The Bench Press is considered by many to be one of the main staples in anyone's strength program. It is an extremely popular exercise and generally if you walk into any gym around the world you will find someone doing it. Whilst it seems like it's generally a pretty easy exercise to execute, many people will avoid it as it can cause shoulder pain and feel awkward if doing incorrectly. Today we will go through how to set up and execute a bench press to help in case you are performing it incorrectly.
Many people struggle on the initial set up with the bench press. You should be lying down underneath the bar with your eyes/nose under the bar. This makes it easier to move the bar over your chest as you don't need to move it very far.
Your shoulder blades should be positioned down and back, particularly if you get shoulder discomfort. However, if you don't get much shoulder discomfort you can generally keep your shoulders blades where they are comfortable.
Your grip should generally be where you are comfortable and where your wrists are in line with your elbows at the bottom of the bench press movement. There are times where you can have a narrow or wider grip depending on what you are trying to achieve, but in this blog we will focus on the regular standard grip.
So what should the movement look like? As we drop, our arms should have a slight tuck at approximately 45 degrees, they shouldn't be directly out to the side. We should also drop the bar to just above the bottom of the sternum and push up from there. Having the bar too high can create increased strain on the shoulder whereas bringing the bar down below the sternum means we aren't working our chest muscles as efficiently as we'd like.
I'm sure you have seen several people who arch their back and tuck their feet under their bench. So why are they doing this? Well we should be bracing our core and making sure our body is nice and stable/firm. This will help us to move more weight, however if you're not trying to lift extremely heavy it is not necessary to arch your back and tuck your feet under. However, we should always keep our core braced whenever we're lifting. If you find you are having issues with your bench press contact us to book in and see one of our physio's who can help you with your bench press technique!