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Tips for Properly Performing the Bench Press

April 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 211

The bench press is probably the most popular exercise among beginner weight lifters and bodybuilders. The lift seems fairly simple. I mean, you just bring the bar to your chest and push it back up, right? Actually, the bench press has several intricacies that can cause several problems if ignored:

  • Not targeting the pectoral muscles in the chest most effectively
  • The onset of shoulder pain
  • Lacking strength and muscle gains

These are just a few examples, but I think you get the idea. Not performing the bench press correctly can slow your gains at best and cause bodily injury at worst. So let's look at a few of the most common aspects of bench pressing that go awry.

Keeping the Elbows Out

Nine times out of ten, when I'm coaching someone who complains about shoulder pain while bench pressing, it stems from them angling their elbows outward as they bring the bar to their chest. This puts an enormous amount of angular pressure on the shoulders. This not only leads to immediate pain, but can cause serious damage if left unchecked for an extended period of time.

The way to prevent this is by simply being intentional about turning your elbows inward after you've lifted the bar from the rack and before you begin lowering the bar towards your chest. This turning needn't be too pronounced. Just a slight turn in to keep your elbows near your torso as you bring the bar down and press it back upwards.

Not Expanding the Chest

The focus of the bench press should always be the pectoral muscles. Far too many lifters unintentionally shift their focus to the shoulders and triceps muscles by having their back completely flat against the bench while performing the bench press lift. Instead, what you want to do is bring your shoulder blades back and in, forcing your chest upwards and making a slight arch in your lower back. In other words, your butt and shoulder blades should be providing most of the base for this lift.

Your chest should be "barrel-chested" so it is maximally expanded upwards. This will ensure the focus of the lift is centered on the pectoral muscles and also allow you to lift heavier weight because it will shorten the distance the bar has to travel from start to finish.

Implementing these changes can take a little getting used to, but they will have a tremendous impact on your long-term muscle building results from using the bench press. Not to mention they will help ensure your immediate safety and prevent long-term injuries from using improper bench pressing form. These tips have been an enormous help to me and I hope they will be to you as well.

Craig Leonard is someone who understands the struggles the average person endures when trying to build muscle and shed unwanted body fat. His passion is inspiring others to transform their bodies and improve their lives.

For more information to help you build muscle, lose fat and bench press more weight, check out Craig's inspirational articles on

Source: EzineArticles
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