How to do bench press correctly

  • Introduciton
  • Where are you going to deal with the bench press?
  • Beginners' Guide to Bench Pressing
  • Tips For Bench Press Form
  • Common Beginner Bench Press Mistakes

  • Be Patient

Common Beginner Bench Press Mistakes

For optimal safety, bench press in the Power Rack. Place the safety pins at the appropriate height to catch the weight if you fail to raise it. If you Bench Press within the Power Rack like I do, you don't need a spotter. If you don't have a Power Rack, have a gym buddy spot you while Bench Press. Then follow these five basic steps to Bench Press correctly.

Where are you going to deal with the bench press?

For optimal safety, bench press in the Power Rack. Place the safety pins at the appropriate height to catch the weight if you fail to raise it. If you Bench Press within the Power Rack like I do, you don't need a spotter. If you don't have a Power Rack, have a gym buddy spot you while Bench Press. Then follow these five basic steps to Bench Press correctly.

  • Setup. Lie down on the bench with your eyes under the bar. Squeeze your shoulder blades and lift your chest. Feet flat on the ground.
  • Take hold of the bar. Place your pinky on the bar's ring markings. Hold the bar at the base of your palm with a full grasp and straight wrists.
  • Unrack. Take a deep breath and straighten your arms to unrack the bar. With your elbows locked, bring the bar over your shoulders.
  • Low down the bar, Tuck your elbows 75° and lower it to your mid-chest. Maintain a vertical forearm position. At the bottom, hold your breath.
  • Press. From your mid-chest to your shoulders, press the bar. Maintain your buttocks on the bench. At the peak, lock your elbows. Breathe.
How to Bench Press Correctly: The Definitive Guide-Where are you going to deal with the bench press

Rack the weight after five reps of Bench Press on StrongLIfts 55. Finish your last rep by pushing the weight away from your chest until your elbows are locked. Then, slide the bar horizontally to your Power Rack from above your shoulders. If you aim at the uprights, you may miss them. Aim for the Power Rack's vertical sections. Bend your elbows to drop the bar in the uprights once you've hit them.

Beginners' Guide to Bench Pressing

Whether you're new to the move or an established pro trying to improve your bench press form, Jenna McKean, British powerlifter and Maximuscle(opens in new tab) ambassador, has some pointers.

1. Contact points

  • Your feet should be firmly planted under or behind your knees. To build tension in your hamstrings and glutes, press your feet into the floor.
  • Keep your head, shoulders, and hips on the bench throughout the lift, and your shoulders should retract and push firmly into the bench to establish a sturdy foundation.

2. The configuration

  • When your arms are locked out above, your eyes should be exactly beneath the barbell, and the bar should be no higher than your wrists.
  • For most individuals, your hands should be somewhat wider apart than your shoulders on the bar.

3. Re-racking and unracking

  • Make use of a spotter! If you don't have one, stop long before failure so you may re-rack the bar securely.
  • Begin by performing a hard lock-out with the bar right over your shoulders.
  • Lower the bar under control for one or two seconds to about the location of a chest strap heart rate monitor, then push until your elbows are straight and the bar is under control.
  • Before releasing the strain in your arms, gently re-rack the bar and ensure it is secure.
    How to Bench Press Correctly: The Definitive Guide-Beginners' Guide to Bench Pressing

    Tips For Bench Press Form

    For optimal strength and growth increases, forget about the weight on the bar and focus on being as steady on the bench as possible to produce tension from head to toe and get the most out of every rep. Here are some additional ideas to help you improve your bench press form.

    Get a grip

    Your hands should grasp the bar roughly shoulder-width apart to maintain the optimum stance to press the weight up. If you have a wide hold, you risk putting too much pressure on your shoulder joints, while a small grip strains your elbows.

    Grip the bar as tightly as possible - picture attempting to pull your hands together as you press the bar up. However, do not really move them.

    Squeeze the bar as hard as you can for a second or two before bringing it out of the rack on a big set. According to the irradiation concept, this will activate the surrounding muscles and allow you to lift heavier.

    Don't forget the golden rule: wrap them around the bar. Some weightlifters utilize a thumbless grip, although it's called the "suicide" grip for a reason.

    Keep your feet on the ground.

    You must also drive your feet into the floor as you force your head, upper back, and glutes into the bench. This causes total-body tension, allowing your muscles to fire at full capacity.

    To stretch your quadriceps, press your feet forcefully into the floor.

    Because the body works in synergy, having your complete body as tight as possible can quickly help you bench more weight.

    Lower back arches

    You must maintain a powerful arch in your lower back. At the same time, you raise and lower the weight, so work on getting into this posture before touching the bar.

    Your glutes must be in continual touch with the bench, and tensing them firmly allows you to maintain an arch in your lower back and keep your core braced, which is critical to maintaining your upper and lower body stability.

    Most men don't get tight enough before setting up on the bench. A significant scapular retraction is required, so draw your shoulders down forcefully into the bench.

    This will build tension throughout your torso, allowing you to maintain your body compact and tight and push harder while lifting heavier.

    Keep your elbows close together.

    Begin each rep by bending your elbows and gently lowering the bar until it hits your chest near the nipples. Perfect form entails lowering the weight with your elbows as near your sides as possible, then pressing back up strongly.

    Keep your strength

    From the minute you lie down until the moment you rack the weight, the back of your head should be in touch with the bench. Raising your head will influence the rest of your body, causing you to lose stability.

    For added stability, keep your shoulders and upper back in contact with the bench throughout the set. As you drop the bar to your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades together.

    How to Bench Press Correctly: The Definitive Guide-Tips For Bench Press Form

    Common Beginner Bench Press Mistakes

    Avoid these frequent blunders to get the most out of your bench press.


    Going too far

    Don't attempt to lift more than you can. Your body will realize it can't manage it and elevate your hips to place your chest in a better position to contract and carry the weight, causing your form to deteriorate. The simplest solution is to just lessen the weight.

    Failure to align your shoulder blades

    Unlike a press-up, you want your shoulder blades to stay motionless during a bench press to stabilize the barbell and prevent shoulder damage while lifting big weights.

    Set your shoulder blades by drawing them back and down as if attempting to press them into your back pockets before raising the bar out of the rack. When you unrack the bar, imagine pushing yourself into the bench rather than raising the bar upwards.

    Changing the breadth of your grip

    Where do you grasp the bar when you bench press? Is it always the same distance from the rings or the smooth portion of the bar? If not, you need to start being more consistent.

    Changing your grip breadth may significantly impact which muscles are engaged and how much weight you can lift. A little broader or narrower grip might make you much weaker or stronger, making correct progress impossible.

    Making a mistake with the chest touch

    This may be bouncing the bar off your chest, putting it to your chest too high, or not contacting your chest at all. These are related to the bottom of the rep as the bar approaches the chest.

    A lifter will frequently fail to bring the bar to their chest. Make careful to contact your chest on each rep; if you can't, reduce the weight on the bar.


    Don't bounce it off your sternum when you touch your chest! Tap your chest, and press it up - you should be completely in control.

    Finally, ensure you're contacting the bar with your chest rather than your collarbones. In contrast to most barbell workouts, the bar should not travel in a straight path. Begin right above your shoulders and work down in a diagonal line to the center of your chest.

    Making use of a thumbless grip

    Your thumbs should be around the bar every time you grip the barbell, especially for the bench press. Using a thumbless grip provides no benefit and puts you at risk of dropping the bar on your face, neck, or chest.

    Squeeze the bar as hard as you can with your thumbs around it. This will aid in the generation of more force and the recruitment of more muscles.

    How to Bench Press Correctly: The Definitive Guide-Common Beginner Bench Press Mistakes

    Be Patient

    Bench Press will progress more slowly than Squat and Deadlift. Reps will be missed sooner. You will also bench press less weight than you will squat or deadlift.

    The Bench Press targets the smaller muscles. Smaller muscles cannot raise as much weight as larger ones. That is why raw Squat records are greater than Bench Press records. Squatting 140kg/300lb is also easier than Benching the same weight. That is why patience is essential.

    Re-evaluate your expectations. Expecting 10kg/20lb Bench Press PRs is unrealistic. That is a 10% improvement over 100kg/220lb. It's as if the 180kg/400lb Bench Presser suddenly achieved an 18kg/40lb PR.

    That is something you seldom hear. They normally hit a tiny PR of about 2.5kg/5lb. This represents a 1.25% improvement. It's the equivalent of adding 1kg/2.5lb to a 100kg/220lb Bench Press. This is how you can anticipate your Bench Press to improve.

    Make a big deal out of little PR achievements. Hitting 1kg/2lb Bench Press PRs does not sound remarkable. But it all adds up. Increase your Bench Press by 1kg/2lb per week for a year, and you'll be able to bench 52kg/104lb more.

    That 60kg/135lb Bench Press becomes a 112kg/249lb Bench Press. This is more than most gym men's Bench Press. All it takes is, little by little, chipping away at it. With time, your Bench Press will improve.




    A man stands in a well-equipped home garage gym
    Raymond C·
    Front Deltoid Workouts: Get Bigger Shoulders with Major Fitness

    A uniformed man doing lat-pulldown on power rack
    Raymond C·
    Fasted Weight Training - Really that Bad?

    a female doing squat with barbell and weights at gym
    Raymond C.·
    Start Lifting as a Woman - Beginner's Guide

    Leave a comment

    All comments are moderated before being published.
    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.