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

Let’s get you snug utilizing the bench press, beginning at present!

We specialise in serving to folks decide up barbells for the primary time. So if the bench press makes you are concerned…DON’T PANIC. We’ll set you up with a plan so you need to use it safely and successfully.

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

This information is a part of our Power Coaching 101 sequence. I might encourage you to take a look at the remainder of the articles in the event you’re simply beginning your weight coaching. 

If you happen to’re in a rush, you possibly can obtain the complete information at no cost once you enlist within the Revolt (that’s us!), by becoming a member of our free bi-weekly e-newsletter: 

How Essential is the Bench Press?

Make sure you always bench with a spotter. Seriously.

For the final 30-40 years, the bench press has change into the common carry for bros in all places to find out how robust somebody actually is. 

You realize, questions like:

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

A clever take on a popular meme.

As standard as it’s, the bench press in its present kind is lower than 100 years previous.

Till the 1930’s, folks did a motion referred to as the “ground press”, which was just like a bench press solely carried out from the ground.

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

In truth, at first many individuals did a motion referred to as a “stomach toss” – the place the bar would come down and bounce off the stomach to assist the lifter get it again up.

The three actions – bench press, stomach toss, and ground press have been all standard till the 40’s and 50’s, when the bench press began to change into an increasing number of standard, 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 turned an increasing number of standard, powerlifting emerged within the 1970’s and separated itself from weightlifting as a sport of its personal.

What Muscle tissue 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 an important motion to have as a half of your energy program, and one transfer we think about to be part of the “huge 4” primary lifts. 

The opposite three lifts? 

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

A few of the points coaches have with the bench press (resembling a decent chest creating unhealthy posture) don’t come from benching itself, however come from the bench being one of many ONLY actions in your program, and might disappear when integrated as part of a well-rounded energy program.

In different phrases, don’t JUST prepare utilizing the bench press.

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

The bench press is extensively generally known as a “chest” train, nonetheless, that’s undoubtedly not all it’s. 

The bench press trains:

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

Nonetheless, the bench press doesn’t JUST use your higher physique.

Once you bench correctly, you utilize your decrease again, hips, and legs as effectively. Identical to our different major lifts (the squat, deadlift, and overhead press), the bench press, whereas placing an emphasis on particular muscle teams, is a full-body motion.

Give it some thought – whilst you’re benching, the remainder of your physique is not only mendacity there doing nothing.

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

Your complete physique ought to be working your shoulders are pinched collectively and your lats are engaged, whereas your again, hips and legs are tight, stabilizing your complete physique to create a stable base and assist you to generate drive from the spherical.

The best way to bench press: The Setup

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

There are loads of alternative ways to carry out the bench press.

We’ll begin you out with a typical and primary bench press variation, which we imagine is the perfect (and most secure) technique for common energy.

Keep in mind: simply since you see somebody benching a ridiculous quantity of weight on the health club doesn’t imply they’re utilizing correct or secure kind.

They could possibly be a sophisticated athlete who’s making compromises to their kind (knowingly or unknowingly) with a purpose to bench greater numbers.

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

What do you have to carry out 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 start out. Irrespective of how robust you’re, I like to recommend beginning with a PVC pipe or broomstick to be taught correct kind.
  3. Spotter – as soon as the burden will get heavy (we are going to talk about choices later in case you simply don’t have another person to identify you)

The best way to Set Up A Bench Press

There are numerous alternative ways to arrange for a bench press – as you’ll see by watching any powerlifting competitors, and even by spending simply 20 minutes in your native health club.

Some folks get on the bench and curl themselves underneath the bar, some enter the bench from the again and slide in underneath 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 right here is to arrange in a manner that helps you get your physique tight and prepared for the carry.

Earlier than you start, it may be a good suggestion to roll the bar ahead on the uprights, as that is the place you can be lifting it off from.

Having the bar in the identical spot within the uprights will assist you to with a typical setup that’s the identical each time.

Right here’s the way to place your self throughout the bench press:

  1. Squeeze your shoulder blades collectively (as in the event you have been attempting to carry a pencil between them), press your lats into the bench, and lift your chest up barely in direction of the bar.
  2. Whilst you’re doing this, squeeze your butt and plant your ft into the bottom. Your complete foot (heels included) ought to be on the bottom, on both aspect of the bench.
  3. Preserve your complete physique tight. The elevating of your chest to the bar, squeezing your shoulders collectively, squeezing your butt, and driving your heels into the bottom will create a decent arch in your again. (extra on this later).
  4. Think about you’re a superhero and faux you’re sucking all of the vitality out of the room and absorbing it. As you the bar descends, take in that vitality and prepare to blow up upward with the bar.
  5. Your shins ought to be perpendicular to the bottom and instantly beneath your knees. If they’re out in entrance of you, your ft are too far ahead and also you received’t have the ability to generate correct drive.

Engage your entire body while performing the bench press.

Once you search for, your eyes ought to be simply north of the underside of the bar – it’s best to see the bar instantly above your eyes. Your head, higher again, and butt ought to by no means go away the bench.

Notice: Some folks (together with myself) discover it simpler to get tight of their higher again in the event that they put their ft up on the bench, seize the bar, get tight of their higher again, after which place their ft on both aspect of the bench one after the other.

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

That is simply one other technique and one thing you possibly can check out after you get the grasp of the bench!

Subsequent, take your arms and put them straight up, and seize the bar. Your grip ought to 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 will not be for use on the bench press, as it’s unsafe, and sometimes nicknamed the “suicide grip,” as it’s far too simple for the bar to fall off of your arms and land in your physique (warning: laborious to observe).

Once you maintain the bar, it ought to be within the heel of the palm (the identical spot in your arms as for the overhead press.) Your wrists is not going to be prolonged, and your forearms are underneath your wrists, forming a stable line of assist.

If you happen to maintain the bar within the higher half of your hand or the fingertips, not solely are you not in a robust place, however you might damage your wrists.

Bench Press Grip:

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

Convey the bar (or, ideally PVC as we’re simply studying) all the way down to your chest. At your chest, the width of your grip ought to make your forearms straight up and down (as perpendicular to the ground as you possibly can).

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

Get a pal that will help you (as you received’t have the ability to see by yourself), or tape your self so you possibly can see. Don’t stress an excessive amount of about getting your forearms 100% completely vertical.

When you get snug with the motion, you could change the width of your grip, as there may be wiggle room for private choice, however it is a good spot to start out.

Additionally, understand that your grip could appear manner wider or narrower than your pals based mostly on the width of your shoulders. That is regular!

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

Why would folks alter their bench press grip?

  • A wider grip is extra pec-focused
  • A narrower grip is extra tricep centered

You will notice powerlifters use a super-wide grip as a result of it reduces the vary of movement and subsequently permits them to carry extra weight in competitors.

Nonetheless, extra weight doesn’t at all times imply stronger, and our purpose at present is security and energy!

For this 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 general energy.

If you happen to’re anxious about whether or not you may have the correct grip in place, report your self and match it towards the movies on this information. If it’s shut, you’re doing nice.

You might additionally report a video and despatched it to your individual Nerd Health Coach!

Click on on the underside beneath to be taught extra:

The Most Essential Bench Press Tip (Preserve Tight)

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

If you happen to’ve arrange appropriately, your complete physique ought to be tight.

Give attention to the next when performing your bench press:

  1. Consider your physique as one single unit, not single muscle teams.
  2. Drive your ft into the bottom, tighten your complete decrease physique and core, squeeze your shoulder blades collectively, and squeeze the bar. It is best to really feel like one stable, single unit.
  3. Once you tighten your physique, your neck, higher again, and butt ought to be on the bench (and your ft and heels on the bottom).
  4. Once you drive your heels by means of the bottom, squeeze your shoulder blades collectively, and lift your chest to the bar, it is going to kind a small arch in your again – that is pure and what we’re aiming for.
  5. You don’t need to push your decrease again into the bench to create a “flat again,” or attempt to not create an arch. You probably have heard folks speaking about not utilizing an arch within the bench press, they’re most definitely referring to the acute 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 carry extra weight by decreasing the vary of movement, and is just secure to look into when you may have been benching for a very long time and actually know what you’re doing. For general energy, we suggest benching with a full vary of movement as a substitute of attempting to cut back it.

Now, really feel how tight your physique is? It is extremely necessary that you simply preserve this tightness all through the complete motion.

Correct Bench Press Type

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

Now that we’re arrange and have our arms across the bar, we need to take into consideration having our elbows tucked in and never letting them flare out.

A method to do that is that once you seize onto the bar, take into consideration attempting to bend it in half upwards in direction of the sky.

This “upward bending” cue will even assist you to have interaction your lats, which doesn’t truly assist you to with the press, however do assist you to preserve your physique tighter.

We evaluate the way to bench press with correct kind on this video (taken from NF Prime): 

Right here’s the way to carry out the bench press:

#1) Unrack the bar and place the bar instantly above your shoulders (with out dropping tightness – preserve squeezing your shoulder blades collectively!).

#2) Proceed to search for on the ceiling, unlock your elbows and decrease the bar to your chest. Don’t simply drop the bar to your chest – you need to pull it down in direction of you with management.

#3) On the backside of the motion, you need the bar to the touch just a few inches beneath your clavicles. If it’s up by your throat or in your abdomen, it’s within the mistaken 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.

Notice that not like the deadlift and squat, the bench press motion is not going to be in a straight up and down movement.

This picture shows you the bar path of the bench press

Due to our anatomy, the bar will comply with a barely diagonal path down, after which comply with the identical path again up.

#5) Whereas urgent, bear in mind to maintain 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 consideration squeezing in order that your biceps contact the aspect of your chest (although you received’t be shut sufficient to have this occur), or attempt to get your elbows underneath the bar.

You don’t need to be too tucked although – the purpose is a few 45-degree angle: 

Staci with elbows at about 35 degrees.

#6) As you press, the identical elements of your physique that have been touching the bench earlier than ought to nonetheless be touching the bench, and your ft ought to nonetheless be on the ground. Don’t let any a part of you (the most typical is your butt) come off the bench.

To assist stop your butt from coming off of the bench, as a substitute of pushing up once you drive together with your heels, consider pushing up and again, in direction of 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 go of the bar. Don’t have a look at the racks, you recognize that they’re there! For newbies, it’s nice to have a pal assist you to information the bar again to the correct 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.

Okay okay, you’re questioning how a lot it’s best to placed on the bar as a newbie who’s beginning out with bench urgent. 

It is a essential query, and for anyone that’s attempting to degree up as rapidly as doable, you’ll be tempted to place WAY extra weight on the bar than you possibly can in all probability deal with.

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

So here’s what you’ll do.

Examine your ego, and begin 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 survive. I promise.

As we cowl in our in depth information “How A lot Weight Ought to I Be Lifting?“, it’s best to ALWAYS begin each session with simply the bar.

Hell, even veteran powerlifters who can bench press 500+ kilos will at all times begin out by simply bench urgent the bar.

You may too. No one within the health club cares. I promise you.

NOTE: The bar STILL weighs 45 kilos, which MIGHT be too heavy for you. That’s okay! You don’t go to indicate folks how robust you’re on the health club, you go to the health club to get stronger.

So begin by ensuring 45 kilos isn’t too heavy for you.

In case you are even SLIGHTLY involved that it may be, think about using dumbbells or discovering a smaller/lighter barbell within the health club and utilizing that to construct as much as the energy with the bar.

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


  • Now, in the event you can bench press the bar safely, nice.
  • Do 3 units of 10 in your first day within the health club.
  • When it’s time to bench press once more, add 2.5 lbs (1.2KG) to every aspect of the bar, and repeat.
  • You’ll then be lifting a complete of fifty lbs.
  • Every week, add 5 kilos complete (2.5 to every aspect) to the bar. This shall be “sluggish going” at first. Nonetheless, even at a paltry 5 kilos per week, you’ll quickly attain some extent within the subsequent 6-12 months the place you’ll method a weight you possibly can now not carry.


As a result of you have to prepare your physique appropriately, and we’re seeking to construct momentum. Once you follow good kind with light-weight, your physique begins to be taught the right pathway for the bar. Your muscle groups, tendons, and joints all discover ways to bear the load of a weighted bar. Even your thoughts adapts.[1][[1]]Learn extra about right here.[[2]]

And every week, you get barely stronger.

Repeat this week after week, mix it with a weight loss program to get stronger, and you’ll construct muscle like a superhero!

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

Possibly at some point you’ll have the ability to bench folks.

Your complete technique of our new app, Nerd Health Journey, is predicated off this technique: sluggish progress over time. And since we’re nerds, you’ll truly construct a superhero alongside the best way (as a result of why not!).

5 Widespread Bench Press Errors

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

  1. Not conserving physique tight – As quickly as you lose tightness, you may have the potential for lacking the rep. Ensure that even if you end up warming up and the burden is gentle, that you simply preserve your complete physique tight.
  2. Butt arising – be certain your butt stays on the bench always! It’s simple to let it come up off the bench as soon as the burden will get heavy and you actually begin driving by means of your heels. As a substitute of eager about driving upwards by means of your heels, take into consideration driving up and backwards. If you happen to’re struggling together with your butt arising, both strive placing plates underneath your ft or re-evaluating your foot place (or decrease the burden).
  3. Bouncing off your chest – once you come to the underside a part of the carry, don’t bounce! Decrease the bar to barely graze your shirt, after which press.
  4. Half reps – Probably the most frequent faults I’ve seen within the health club! Be sure you are hitting full vary of movement each single rep (all the way down to chest!).
  5. Flawed beginning, center, and ending positions (pictured beneath) – we’ve discovered previously {that a} vertical line is probably the most environment friendly approach to transfer a bar, however with the bench press, the most secure is to maneuver the bar at a slight curve. The bar will begin and finish above your shoulders, however the center level of the bar shall be beneath your clavicles. In case your center place is above your shoulders, in a vertical line, your center place is simply too excessive.

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

The best way to Ask for A Spotter with the Bench Press

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

Recognizing is a vital a part of bench urgent – not solely having somebody spot you, however having you see different folks. It may be extraordinarily harmful to bench press alone.

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 objective is to make sure the security of the lifter – to not assist the lifter with reps.

The spotter at all times watches each rep whereas staying out of the best way.

The one factor they could assist with is providing you with a lift-off, however after that, it’s all you!

*A lift-off is once you assist the lifter take the bar out of the rack, after which let go of it when it’s within the right beginning place.

You don’t want a spotter to your warm-up units, however everybody ought to have one for his or her work units.

How do you ask somebody to identify you? “Hey, will you see me actual fast?” normally works (it’s actually that straightforward!). I’ve by no means had anybody flip me down.

If you happen to’re at all times on the health club concurrently another person, make associates and spot one another.

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

That manner you’re not at all times nervous asking somebody random to identify you.

If somebody asks you to identify them, at all times ask:

  • What number of reps they’re going for?
  • Do they need a carry off?
  • How would they wish to be noticed?

Some folks don’t need you to the touch the bar until they let you know to; others need you to assist 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 carry off, and a few don’t.

Once you ask another person to identify you, they’ll in all probability ask you a similar questions!

What if I don’t have a spotter? Can I bench press and not using a 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 need to use the facility 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 Coach Jim demonstrates the way to bench press utilizing an influence rack right here:

Simply set the pins at a degree simply barely beneath your chest, so in the event you miss a rep you may get out.

If you happen to don’t have an influence rack, and completely don’t have a spotter – you possibly can both not put clips on the bar, after which let the burden slide off one aspect at a time, or do the “Roll of disgrace,” the place you roll the bar down your physique, sit up, and decide up the bar.

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

Nonetheless, each of those strategies are harmful and also you’re risking damage by doing them. Please don’t bench press alone – particularly when simply beginning out. Even when the burden appears gentle, it’s very doable to injure your self.

The perfect factor you are able to do is to ask somebody on the health club to identify you.

There’s nothing bizarre about all of it – in truth, it’s regular and anticipated!

If that’s not an choice, think about dumbbell presses or one other chest train till you’ll find 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 folks with their ft up on the bench – what’s occurring?”

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

This isn’t technically right – nevertheless it’s actually a very completely different motion than your customary bench press. It eliminates the usage of the decrease physique within the motion, and will be good for folks with accidents or as an help train.

I’ve seen it probably the most in bodybuilding routines. We suggest you follow the bench press kind we offered till you grasp the motion.

2) “If the bench is among the ‘huge 4’, why do some folks not bench press?”

The bench press is an effective way to construct energy. However out of the large 4, it’s the carry that has probably the most alternate options obtainable.

Whereas it’s laborious to switch a heavy deadlift, you possibly can simply exchange the bench press with push-up and dip variations and repeatedly get stronger with simply your individual body weight for a really very 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 perfect 42 body weight workout routines if you wish to begin coaching that manner first!

I personally preserve the bench in my program as a result of I get pleasure from it, but additionally as a result of it’s a aggressive carry in powerlifting.

Steve, nonetheless, has chosen to not bench press and replaces it with body weight variations of push-ups and loads of gymnastics ring work.

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

3) “Okay, I get it! What do I do now?”

I’m glad you requested! I’ve three nice choices for you:

Choice #1) In order for you step-by-step steering, a customized energy coaching program that ranges up as you get stronger, and a coach to maintain you accountable, try our killer 1-on-1 teaching program:

Choice #2) Exercising at house and want a plan to comply with? Take a look at Nerd Health Journey!

Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra regularly, eat more healthy, and degree up your life (actually).

Strive your free trial proper right here:

Choice #3) Be part of the Revolt! We’d like good folks such as you in our group, the Nerd Health Revolt. 

Enroll within the field beneath to enlist and get our information, Power Coaching 101: Every thing You Have to Know. It’ll assist you to begin incorporating the bench press into your coaching:

In order that’s all there may be to it! Subsequent time you’re within the health club, give the bench press a shot!

Begin with simply the bar, and add weight every time once you hit your weights. Simply don’t neglect to have a spotter!

So, what sort of benching questions do you may have for us!?


PS: Don’t neglect to take a look at our different articles within the Power 101 Sequence!


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

Supply hyperlink