Bodybuilding and Weight Training/Bench Presses

The Bench press

Main Muscles Used:

Chest, Triceps


The bench press is similar to a push up. however, the differences are that the performers body position is reversed, where the person is lying with their back on a bench like seat and pushing weights connected to two sides of a standard 45 pound metal bar instead of their body weight.

weights used are in common sizes of 45lbs, 35lbs, 25lbs, 10lbs, 5lbs, and 2.5 pound plates.

Starting position is the bar with, for example, two 45 pound weights on both sides (135 pounds) set on the starting point.

The lifter then positions themselves under the bar near the neck and positions their arms for the bench press. Arms held closer together puts more focus on the triceps, where as the opposite puts more focus on the chest. Find a comfortable grip (this varies by each lifter.)

The lifter then lifts the weights off the hooks holding the bar+weights, and positions it across their chest. This is followed by a lowering of the weights, then pushing it back up to the starting point. Some say one should lower the bar completely to your chest. However, this may cause injuries. Forcing the bar to your chest when it does not occur naturally can cause temporary to permanent injuries to your elbows.

Common Exercises:

3 sets of 8 repetitions with stretching and a few minutes of rest in between each set. Weights lifted vary from person to person. however, it should be a weight that allows the last set to be completed, but at the same time, moderately intense/tiring.

Pyramid sets are also used as a high intensity workout. sets go from 8, 6, 4, 2, 4, 6, 8 with increasing weight, and then decreased as the sets increase again. example of weight increase Example: 8 x 95, 6 x 105, 4 x 125, 2 x 135, 4 x 125, 6x 105, 8x 95


In general, it is always good to have a spotter when dealing with free weights, especially with a bench press. Failure to be able to lift the weight back onto the safety bar after dismounting it can result in severe injury and even death. A spotter is there to help you lift the weight back onto the safety hook in case you can't do it yourself.

Also, when bench pressing, avoid over-training to prevent injuries. be smart and lift an amount of weight where it can help you advance in your climb in weight lifting, but not injure you.

Make sure your equipment is in good condition and working order . "Hardware failure" with heavy weights involving you is not fun.

Good form prevents stupid injuries.

Most of all, Have fun!

Variations of the Bench press

- Incline Press - Decline Press

Each variation works a different area of the general chest area (the upper area and lower area) and are done on an inclining or declining bench.

Tips to Prevent Injury:

The bench press is notorious for causing injuries to the shoulder and sometimes the elbow joint. Great care should be taken when preparing to lift and during execution. Before you begin, ensure that you have the correct placement of hands on the bar. Next, activate shoulder stabilizing muscles and carefully lift the bar and move to the correct position over the chest (for basic bench press). Lower the bar slowly, without allowing it to free-fall, as too much speed can place excessive stress on joints. There is no real need to touch the bar to the chest at the bottom. This should be reserved for advanced lifters or football players who must perform this move for tests. In general, stop the bar a few inches off the chest, then push up. This will save your shoulder joint.