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How To Bench Press

Learn the proper way to perform the bench press, one of the most popular exercises at the gym. 

By
Ben Greenfield,
Episode #055

Why You Should Bench Press

While pressing 1,075 pounds may not be your cup of tea, there are certainly benefits to the exercise. For example, since your back is stabilized against the bench, you can lift a heavier weight than you would normally be able to press while in a standing position or push-up position, so you can efficiently build chest and shoulder muscles.

Whether you are new to the gym or a fitness expert, the bench press is also a very effective exercise to improve upper body strength while isolating the shoulders and chest.

Finally, the bench press is a fantastically functional exercise if you are engaged in sports for which a powerful pressing motion is required -- such as pushing a lineman in football, shoving to get a rebound in basketball, or getting an opponent off your back.

Risk of Bench Pressing

However, there are times when bench pressing may not be a good idea.

For example, if you have a shoulder injury, the bench pressing motion may aggravate that injury. Instead, choose exercises that place a less stressful load on the shoulder joint, like an elastic band chest press or a modified push-up in a knee position. Alternatively, you could choose to do a bench press with dumbbells instead of a barbell, which gives your shoulders more room to move, and can reduce the risk of injury.

Next, if you have limited time at the gym, an exercise that isolates just one part of your body (like the bench press) is not as time efficient as an one that requires multiple muscle groups, such as a cable chest press. While the bench press works the chest and shoulders, the cable chest press works your legs, core, chest, and shoulders.

Finally, if you don’t remember to do pulling exercises, such as pull-ups, seated rows, or pull-downs, overdoing the bench press motion can develop muscular imbalances in the chest and shoulders, causing you to hunch your upper back and eventually lead to shoulder injuries.

Do you have more questions about the bench press? Then share them on the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page!

Bench Press image courtesy of Shutterstock
 

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