Strength training is an important part of your fitness regime. Your upper body, which includes your back, shoulder, triceps and gluteus muscles need equal attention as the other parts of your body. Bench Press is one of the top-most workouts for strengthening the upper body. While getting the bench press right can be a bit complicated, these tips will help you master this highly-beneficial exercise.
1- Position Your Feet Right
The position of your feet is important since that will be the base of where you pick your strength from. Place your feet turned slightly outward , flat on the ground, and far off from your lower waist. The way this position looks will differ from person to person depending on one’s height and body shape. Your feet need to be firm on the ground so you can pull maximum power from your feet towards your entire body.
2- Set Under The Bar
You need to set yourself far enough under the bars making sure that you do not hit the pegs while getting back up. The shoulder blades need to be together for a firm hold, which will protect your shoulders. Try pressing the shoulder blades together while pushing your upper back towards the bench.
3- Curve Your Back
Give your lower back a slight arch while performing a bench press. Doing this will help you in maintaining a neutral spine. It will also keep your spine tight and protect you as you press. As your practice increases, you can increase the arch as well which will shorten the distance of the bar’s movement.
4- Get a Good Grip
Hold the bar tight with a firm grip while holding it far below your palm. If the bar is held high and close to your fingers, it will make your wrist bend towards the back. You can apply optimal force by keeping a straight wrist. However, make sure your grip does not cover the barbell rings or anywhere inside them as that can be dangerous.
5- Brace Yourself And Unrack
You need to unrack the bar by breathing in and breathing out. Make sure you don’t invest all your energy while doing so. Get someone to help you with it or push your back towards the bench in a firm manner and let the bar pop off.
6- Lower The Bar
Take a deep breath while you pull the bar down and hold it there. Bend the bar in a U-shape while doing so; you will feel the pressure building up in your abdominal muscles. By bending the bars, you can tuck your elbows and protect your shoulders. Hold your breath in for a few seconds and breathe out as you push back.
7- Keep Your Arms Closer To The Chest
Keep your forearms at a 90-degree angle from the ground while in the lower position and make sure you don’t lose force. Depending on your arm length, the bar may touch further down or higher on the chest. Whichever area the bar hits, aim to hit the exact spot with every rep.
8- Work With Your Legs
Once the bar touches your torso, move upwards and simultaneously tighten your gluteus muscles, while driving your legs towards the ground. Doing this will help you stay firm and bench extra weight. While you press upwards, breathe forcefully, and throw the bar back in the opposite direction. It needs to move with a slight arch.
Performing the bench press is a skill similar to a squat or a major lift. It only gets better with practice. Start with a light weight and increase gradually. You’ll slowly learn and nail it with time. Once you start being doing it regularly, you will feel your body changing in many ways. Read about these changes in detail here.