The barbell bench press is a very effective compound exercise for building size and strength in the pectoralis major. But the triceps and shoulders also receive heavy stimulation as secondary movers during the exercise. Now, the barbell bench press is suitable for lifters with all different levels of experience but it’s important to have proper form as safety can be a concern as with all exercises.
So, by practicing with light weight and proper form, anyone should be able to progress into heavy training which is important for muscle hypertrophy and strength gains. The barbell bench press is one of the best exercises you can do for complete chest development.
In This Exercise:
- Target Muscle Group: Pectoralis Major
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Compound
- Equipment: Bench Press Station
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Lie flat on a bench and plant your feet on the floor. Keep your back slightly arched.
- Then, grip the barbell slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart. Keep your wrists straight and do not use a thumbless grip.
- Now, unrack the barbell so that it’s directly above your lower chest. Keep your arms tucked at a 45-degree angle to your torso.
- Lower the barbell down a few inches from your lower chest.
- Then, push the barbell back up while contracting your chest muscles but don’t lock out your elbows at the top.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Variations & Tips:
- Make sure to keep your elbows tucked at a 45-degree angle to your torso to protect your shoulders.
- Only lower the barbell down until it’s a few inches from your lower chest. You do not have to touch the barbell to your chest.
- Do not use a thumbless grip because you can injure yourself if you lose your grip.
- Squeeze and contract your chest muscles during the pressing portion of the exercise.
- The barbell bench press works the pectoralis major primarily but your triceps and anterior deltoids are heavily engaged in the movement.