastered perfect form.

Be patient and remain consistent with your workouts. In time you’ll have a chest that can pop shirt buttons.