Learn How To Bench Press – a Beginners Guide
Just starting out in the weight room?
Looking to learn how to bench press?
To get you off to a good start, follow these 8 steps and learn how to bench press with good technique right off the bat!
With the right technique, you will be lifting better than 90% of all gym-goers!
Learn How To Bench Press:
1. Always start with an empty bar (or lighter if need be in the case of young individuals or beginners) when determining correct positioning and form for the bench press. (Ripptoe, 2007, p. 70)
2. Lie down on the bench with the eyes looking up and position the self so that the eyes are in line with the “foot-side” (or the side of the bar nearest the feet) of the bar.
Note: the feet should be flat on the ground as well as the upper back (shoulders), and head flat on the bench at this point. (At a stance width that is comparable to that of the squat stance)
*Arch in the back is a matter of choice and is dependent upon what feels most comfortable to the lifter. Try out a few different degrees of arch, i.e. more or less, to determine what will work.
3. Determine where the correct grip width for the hands is by trying a few different widths and finding what feels best. (For beginners, a bench grip where the hands are just slightly out from in line with the shoulders may be best to start with)
*More experienced lifters, or those who utilize a bench shirt may use a much wider grip for their bench press. One important factor to remember is, “the spacing of the hands shall not exceed 81 cm measured between the forefingers (both forefingers must be within the 81 cm marks and the whole of the forefingers must be in contact with the 81 cm marks if maximum grip is used). The use of the reverse grip is forbidden” (IPF Rules, Rules of Performance-Bench Press #5, p.18).
4. The bar should be placed so that it rests on the heel of the palm and not too close to the fingers. After the grip width and placement in the palm has been established, then the fingers can be wrapped around the bar.
Note: for the purpose of IPF/USAPL Powerlifting, the thumb must also be wrapped around the bar as a “false grip” may not be taken. (Likewise, a reverse grip is also not acceptable)
5. Push up on the bar and take it out of the rack, locking the elbows and placing the bar at arms length. The arms should be vertical to the floor at this point with the bar positioned directly over the nipples on the chest. (If need be, have a spotter to help lift the bar out of the racks or to watch that the bar is not dropped)
6. Before lowering the bar to the chest, look at the position of the bar relative to the ceiling as this will be where the bar needs to return to at the end of the lift. (Ripptoe, 2007, p. 73)
7. Lower the bar to the chest, while making sure to look at the predetermined place on the ceiling, and return the bar to that place after pushing the bar back up. (While the bar is going down, continue to think “Up”, as this will cause a natural, “way to conceptualize the lift so that tightness is built in and elastic energy can be stored int eh eccentric (negative) phase for the use int he concentric drive up” (Ripptoe, 2007, p. 87))
8. Rack the bar (after having done a set of 5 or so) by locking the elbows and having the bar at arms length again. Move the bar back toward the uprights and touch them, and then let the bar down into the hooks. (If a spotter is being used, they can help with this portion of the lift)
*Optional- Start to add small amounts of weight, 10 pounds for younger lifters or females and possibly more like 20 -30 pounds for larger or male lifters. Once the speed of the lift has slowed or the form starts to change, maintain the same weight and then perform two more sets of five lifts.
You can not learn how to bench press, just by reading some articles on the interweb.
To learn how to bench press, you have to hit the weight room and you have to practise, practise, practise, with proper form, good technique, until it becomes your second nature!
Ok, got it?
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