Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bench Press

The bench press builds upper-body strength like no other exercise. Moreover, a strong upper-body is useful for pulling, pushing and lifting -- things we do every day.

Bench Press Setup - Barbell:

Your perfect grip width is when your forearms are perpendicular to the floor when the bar touches your chest. Grip the bar hard. Put the bar in the palm of your hand and wrap your thumb around for a tight grip (do not use an open thumb grip). Squeeze your shoulder blades together and keep them back and down at all times. This gives your body a solid base from which you can press the bar. Keep your chest up at all time. Do not allow your chest to go flat or shoulders to roll forward. This will cause you to lose upper-back tightness and thus lose power and increasing risk of shoulder injury. Place your feet flat on the floor, in comfortably wide position in order to increase stability on the bench. Place your weight on the heels, with your lower legs perpendicular to the floor. This prevents extreme arching of your lower back.

Bench Press – Technique- Barbell:

Keep the tight position from start to finish. Squeeze the bar hard and keep your upper-back tight and your chest up. Unrack the weight with straight arms. Take a deep breath and controlled bring the bar down and touch your chest where your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. Press the bar above your chest and lock out at the top. Exhale as you are pushing the bar up. You have just successfully completed a rep.

Do not do partial reps. The bar needs to move all the way down and touch the chest in order to fully recruit all muscles.

An alternative exercise to barbell bench press is the dumbbell press. To use dumbbells, apply the same techniques as above. You can also do incline barbell or dumbbell moves. Decline barbell or dumbbell moves do not use the full range of motion and therefore involve less muscle recruitment, so they are not advised.

Stay tuned……….

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to share with all of you something that was amazing for me. I have had my doubts at times but lately I've really put forth the effort to stick with the guidlines Melissa has helped me with and yesterday was my deadlift day, my last set of 5 reps I lifted 150#, I was amazed and thrilled. My workout only lasted 20 minutes from start to finish but I was sweating and felt more worked than when I would do cardio for 30mins to an hour. Robin