The Bench Press: A Guide to Muscle Groups Used, Form, & Benefits

A Bench Press Exercise Guide: Major Muscle Groups Used, Form, and Benefits

Globally, one in four adults does not get as much exercise as they need.

Are you interested in starting an exercise routine? Would you like to get into powerlifting or strength training, specifically?

No matter what your fitness goals are, the bench press is a staple exercise that ought to be included in your training routine.

Never benched before? Not sure if you’re doing it properly?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to bench press.

Benefits of the Bench Press

There are lots of reasons to include a bench press in your workout routine. The bench press is a compound exercise, meaning it requires the use of several different muscles at once.  

During a bench press, you’re using the muscles in the chest. You’re also using the arms and shoulders, as well as some of the muscles in the upper back. 

Compound exercises like the bench press don’t just help you get stronger. They also help to increase bone density and protect your body from conditions like osteoporosis.

The results of one study showed that, when women completed an exercise program that included the bench press, their bone mineral density increased significantly.

How to Bench Press

Okay, you can see that the bench press is a good exercise to do. Now, how do you do it?

The Set Up

Once you’ve chosen your weight (if you’re brand new, start by using just the bar with no extra weight) lie down on the bench.

Make sure your knees are bent and in line with your ankles. Your feet should be flat on the floor.

Make sure your hips and upper back stay on the bench. Pull your shoulder blades together to create a natural arch in your lower back (it should come off of the bench).

Once you’re set up on the bench, reach up with slightly bent arms and grab the bar. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder-width. Your thumbs should be wrapped around the bar — don’t tuck them in.

Unracking the Bar

Straighten your arms to unrack the bar.

As you inhale, lower the bar to the middle of your chest — it should fall close to the nipple line. Think about pulling the bar down toward you. This will help you keep your shoulder blades retracted, which protects your shoulder muscles from being strained.

The Press

Straighten your arms as you exhale to push the bar back up. Don’t let your shoulders round as you’re pushing the bar up. Keep the shoulder blades retracted.

You can push into the floor with your feet to help raise the bar, but don’t let your hips come up off of the bench.

Want to Learn More?

Now that you know more about the benefits of this staple exercise and how to bench press correctly, are you interested in learning about other essential exercises?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a powerlifter or someone who just wants to get stronger.

I’ve got lots of articles that will help you improve your form, learn new exercises, and get the most out of your workouts. Check them out today.

You can also follow me on my Facebook page and Instagram account for more advice!

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