Alternate View of Form
Muscles Utilized & Alternate Grip Options
Adding More Weight
Rest or Active Rest Between Sets
Different Equipment or Environment Factors
Spotters & Safety
Hi. I’m going to demonstrate bench press for you. This is a traditional bench press setup. You have a bar, a big barbell, this barbell weighs 45 pounds, so just for your reference most people when they start benching they need to start with just the bar.
So I’m going to show you first off to start, with that. So you just lay back, careful not to hit your head – get underneath the bar. Have your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart and lift the bar up. Now you want to make sure the bar is basically over, right over your neck, and as you lower it down you want to lower it down at an angle to down – to right to your chest or just below. I like to come right below my boobs, and then push back up. So it’s kind of an arc angle.
Now when you first start you’re going to be really wobbly. I always start with a warm up set, just to get my muscles warmed up so I don’t hurt myself. And I’ll do many reps. I might change the angles and just get the stretch going for that. So that’s a good way to start your bench workout with a good warm up set.
Hi, here’s a little bit different angle for you just so you can see the arc that I do with the bench press. So as you’re underneath the bench – like I said grab just a little wider than shoulder width apart – make sure your feet are planted on the floor, bar right above your chin and neck area. Ok, so that’s where you start. Now you lower down nice and slow, you want to come down just below your boobs, like on your chest, right in here, this is a great place. Then you push back up to right in line with your neck again. So you have a little bit of an angle. Now this utilizes your natural range of motion.
Now to accentuate this if you arch your back up just a little bit and get your back involved you’re going to have a much stronger bench by doing so. You can see I have my back arched, I’m utilizing some of my back muscles, my feet are still planted on the ground, my hips do not raise off the bench.
So as you get stronger you’re going to find that you use more and more of your upper body than just your chest. But this is mainly for your chest muscles, you’re also are going to feel it a lot in your front deltoids and your triceps. Now if you widen your grip you’re going to feel it more in your chest and your front delts. If you put it a more narrow grip you’re going to feel it more in your triceps – your triceps are right here – so that’s just a basic demo on how to do a bench press. I’m going to go ahead and put a little more weight on here and show you some of that.
Alright, now that I’ve gotten a good warm up by stretching and doing a couple sets of really light weight bench I’ll go ahead and add on a little more weight. Now 95 pounds for me is pretty much where I start off on my active sets. So this is 25 pound plates on either side, plus the 45 pound bar so it’s 95 pounds all together. Just want to make sure I get nice and set, arc my back up, make sure I place my hands nice and firmly, keep my wrists straight, weight up above my chin, and then lower down, touch my chest and push back up. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
Alright, so that was a good active set, I really started feeling it in those last few, but this isn’t a super challenging weight for me. I’m trying to do sets of 10 so I’m going to go ahead and put 5 more pounds on each side for a total of 105. And that should be good for another set, the next set of 10. So in between sets I’m going to rest about 1 to 2 minutes. Now it just depends on how hard I’m working, and whether I’m buffing or boosting on how long I take in between. And sometimes I’ll do some bench dips in between just to keep my heart rate up and to get in a little exercise especially when I’m buffing. Another thing that I like to do between sets is to bring my knees up to my chest on the bench. This is a great exercise for your abs called knee ups – bench knee ups. And another thing that I really tend to do a lot during my benching is stretching. A great stretch for you to do is just sit on the side of the bench, reach behind you on the bar and feel that nice stretch right in here. Make sure you do the other side also, stretch in here. Another great stretch to do between sets is just laying down and simply putting your arms down on the bench stand behind you and stretching – pushing into it and then relaxing and then pushing into it again. Then bring your arms down, grab them underneath you and shake it out there. Ok.
So I’m going to add 5 more pounds to each side here – lets see if I do have 5 pounds. I don’t have any 5’s. Ok, then I’ll just add ten. I don’t have any 5 it looks like, there are just 2 ½’s. So we’ll do this, this is 115 pounds. I’m going to try to do this 10 times. I don’t have a spotter, so I have to really know where my limits are. I’m very seasoned at benching, so I know where those are. One more.
Ok, one thing to point out is that I’m not used to this bench. I’m used to working out at the gym and the bench there is different than this bench. So whenever you’re changing a situation or environment with a little bit different equipment, know that you need to be prepared to not be as strong, or as confident or feel as good doing that exercise. So it’s all about adaptation and your body getting used to it. I’m used to a bench that’s a little lower to the ground and also a stand that’s different.
You might have noticed I bashed into the stand, you don’t want that to happen, because, you know, that’s a good recipe for disaster. So you really want to be careful, and that’s why you should always have a spotter, especially when you’re doing heavier weights. Like I said, I’m very seasoned at doing the bench press, I know where my limits are, I know when it’s time to stop. But even then I don’t lift with collars on just for that fact. If I was alone, the weight is stuck on me and if I have collars on I have to roll it all the way down my body. Without I can just dump them off on either side and then get the bar back up. There’s advantages and disadvantages to using collars. I honestly don’t use them except for on movements where I’m moving a lot – say like an explosive power move, or a lot times with lunges and stuff like that.
So really, safety is key when you’re doing bench. Always err on the light side. And have fun doing it. It’s a great exercise for your whole upper body. Without it I would be lost- I wouldn’t be in strength training like I am. I love the bench. It’s probably my number one favorite exercise at the gym. So have a good one, make sure you try this out. And let me know what you think and if you have any questions. Talk to you later!