The bench press engages several muscles—your pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoid, serratus anterior, triceps brachii and coracobrachialis. The bench press is a core fundamental exercise for developing upper body strength. Bench pressing your own body weight is not only crucial for bragging rights, but also for developing muscle and definition in your chest and arms. Work your way up to bench pressing your own body weight by combining the bench press, specific exercises that strengthen the muscles used during a bench press, and some simple training tips.
Perform a Bench Press
Lie face up on a horizontal bench with your buttocks on the bench and your feet flat on the floor.
Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip wider than shoulder-width.
Inhale and lower the bar to your chest with a controlled movement.
Extend your arms and exhale at the end of the effort.
Other Important Exercises
Use the close-grip bench press to intensely work your anterior deltoids and triceps. Lie on a horizontal bench with your buttocks on the bench and your feet on the floor. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip and your wrists 4 to 15 inches apart. Inhale and lower the bar to your chest, with your elbows out to the side. Extend your arms and exhale at the end of the movement.
Execute a front shoulder press to work your anterior deltoids and triceps in a different plane of movement. Sit with your back straight and hold a barbell with an overhand grip, resting it across your upper chest. Inhale and extend the bar vertically. Exhale at the end of the movement.
Train your triceps with cable push-downs. Stand facing a cable machine and grasp the handle with an overhand grip, your elbows bent and tucked into your body. Inhale and extend your forearms, pushing the handle down. Exhale at the end of the movement.
Do your bench press workout first while your muscles are fresh. Perform other exercises only after you are done benching.
Practice your bench press only once per week.
Avoid overtraining your muscles. Overtraining will result in a plateau or even a loss in strength and may eventually lead to injury.
Train mainly using high weight and low repetitions to develop strength. Every couple weeks mix it up, using slightly lower weight with higher reps. Progressively increase your weight until you are able to bench your own body weight.
Bench-Press.net suggests shocking your body to increase your bench press by switching from the barbell bench press, to the dumbbell bench press, and back again. Also, try switching up the days that you bench rather than always benching on a specific day.
- Muscle and Strength: Increasing Your Bench Press - Top 10 Tips
- Bench-Press.net: Increase Bench Press
- "Strength Training Anatomy, Second Edition"; Frederic Delavier; 2006