You step into the gym and the first thing you see is bodybuilders with huge chests, shoulders, and arms, bench press plates on plates. Instantly, you fall in love with the movement and it becomes your go-to exercise for chest day. After years, you attain absurd muscle development in your upper body and you’re bigger than the bodybuilders you first saw bench pressing at your first time at the gym. After all, it all seemed to pay off.
For anyone (beginners or advanced lifters), there’s always ways to improve your form – especially on the bench press. The bench press is a very complex movement that is generally categorized as a chest builder. However, after perfecting your bench press form, you’ll soon realize that it can actually turn into a full-body movement. Leg drive can be utilized while bracing with your core, as you push with your triceps, chest, and front delts. Your back is also engaged, as you retract your scapula for a strong base. Your grip is also put to the test as you push heavier and heavier numbers, putting your forearm muscles under pressure. For big, taxing lifts like the bench press, some of Pur Pharma’s products such as Test-E and Deca Durabolin are great for recovery and strength gain. As described, the bench press is a very technical and involving movement. Therefore, it’s important to perfect form so that you can:
- Get stronger
- Build bigger muscles, and
- Prevent injury
Here’s Pur Pharma‘s full guide for perfecting the bench press.
Muscles Used in the Bench Press
Muscles primarily used (in order):
- Front Deltoids
Muscles that are also activated mid-movement (in order):
- Entire back (upper back mostly)
How to Prep Before Your Lift
A big part to lifting heavily and safely, is to warm up before you lift big numbers. To get bigger numbers on bench, try out our new HGH supplement! A good number of warmup sets is around 3-5, depending on what your top set weight is. Starting with the bar to work the movement is best, and gradually progress in weight until you work up to your first working set.
When setting up on the bench, remember to retract your scapula to set up a firm base to bench press off of. Without scapular retraction, your shoulders & rotator cuffs are in a more vulnerable position to get injured, and your lift will be more difficult since there’ll be less balance. Grab the bar at about 1.5x shoulder width, and your arms should lower at a 45° angle to avoid injury to your rotator cuffs. Make sure to stack your joints as well (stack your wrists over your elbows at all times), as this is when you’ll be able to generate the most power. Take a big breath to brace your core, and keep your feet planted throughout the entire lift, to initiate full-body tension and leg drive throughout the lift.
During the Lift
Here’s our guide to completing your lift in action:
- Lift the barbell off the rack by pushing it up and forward slightly, so it’s over your upper chest, with your arms extended
- Bend your elbows to lower the barbell towards your middle chest/nipple
- Allow the barbell to make contact with your chest
- Push the barbell up in an up and back motion (somewhat diagonal) with your entire body, driving your feet into the ground and keeping your buttocks and upper back on the bench
- Stop just before your elbows lock out (for a set over 1 rep)
Bar path is important. It can be tricky at first to follow it properly, especially since people are often taught that the bench press’s bar path is only up and down. In actuality, it starts above the upper chest/shoulder, lowers to the nipple area, and presses back up to the upper chest/shoulder.
Lifting Techniques and Rep Ranges for Different Training Styles
There are many different training styles for bench press as some do it to gain size, some to gain strength, and some do it for both! Generally, for powerlifting/strength purposes, you want a quick but controlled eccentric with a full-power concentric to generate the most strength and power. Try to keep these sets higher (5+), but with lower reps (1-5 reps) and heavier weight. For size/bodybuilding, try to keep your eccentric very slow (around 3-6 seconds), as time-under-tension (TUT) is a prime factor to muscle growth. Anavar is a great helping tool for gaining size as well as strength. You’ll want to stick to 3-4 sets of higher reps (anywhere from 8-15 reps), with moderate to light weight with a controlled, slow tempo.