Looking to strengthen your chest muscles? If so then you will definitely want to be including the bench press exercise. This exercise is often called the ‘king’ of upper body movements for good reason – it’s going to hit so many different muscle groups at once including the chest, shoulders, triceps, and even the biceps to a small degree. Therefore, not only are you going to see excellent strength gains from doing it, but it’s also going to help to fire up your metabolism, helping you also enhance any fat burning taking place in your body if you are on a fat loss diet protocol. This all said, some people aren’t making the most of their bench pressing activity. If you want to see top notch results, you need to do a few things as you execute it.
Let’s go over what these are so that you can get everything set for success.
Lower All The Way Down
The very first thing to know and remember is that you must lower the weight all the way down as you move throughout the movement pattern. By doing so, you are going to utilize more muscle tissues overall as you will be placing the muscle in its weakest position. Many people often don’t go the full range down and by doing so, they are not working the muscle when it is least strong. Thus, this weakness will persist and you will reduce the strength gains you could have been seeing.
Keep The Back Pressed Down
As you go about the exercise, another thing that you must remember is to keep the back pressed down at all times. This is going to go a long way towards helping you avoid lower back pain as it can become very stressed if you allow it to rise up off the bench at any point or another. Think of keeping the abs tight and that will help you assume proper position as you g through the movement pattern. A slight rise up is okay when you first press the weight off the bar, but after that, you want it to be staying down.
Don’t Hyperextend The Elbows
Making sure that you don’t hyperextend the elbows will also be critical to staying injury free as you go about this exercise as well. This is going to be especially the case if you tend to have hyperextended joints as when that elbow hyperextends, there is so much strain being placed upon it due to the amount of weight that you are lifting. Therefore, keep a slight bend in the elbows. If you think of this slight bend, you’ll actually stay fairly straight, so all in all, you will be in proper position.
Consider Different Grip Ranges
Finally, you’ll also want to consider doing different grip ranges as well. Remember that you are not bound do doing the straight bench press or incline bench press. Try doing a close grip bench press or a reverse grip bench press for a completely different movement pattern and stress on the muscle tissues. Or, consider using a wider grip hand placement if you want to work the outer chest muscles to a large degree as well. Whichever grip you choose, you will continually stimulate the muscles and keep them responding as they guess to what’s coming next. So as you do your next bench press, keep these points in mind so that you can make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly.
Shannon Clark has a degree in Exercise Science and is an AFLCA certified personal trainer. She has written on the topics of health, fitness and nutrition for the last 8 years. Her insights are regularly published on bodybuilding.com, askmen.com and FitRated.com. FitRated is a leading exercise equipment review site offering fitness insights on equipment, workout plans and weight loss strategies.