The chest press is a staple exercise and ironically enough, is often performed incorrectly. It could easily go from a chest day to a “save your shoulders” day. There are very important key points to remember when bench pressing that take today and tomorrow into account. Once the basics are mastered and it becomes second nature, there is so much enjoyment in the progress in strength and size for the chest, front shoulders & triceps. Then you can incorporate different variations into your workouts - incline, cable, seated. All of these target different muscles and challenge you.
Top Chest Press Workout Tips
Before attempting any weight during a bench press, make sure that you have the strength to manage the weight of an empty bar - usually around 40 pounds. Begin by laying flat on your back on a bench. Grip the bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. This helps give force and keep hands directly above your elbows when you go down. Bring the bar slowly down to your chest and breathe in. Push up as you breathe out, keeping a tight grip on the bar. Pick a spot on the ceiling and keep your eye on it as you come up.
After getting yourself into the right mindset, a very good way to set yourself up for success is thinking of different points of contact BEFORE the full set up. Keep your feed on the ground beneath or behind the knees. Press your feet into the floor - really dig to create tension in the hamstrings and glutes. Keep the head, shoulder and hips on the bench the whole time. Your shoulders should retract and press into the bench to help create a solid foundation.
After you have yourself geared up with correct points of contact, focus on your eyes being directly under the barbell. Keep your wrists neutral so they aren’t tempted to bend in either direction. Utilize and maintain a natural arch in your lower back - think of it as natural stability.
Lifting too quickly or with explosives can injure elbows. Focus on moving in a controlled, smooth motion that really allows for you to feel the press. This is where the mind-body connection comes in and where you need to focus on how your body is moving.
Know Your Strength
It is always good to want to challenge yourself, but it is absolutely crucial to be honest with what you can press. Leave your ego at the front door and acknowledge that the body will realize that it can’t lift that weight. Take a load off, focus on form and tempo, and you will get there.
Strength Vs. Technique
Once you know your strength, it is a good idea to understand how to progress in the category of strength and the category of technique. For example: the weight becomes too much when pressing on your chest.
Strength: Go for a higher dumbbell bench, wide grip seated rows, and face pulls. Technique: Learn to create more tension in the back, drive your feet down and concentrate on driving chest upward to meet the bar. When you are able to prioritize and fully understand both strength & technique - it is going to be a game changer.
Just like anything else - practice, practice, practice. With benching being a main goal, incorporate it into your fitness routine two to three times a week. Give yourself at least one rest day in between. Balance out those chest workouts with focusing on strengthening your shoulders (this helps prevent injury if you do too heavy of a load).
Technique, technique, technique! Make sure you are actively pulling the bar down with elbows tucked toward your side. Think of having a pencil in between your elbow and side that you can’t let go of. As you continuously build strength within your tricep, shoulders and back, this will become an easier form for you.
We Can Help You to Get the Most Out of Your Chest Press Workout!
A bench press can be a tricky staple to get down, especially without guidance. At The BXNG Club, we have incredible coaches with a profound understanding and experience of making that mind / body connection & helping you reach your bench press goals!
December 08, 2021