Chest Exercise: Barbell Bench Press
The bench press is the "king" of the chest exercises and probably
the most well known. The bench press works your pectoralis major muscle,
often referred to as "pecs", while also targeting your shoulder
and parts of your triceps muscles.
This move can be performed in many different ways and with different
variations, however we will focus primarily on the flat barbell bench
To perform this move:
- Lie flat and face up on a horizontal bench. If your legs are long
enough make sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground throughout
the movement. If you have shorter legs, try raising your legs up and
placing your feet flat on the bench.
- Grasp a suitable weighted barbell. Ensure that your grip is just more
than shoulder width apart.
- DOWNWARD: As you inhale slowly bring the barbell down to your
chest, whilst controlling the movement. If you are a beginner it is
a good idea to have a spotting partner to help you balance out the bar.
Also, it is a good idea to use the provided clips to ensure that the
weight plates do not fall off the bar.
- UPWARD: Exhale and extend your arms upwards until they are
straight and back in the starting position.
VARIATION: Incline Bench Press
To take some of the pressure off your shoulders, you can perform incline
bench presses instead. These work the same muscle groups as your flat
bench press with the inclusion of the serratus anterior muscle, which
is located on the sides of your rib cage. They also focus more on the
clavicular head of your pecs whereas the flat bench press targets the
complete pectoralis major muscle.
Model performing a bench press exercise
Author: Dimi Ingle.
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