Big barbells are too heavy for a beginning weight trainer, so using the curl bar is an effective alternative for training your chest muscles or pectorals. Curl bars are also excellent when the big benches are occupied. Adjustable-weight curl bars are either 25 or 35 pounds. without weight plates, while fixed-weight curl bars range from 10 pounds to over 100 pounds. You may need a friend or workout partner to assist you with the heavier bars. If you are using a light bar, you should be able to lift it into position yourself to work your chest.
Grab a light curl bar for your warm-up set, and lie with your back flat on a flat bench.
Position your palms facing down and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar. The angle of your elbows should be slightly less than 90 degrees.
Place both feet flat on the floor, keeping your lower back in contact with the bench. If your lower back arches, place both feet flat on the bench.
Press the bar directly over the center of your chest. Then lower it until it is less than an inch above your chest, and press back up. Your elbows should be out toward your side as you lower the bar.
Sit on an incline bench, and hold the curl bar with your palms facing down and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Let the bar rest on your legs.
Raise the bar to your chest as you lie back on the bench. Press the bar directly over your chest; your arms should be perpendicular to the floor.
Lower the bar toward the upper third of your chest, just below your collarbones. Press the bar back up to complete one set.
Lie on your back on a decline bench with your head lower than your legs.
Ask your workout partner to hand you the bar, and hold it with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Lower the bar toward the bottom of your chest, where the two sides of your ribcage come together. Press the bar back up so your arms are straight and perpendicular to the floor. Repeat the movements to complete a set.
Hand the bar to your training partner before you get off the decline bench.
Narrow Grip Presses
Lie on your back on a bench.
Take a barbell from the rack and position your hands shoulder-width apart or slightly more narrow than shoulder-width on the bar.
Hug your elbows close to your body as you lift the bar straight up. Lower the barbell and then repeat.
- Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle
- ExRx.net: Barbell Close Grip Bench Press