These LEGOs are working the bench and doing some deadlifts. Nerd Fitness approves.

Let’s get you at ease the use of the bench press, beginning as of late!

We focus on serving to other folks select up barbells for the primary time. So if the bench press makes you fear…DON’T PANIC. We’ll set you up with a plan so you’ll be able to use it safely and successfully.

Right here’s what we’ll duvet:

This information is a part of our Power Coaching 101 sequence. I’d inspire you to try the remainder of the articles should you’re simply beginning your weight coaching. 

If you happen to’re in a hurry, you’ll be able to obtain all the information without cost while you enlist within the Rise up (that’s us!), by way of becoming a member of our loose bi-weekly publication: 

How Necessary is the Bench Press?

Make sure you always bench with a spotter. Seriously.

For the remaining 30-40 years, the bench press has grow to be the common elevate for bros far and wide to resolve how sturdy anyone in reality is. 

You recognize, questions like:

  • How a lot do you bench?
  • Do you even elevate?

A clever take on a popular meme.

As well-liked as it’s, the bench press in its present shape is lower than 100 years outdated.

Till the 1930’s, other folks did a motion known as the “flooring press”, which was once very similar to a bench press handiest executed from the ground.

If you don't have a bench press, you can 100% try a floor press.

In reality, in the beginning many of us did a motion known as a “stomach toss” – the place the bar would come down and soar off the stomach to lend a hand the lifter get it again up.

The 3 actions – bench press, stomach toss, and flooring press have been all well-liked till the 40’s and 50’s, when the bench press began to grow to be an increasing number of well-liked, as bodybuilders favored how the bench labored their pecs (higher than the opposite two actions).

Arnold utilized the bench press (amongst other tools and lifts) when competing for his Mr. Universe title.

Arnold benches, fo sho. 

Because the bench press become an increasing number of well-liked, powerlifting emerged within the 1970’s and separated itself from weightlifting as a game of its personal.

What Muscle mass Does the Bench Press Make the most of?

I can't even begin to imagine what Superman must be able to bench.

The bench press is a really perfect motion to have as a section of your power program, and one transfer we believe to be part of the “large 4” fundamental lifts. 

The opposite 3 lifts? 

  1. The Squat
  2. The Deadlift
  3. The Overhead Press

One of the vital problems coaches have with the bench press (corresponding to a decent chest growing unhealthy posture) don’t come from benching itself, however come from the bench being one of the crucial ONLY actions to your program, and will disappear when integrated as part of a well-rounded power program.

In different phrases, don’t JUST educate the use of the bench press.

Vada is ready to start bulking up!! And torment her Dad's GF.

The bench press is broadly referred to as a “chest” workout, alternatively, that’s surely now not all it’s. 

The bench press trains:

  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Forearms
  • Lats
  • Pecs
  • Traps
  • Rhomboids
  • Plus just about each and every muscle to your higher physique

On the other hand, the bench press doesn’t JUST use your higher physique.

While you bench correctly, you utilize your decrease again, hips, and legs as properly. Identical to our different major lifts (the squat, deadlift, and overhead press), the bench press, whilst striking an emphasis on explicit muscle teams, is a full-body motion.

Take into accounts it – whilst you’re benching, the remainder of your physique isn’t just mendacity there doing not anything.

As shown, always have a spotter when doing the bench press!

All of your physique must be running your shoulders are pinched in combination and your lats are engaged, whilst your again, hips and legs are tight, stabilizing all your physique to create a cast base and assist you to generate force from the spherical.

Tips on how to bench press: The Setup

Setup is everything when performing the press, as we will learn.

There are numerous other ways to accomplish the bench press.

We’ll get started you out with a normal and fundamental bench press variation, which we imagine is the most productive (and most secure) way for common power.

Be mindful: simply since you see anyone benching a ludicrous quantity of weight on the gymnasium does now not imply they’re the use of correct or secure shape.

They may well be a complicated athlete who’s making compromises to their shape (knowingly or unknowingly) in an effort to bench upper numbers.

Stay consistent like this mouse and you'll bulk up. Maybe eat a little cheese too.


What do you want to accomplish the bench press?

  1. A weight bench with uprights:We don't need to make this complicated. A simple weight bench like this will be perfect for the press.
  2. Barbell – the usual weight is 45 lbs, however this can be too heavy to begin. Regardless of how sturdy you might be, I like to recommend beginning with a PVC pipe or broomstick to be told correct shape.
  3. Spotter – as soon as the load will get heavy (we will be able to speak about choices later if you happen to simply don’t have anyone else to identify you)

Tips on how to Set Up A Bench Press

There are lots of other ways to arrange for a bench press – as you’ll see by way of gazing any powerlifting pageant, and even by way of spending simply 20 mins to your native gymnasium.

Some other folks get at the bench and curl themselves beneath the bar, some input the bench from the again and slide in beneath the bar, and others simply lie down after which get tight.

Your first step on proper bench press form looks like this.

The important thing this is to arrange in some way that is helping you get your physique tight and in a position for the elevate.

Prior to you start, it could be a good suggestion to roll the bar ahead at the uprights, as that is the place you are going to be lifting it off from.

Having the bar in the similar spot within the uprights will assist you to with a normal setup that’s the similar each and every time.

Right here’s find out how to place your self all over the bench press:

  1. Squeeze your shoulder blades in combination (as should you have been looking to grasp a pencil between them), press your lats into the bench, and lift your chest up quite in opposition to the bar.
  2. Whilst you’re doing this, squeeze your butt and plant your ft into the bottom. All of your foot (heels integrated) must be at the floor, on all sides of the bench.
  3. Stay all your physique tight. The elevating of your chest to the bar, squeezing your shoulders in combination, squeezing your butt, and using your heels into the bottom will create a decent arch to your again. (extra in this later).
  4. Believe you’re a superhero and fake you might be sucking all of the power out of the room and soaking up it. As you the bar descends, soak up that power and get in a position to blow up upward with the bar.
  5. Your shins must be perpendicular to the bottom and immediately beneath your knees. If they’re out in entrance of you, your ft are too some distance ahead and also you gained’t be capable to generate correct force.

Engage your entire body while performing the bench press.

While you glance up, your eyes must be simply north of the ground of the bar – you must see the bar immediately above your eyes. Your head, higher again, and butt must by no means go away the bench.

Word: Some other folks (together with myself) in finding it more uncomplicated to get tight of their higher again in the event that they put their ft up at the bench, grasp the bar, get tight of their higher again, after which position their ft on all sides of the bench one by one.

Some (like Staci) find it easier to keep form with their feet up. You do you.

That is simply any other way and one thing you’ll be able to check out after you get the dangle of the bench!

Subsequent, take your hands and put them immediately up, and grasp the bar. Your grip must be together with your thumbs across the bar:

Make sure your thumb wraps around, we don't want you to lose control of the bar.

A thumbless grip isn’t for use at the bench press, as it’s unsafe, and ceaselessly nicknamed the “suicide grip,” as it’s some distance too simple for the bar to fall off of your arms and land for your physique (caution: onerous to look at).

While you grasp the bar, it must be within the heel of the palm (the similar spot to your arms as for the overhead press.) Your wrists may not be prolonged, and your forearms are beneath your wrists, forming a cast line of reinforce.

If you happen to grasp the bar within the higher part of your hand or the fingertips, now not handiest are you now not in a robust place, however you might want to harm your wrists.

Bench Press Grip:

Staci shows you the correct way to hold a barbell during the bench press.

Carry the bar (or, ideally PVC as we’re simply finding out) down for your chest. At your chest, the width of your grip must make your forearms immediately up and down (as perpendicular to the ground as you’ll be able to).

This is roughly the width of the bench grip you are shooting for.

Get a pal that will help you (as you gained’t be capable to see by yourself), or tape your self so you’ll be able to see. Don’t tension an excessive amount of about getting your forearms 100% completely vertical.

When you get happy with the motion, chances are you’ll trade the width of your grip, as there’s wiggle room for private desire, however this can be a good spot to begin.

Additionally, needless to say your grip would possibly appear manner wider or narrower than your folks in accordance with the width of your shoulders. That is commonplace!

Try and keep your arms vertical. This will give you a good grip when performing the bench press.

Why would other folks adjust their bench press grip?

  • A much broader grip is extra p.c-focused
  • A narrower grip is extra tricep targeted

You’ll see powerlifters use a super-wide grip as it reduces the variety of movement and due to this fact lets them elevate extra weight in pageant.

On the other hand, extra weight does now not all the time imply more potent, and our purpose as of late is protection and power!

This is the reason we suggest a grip together with your forearms in a vertical place, it’s probably the most well-rounded and most secure model for total power.

If you happen to’re frightened about whether or not you’ve gotten the proper grip in position, document your self and fit it in opposition to the movies on this information. If it’s shut, you’re doing nice.

You must additionally document a video and despatched it for your personal Nerd Health Trainer!

Click on at the backside beneath to be told extra:

The Maximum Necessary Bench Press Tip (Stay Tight)

Jim and Staci will walk you through the most important tip when using the bench press.

If you happen to’ve arrange as it should be, all your physique must be tight.

Center of attention at the following when appearing your bench press:

  1. Bring to mind your physique as one unmarried unit, now not unmarried muscle teams.
  2. Force your ft into the bottom, tighten all your decrease physique and core, squeeze your shoulder blades in combination, and squeeze the bar. You must really feel like one cast, unmarried unit.
  3. While you tighten your physique, your neck, higher again, and butt must be at the bench (and your ft and heels at the floor).
  4. While you force your heels in the course of the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades in combination, and lift your chest to the bar, it’s going to shape a small arch to your again – that is herbal and what we’re aiming for.
  5. You don’t wish to push your decrease again into the bench to create a “flat again,” or check out not to create an arch. If in case you have heard other folks speaking about now not the use of an arch within the bench press, they’re possibly relating to the intense arch utilized by many powerlifters:Don't start benching like this. This is an advanced move only.
  6. That isn’t what we’re going for right here – that may be a manner that will help you elevate extra weight by way of decreasing the variety of movement, and is handiest secure to seem into you probably have been benching for a very long time and actually know what you might be doing. For total power, we suggest benching with a complete vary of movement as an alternative of looking to cut back it.

Now, really feel how tight your physique is? You will need to that you just stay this tightness right through all the motion.

Correct Bench Press Shape

Camp was great, for lots of reasons, but mainly because we benched.

Now that we’re arrange and feature our arms across the bar, we wish to take into accounts having our elbows tucked in and now not allowing them to flare out.


A technique to do that is that while you grasp onto the bar, take into accounts looking to bend it in part upwards in opposition to the sky.

This “upward bending” cue will even assist you to have interaction your lats, which doesn’t in truth assist you to with the clicking, however do assist you to stay your physique tighter.

We evaluate find out how to bench press with correct shape on this video (taken from NF High): 

Right here’s find out how to carry out the bench press:

#1) Unrack the bar and place the bar immediately above your shoulders (with out shedding tightness – stay squeezing your shoulder blades in combination!).

#2) Proceed to seem up on the ceiling, liberate your elbows and decrease the bar for your chest. Don’t simply drop the bar for your chest – you wish to have to tug it down in opposition to you with keep an eye on.

#3) On the backside of the motion, you wish to have the bar to the touch a couple of inches beneath your clavicles. If it’s up by way of your throat or for your abdomen, it’s within the flawed place.

As shown, we don't want to the bar too high or too low. You want the bar to touch a few inches below your clavicles.

#4) As soon as the bar touches your chest, press as much as put the bar again to its beginning place.

Word that in contrast to the deadlift and squat, the bench press motion may not be in a immediately up and down movement.

This picture shows you the bar path of the bench press

On account of our anatomy, the bar will observe a quite diagonal trail down, after which observe the similar trail again up.

#5) Whilst urgent, keep in mind to stay your elbows tucked in, and don’t allow them to flare out. 

As Staci shows here, keep your arms vertical (as much as you can).

Take into accounts squeezing in order that your biceps contact the facet of your chest (although you gained’t be shut sufficient to have this occur), or attempt to get your elbows beneath the bar.

You don’t wish to be too tucked although – the purpose is ready a 45-degree perspective: 

Staci with elbows at about 35 degrees.

#6) As you press, the similar portions of your physique that have been touching the bench prior to must nonetheless be touching the bench, and your ft must nonetheless be at the flooring. Don’t let any a part of you (the commonest is your butt) come off the bench.

To lend a hand save you your butt from coming off of the bench, as an alternative of pushing up while you force together with your heels, call to mind pushing up and again, in opposition to the entrance of the bench (the place your head is).

#7) To re-rack the bar, transfer the bar backwards to the uprights and contact them with the bar, after which let pass of the bar. Don’t have a look at the racks, that they’re there! For learners, it’s nice to have a pal assist you to information the bar again to the proper place within the rack.

What’s a Newbie Bench Press Weight? (Figuring out Your Beginning Weight)

As we will teach, having a spotter can be critical when using the bench press.

K ok, you’re questioning how a lot you must put at the bar as a newbie who’s beginning out with bench urgent. 

This can be a essential query, and for anyone that is making an attempt to stage up as briefly as imaginable, you’ll be tempted to position WAY extra weight at the bar than you’ll be able to most probably take care of.

In different phrases, your ego is writing assessments your physique can’t money.

So here’s what you’re going to do.

Test your ego, and get started with:

The bar. And ONLY the bar.

Yes, really start with just the bar. No matter how much the dog is benching.

Surprising, I do know.

Your ego will live on. I promise.

As we duvet in our in depth information “How A lot Weight Will have to I Be Lifting?“, you must ALWAYS get started each and every consultation with simply the bar.

Hell, even veteran powerlifters who can bench press 500+ kilos will all the time get started out by way of simply bench urgent the bar.

You’ll too. No one within the gymnasium cares. I promise you.

NOTE: The bar STILL weighs 45 kilos, which MIGHT be too heavy for you. That’s ok! You don’t pass to turn other folks how sturdy you might be on the gymnasium, you pass to the gymnasium to get more potent.

So get started by way of ensuring 45 kilos isn’t too heavy for you.

In case you are even SLIGHTLY involved that it could be, believe the use of dumbbells or discovering a smaller/lighter barbell within the gymnasium and the use of that to construct as much as the power with the bar.

dumbbells can help you build strength until you start using a barbell.


  • Now, if you’ll be able to bench press the bar safely, nice.
  • Do Three units of 10 for your first day within the gymnasium.
  • When it’s time to bench press once more, upload 2.Five lbs (1.2KG) to every facet of the bar, and repeat.
  • You’ll then be lifting a complete of 50 lbs.
  • Every week, upload Five kilos overall (2.Five to every facet) to the bar. This might be “gradual going” in the beginning. On the other hand, even at a paltry Five kilos a week, you’ll hastily achieve some degree within the subsequent 6-12 months the place you’ll way a weight you’ll be able to not elevate.


As a result of you want to coach your physique as it should be, and we’re having a look to construct momentum. While you apply best shape with light-weight, your physique begins to be told the correct pathway for the bar. Your muscle mass, tendons, and joints all learn to endure the weight of a weighted bar. Even your thoughts adapts.[1][[1]]Learn extra about right here.[[2]]

And every week, you get quite more potent.

Repeat this week after week, mix it with a nutrition to get more potent, and you are going to construct muscle like a superhero!

I'm not saying DON'T bench press your friends, but ah, yeah...


Possibly someday you’ll be capable to bench other folks.

All the means of our new app, Nerd Health Adventure, is primarily based off this technique: gradual development through the years. And since we’re nerds, you’ll in truth construct a superhero alongside the best way (as a result of why now not!).

Five Not unusual Bench Press Errors

Don't flare out your elbows, instead keep them tucked in during your bench press.

  1. Now not conserving physique tight – Once you lose tightness, you’ve gotten the opportunity of lacking the rep. Make sure that even when you’re warming up and the load is mild, that you just stay all your physique tight.
  2. Butt arising – make sure that your butt remains at the bench all the time! It’s simple to let it arise off the bench as soon as the load will get heavy and also you actually get started using thru your heels. As a substitute of fascinated about using upwards thru your heels, take into accounts using up and backwards. If you happen to’re suffering together with your butt arising, both check out striking plates beneath your ft or re-evaluating your foot place (or decrease the load).
  3. Bouncing off your chest – while you come to the ground a part of the elevate, don’t soar! Decrease the bar to quite graze your blouse, after which press.
  4. Part reps – One of the vital not unusual faults I’ve noticed within the gymnasium! Be sure to are hitting complete vary of movement each and every unmarried rep (all the way down to chest!).
  5. Improper beginning, heart, and finishing positions (pictured beneath) – we’ve realized up to now {that a} vertical line is the best strategy to transfer a bar, however with the bench press, the most secure is to transport the bar at a slight curve. The bar will get started and finish above your shoulders, however the heart level of the bar might be beneath your clavicles. In case your heart place is above your shoulders, in a vertical line, your heart place is just too top.

As shown here, the bar actually travels at an angle, not straight up and down.

Tips on how to Ask for A Spotter with the Bench Press

Always have a spotter when you bench press, otherwise you'll upset Vader.

Recognizing is an important a part of bench urgent – now not handiest having anyone spot you, however having you see other folks. It may be extraordinarily unhealthy to bench press on my own.

We don't have a sword to give you, but we can teach you how to ask for a spotter for when you bench press.

A spotter’s goal is to make sure the protection of the lifter – to not lend a hand the lifter with reps.

The spotter all the time watches each and every rep whilst staying out of the best way.

The one factor they’ll lend a hand with is supplying you with a lift-off, however after that, it’s all you!

*A boost-off is while you lend a hand the lifter take the bar out of the rack, after which let pass of it when it’s in the proper beginning place.

You don’t want a spotter on your warm-up units, however everybody must have one for his or her paintings units.

How do you ask anyone to identify you? “Howdy, will you see me actual fast?” generally works (it’s actually that easy!). I’ve by no means had any individual flip me down.

If you happen to’re all the time on the gymnasium similtaneously anyone else, make pals and notice every different.

New friends are always great, especially if you can bench press together. Even if they might be imaginary rabbits.

That manner you’re now not all the time anxious asking anyone random to identify you.

If anyone asks you to identify them, all the time ask:

  • What number of reps they’re going for?
  • Do they would like a boost off?
  • How would they prefer to be noticed?

Some other folks don’t need you to the touch the bar except they let you know to; others need you to lend a hand them information the bar up in the event that they begin to fail, and others need you to take the bar instantly in the event that they fail the rep.

Some desire a elevate off, and a few don’t.

While you ask anyone else to identify you, they’ll most probably ask you an identical questions!

What if I don’t have a spotter? Can I bench press with no spotter?

We'll discuss some tips if you find yourself alone like LEGO and don't have a spotter for the bench.

If you happen to don’t have a spotter, you’ll be able to use the ability rack to bench.

A energy rack would seem like so:

If you see this as the gym, you have a great tool for the bench press.

NF Trainer Jim demonstrates find out how to bench press the use of an influence rack right here:

Simply set the pins at a degree simply slightly beneath your chest, so should you leave out a rep you’ll be able to get out.

If you happen to don’t have an influence rack, and completely don’t have a spotter – you’ll be able to both now not put clips at the bar, after which let the load slide off one facet at a time, or do the “Roll of disgrace,” the place you roll the bar down your physique, take a seat up, and select up the bar.

Our preference would be for you to get a spotter, but this roll can work in a pinch.

On the other hand, either one of those strategies are unhealthy and also you’re risking damage by way of doing them. Please don’t bench press on my own – particularly when simply beginning out. Although the load turns out mild, it’s very imaginable to injure your self.

The most productive factor you’ll be able to do is to invite anyone on the gymnasium to identify you.

There’s not anything bizarre about all of it – actually, it’s commonplace and anticipated!

If that’s now not an choice, believe dumbbell presses or any other chest workout till you’ll be able to discover a spotter.

If you don't have a spotter, the dumbbell press can be a great chest alternative.

Steadily Requested Questions on The Bench Press (Plus Tricks to Get Began)

One of the many things taught at NF camp was the bench press.

1) “I see other folks with their ft up at the bench – what’s occurring?”

Here is Staci showing you a more advanced way to do the bench press.

This isn’t technically proper – however it’s actually a fully other motion than your same old bench press. It gets rid of using the decrease physique within the motion, and will also be excellent for other folks with accidents or as an help workout.

I’ve noticed it probably the most in bodybuilding routines. We suggest you keep on with the bench press shape we offered till you grasp the motion.

2) “If the bench is among the ‘large 4’, why perform a little other folks now not bench press?”

The bench press is an effective way to construct power. However out of the large 4, it’s the elevate that has probably the most possible choices to be had.

Whilst it’s onerous to switch a heavy deadlift, you’ll be able to simply substitute the bench press with push-up and dip diversifications and steadily get more potent with simply your personal body weight for a long time.

Push up:


This gif shows Staci doing a push-up in perfect form.


Bodyweight dips are a great exercise to include in an strength training practice.

Listed here are the most productive 42 body weight workout routines if you wish to get started coaching that manner first!

I in my view stay the bench in my program as a result of I experience it, but in addition as it’s a aggressive elevate in powerlifting.

Steve, alternatively, has selected not to bench press and replaces it with body weight diversifications of push-u.s.and numerous gymnastics ring paintings.

The muscle-up is one of the most badass exercises you can do!

3) “K, I am getting it! What do I do now?”

I’m happy you requested! I’ve 3 nice choices for you:

Choice #1) If you wish to have step by step steerage, a customized power coaching program that ranges up as you get more potent, and a trainer to stay you responsible, take a look at our killer 1-on-1 training program:

Choice #2) Exercising at house and want a plan to observe? Take a look at Nerd Health Adventure!

Our amusing habit-building app is helping you workout extra often, consume more fit, and stage up your lifestyles (actually).

Check out your loose trial proper right here:

Choice #3) Sign up for the Rise up! We want excellent other folks such as you in our neighborhood, the Nerd Health Rise up. 

Enroll within the field beneath to enlist and get our information, Power Coaching 101: The whole lot You Want to Know. It’ll assist you to get started incorporating the bench press into your coaching:

In order that’s all there’s to it! Subsequent time you might be within the gymnasium, give the bench press a shot!

Get started with simply the bar, and upload weight every time while you hit your weights. Simply don’t overlook to have a spotter!

So, what sort of benching questions do you’ve gotten for us!?


PS: Don’t overlook to try our different articles within the Power 101 Collection!


photograph supply: leg0fenris: legos, Alexander Danling: Benches, Christian Hernandez: Superman , Arch in bench press, LEGO bench press, Beam me up, please.

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