The bench press is a weightlifting exercise and strength-training workout that builds muscular mass in the chest and arms by pressing weight upward, away from the body. The exercise triggers several muscles in the upper body, which leads to an increase in both 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 at your sides, 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. Inhale as you bring down the bar, and exhale as you lift it up. These movements count as one repetition.
Once your body is able to withstand the weight and the physical demand of the bench press, increase weight on the bar.
The bench press mainly targets your pectoral muscles, anterior, medial deltoid and triceps—a.k.a. muscles in your chest and arms.
The pectoral muscles are stretched when you lift the barbell and bring it down. As you continue with this workout, the pectoral muscles gain mass due to constant stretching. The same applies to your medial deltoid and triceps. Those who train with the bench press often achieve large arm and chest muscles.
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 as the traditional bench press apply except for the lifting. You lift the dumbbells facing each other, instead of just pulling them upward. 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 pectoral major muscles, which build-up muscle strength.
For beginners, eight to 12 repetitions in three to six sets will 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.
Ryan Kennelly is the incumbent world bench press champion and has successfully pressed 1,075lbs in the year 2008, while Tiny Meeker was the world’s first man to bench press 1,100lbs.
Here are some exercises that you can perform together with the bench press:
These foods provide ample energy for the body so you can perform your workout well:
• Rice cakes with nut butter
• Granola with fresh fruits or nuts
• Whole wheat toast with banana and peanut butter
• Oatmeal with dried fruits
Afterward, try these post-workout snacks to replenish your body:
• Hummus with carrots
• Protein bars or protein shakes
• Boiled eggs
• Chocolate milk
A former American football guard on the Dallas Cowboys, Larry Allen, was able to bench press 700lbs., while Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, has been successful in pressing 425lbs.
The main benefit that you would notice in your body is the increase of muscle mass in your chest and arms. The upper body will gain more power, which is important in creating more strength, and your bone density will be ameliorated by depositing more bone tissue into the bones as the heavy weights are lifted. The bench press also improves running efficiency by making your arms stronger, which leads to better swinging motion as you run.