The bench press is one of the best power exercises you can perform for your upper body. It primarily works the pectoral or chest muscles but also strengthens the shoulders and triceps. But to achieve maximum benefits and avoid injuries, it is imperative that you use proper positioning and form when doing this exercise. Following are some tips that will help you execute the perfect bench press for maximum results.
Start With Light to Moderate Weights
If you’re a novice and just starting a weightlifting routine, use the bar to get used to the bench press movement. Work up to a weight that you can lift 10 to 12 times and stay within those repetition parameters until you build strength. Once you can bench that weight 15 times, it’s probably too light, according to “The Chicago Tribune.”
Hand and Feet Positions
Lie down on the bench with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Position yourself under the bar in a way that you won’t hit the racks with the bar on the way up. Ask someone to spot you so you can get into the proper position before commencing the exercise. Place both hands on the bar so that your little fingers are even with the bar rings. Later, when you get more experience with the exercise, you can use a wider grip to further stretch your pecs and a narrower grip to incorporate more triceps in the movement.
Use Your Legs
Keeping your legs firmly on the floor will give your more leverage and help you maintain your balance. Take the bar off the rack and hold it still for several seconds. This will prevent the bar from dipping to one side more than the other. Lower the weight down and lightly touch your chest. Avoid bouncing the bar off your chest, which can cause injuries and hamper your form, according to “WikiHow.” Push up with your feet and arms simultaneously to enhance your lifts, but never arch your back so it rises off the bench.
Proper Breathing and Movement
Inhale as you lower the weight and exhale as you lift it. You may also incorporate a little grunt to get that last rep up. Focus on keeping the bar level as you lower and raise it. Consider watching your movements in a mirror to perfect your form.
If you follow these suggestions, your bench pressing form will improve dramatically. Employ the same techniques when performing incline or decline bench presses, too. And always remain cognizant of your form each time you work chest.