Bench Press


The bench press is a weightlifting exercise or a strength-training workout that builds up muscular mass in your chest and in your arms by pressing the weight upward. It triggers numerous muscles in your upper body, which leads to the increase of power and mass.

To execute the basic bench press, start with the initial position of lying flat on a bench, assuring that your body is relaxed and neutral. The bench should be able to fit your shoulder width for a stable workout performance. Next, straighten your arms to each of your side, bend your elbows, and bring your arms upward to reach the bar. Firmly grip the bar, lift it off from the rack, and position the bar above your chest. You must also inhale as you bring down the bar, and exhale as you lift it up. These procedures direct to one whole repetition.

You can increase the weight once your body is able to withstand the current weight and the physical demand of the bench press.


The bench press mainly targets your pectoralis muscles, anterior, medial deltoid and triceps—mostly the muscles in your chest and arms.

The pectoralis muscles are stretched when you lift the barbell and bring it down. As you continue with this workout, the pectoralis muscles gain more mass due to the persistent stretching. The same thing applies to your medial deltoid and triceps. Those who train with the bench press often results to large arms and chest.

Sets and Repetitions

There are variations for the basic bench press such as the dumbbell bench press and the incline dumbbell chest press. The dumbbell bench press utilizes a pair of dumbbells, and the same steps apply except for the lifting. You lift the dumbbells facing each other, aside from just pulling it upwards. On the other hand, the incline dumbbell chest press makes use of an incline bench at a 30-degree angle. The same steps with the dumbbell bench press are followed. The 30-degree angle is said to trigger most of the pectoralis major muscles, which results to the build-up of muscle strength.

For beginners, eight to 12 repetitions in three to six sets can suffice, while the advanced can opt for 15 to 20 repetitions in more than six sets. It is recommended to rest between sets for 90 to 120 seconds.

Top Performance Metrics

Ryan Kennelly is the incumbent world bench press champion, who has successfully pressed 1,075lbs in the year 2008, while Tiny Meeker is the world’s first man to bench pressed 1,100lbs.

Related Movements

Here are some exercises that you can perform together with the bench press:

  • Deadlift

  • Squat

Related Foods

Here are some options of food that provide ample energy for your body so you can perform your workout:

  • Rice cakes with nut butter

  • Granola with fresh fruits or nuts

  • Whole wheat toast with banana and peanut butter

  • Oatmeal with dried fruits

Afterwards, below are some post-workout snacks that you can dig in to replenish your body:

  • Hummus with carrots

  • Protein bars or protein shakes

  • Boiled eggs

  • Chocolate milk

Celebrity Use

A former American football guard in the Dallas Cowboys team, Larry Allen, was able to bench pressed 700lbs., while Dwayne Johnson or commonly known as The Rock was successful in pressing 425lbs.

Functional Use

The main benefit that you would notice in your body is the increase of mass in your chest and in your arms. Your upper body would gain more power, which is important in gaining more strength, and your bone density is also ameliorated by depositing more bone tissue in the bones as you lift heavy weights. The bench press also improves your running efficiency by making your arms stronger, which leads to better swinging motion as you run.