Have you ever thought about mastering the art of doing the bench press? Everyone likes to go to the gym but does not know how to do the bench press.This exercise is crucial in making the correct shape of your chest by pressing heavy weights. Many athletes have a common problem in lifting heavy weights from bench press as it requires the right mental strength and correct lifting technique to get a good grip on the bench press. When you watch someone bench, it looks like the exercise is all arms, chest, and the occasional loud, obnoxious grunts but it’s actually a compound movement that also includes shoulders, traps, triceps, upper back, core, hips and even legs to a certain degree. MH got in touch with Rishabh Singhal, Fitness Manager at Delhi-based Fitnest India, who shared the essential points of perfecting the bench press.
5 Essential Steps in Mastering The Bench Press
1. Micro-loading Technique
In this technique, starting with light weights is vital for progression in the bench press. Using light weights gives the right endurance power for the body to lift heavy weights. This is a natural progression of strength and the answer is actually pretty simple. Start micro-loading. This means instead of trying to add 2.5kg to the bar each time you hit your desired reps and sets, add 1.5kg, 1.25kg or 1kg instead. If you do this, you can continue to make steady strength gains.
2. No Stretching Before Lifting
Stretching before a workout was considered vital for a long time but now research shows that this is not optimal for your performance in the weights room. One research study shows that static stretching before weight lifting causes a significant reduction in strength, even in stretches lasting as little as 45 seconds or less. Another study found that static stretching before working out decreased strength in lower and upper body exercises in both trained and untrained men. Thenext time you lift any kind of weight, try the stretching exercise post workout and see the results yourself.
3. Interchange The Grip Width
A recent study shows that different grip widths place the emphasis of the bench press on different muscles. In fact, changing the width of your grip is a great way to help break through sticking points while continuing to train the bench press. For example, a wider grip (just outside the shoulders) places more emphasis on the chest whereas a narrower grip will work the triceps more.
4. Use of Breathing Patterns
The truth is that the correct breathing pattern can help provide stability to your lift and enable you to lift heavier weights.
Inhale once you’ve un-racked the bar as you begin to bring the bar to your chest
Hold the breath to provide rigidity and stability
Forcibly exhale as you perform the concentric portion of the movement to return the bar to the starting position
Once you reach the lockout position inhale again as you start your next rep
If you continue to practice the right breathing patterns then you will be able to apply more force while doing the bench press.
5. Balancing the Right Posture
In order to give you the best lifting platform to press from you want to ensure that you are set up correctly before you start lifting.
Position yourself on the bench so that your eyes are beneath the bar
Anchor yourself to the bench by fixing your head, shoulder blades and glutes to the bench, creating a natural arch in the back and a solid base to un-rack the weight from.
Maintain the natural arch in your back, keep your chest high and your shoulder blades pinned to the bench.
Position the feet below the knees and focus on driving them into the floor to create a solid base to push from.