What is bench press and why it is best exercise?

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What is the bench press?

The bench press is a very famous exercise. It mainly targets upper body muscles. The major targetted muscles by bench press are pectoral major, anterior deltoid, and triceps muscles.

Some other muscles also get benefits from this exercise. Most athletes use barbells to perform bench press but this exercise can also be performed with a pair of dumbbells. To perform this workout athletes usually lay on the bench and press the weight from the chest upward and downward.


This exercise is a very famous workout for chest muscles. Perhaps pushups and bench press are one of those workouts that peoples love to perform for improving the strength and size of the chest.

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What is bench press and why it is best exercise?
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There are many competitions where bench press is added as a game. The barbell bench press is part of three lifts in powerlifting competitions. These three lifts are barbell bench press, deadlift, and squat. The lifting weight workout is the only exercise that athletes perform in a paralympic powerlifting competition.

Paralympic powerlifting competition consists of athletes with some kinds of disabilities. The bench press is also the major workout that bodybuilders perform for upper body gain. Here in this article, we will do the post mortem of the bench press. You will get a lot of information in this article about this famous exercise.

Bench press variations

There are many varieties in bench press work out. Some famous varieties that peoples performed at the gym are mentioned below.

Barbell bench press

What is bench press and why it is best exercise?
image courtesy Pexels

The barbell bench press is performed with a barbell, weight plates, and by using a flat bench. The barbell is a strong rod that athletes use to lift the weight plates. It is the most common exercise that people do at the gym.


Almost every gym freak loves it. Most peoples start the chest day workout with a flat regular bench press. Many makes bet on this game. A flat barbell bench press is a very effective exercise for building a strong and big chest.

The primary muscles target of this workout is the pectoral and triceps brachii muscles. While front deltoid, traps, and back are secondary targetted muscles by this exercise.

How to perform barbell flat bench press

To perform this exercise you need to find a strong barbell, two weight plates, and a flat gym bench. Put the barbell along with weight plates on the stand of the bench. Lie flat on the bench and your both feet should be on the floor.

Keeping feet on the floor will support you during performing the bench press. By not putting both feet on the floor you will increase the risk of a gym accident that is what you may need to take in mind while performing this workout.

After doing all of that make a grip on both rings of the barbell. Almost all barbell rods have ring shape signs. Two pairs of rings are present on the barbell. One for wide grip bench press and one for narrow grip bench press.

You can also choose the grip part that suits you better. Wide grip barbell bench press is the genuine bench press work out so be sure your both hands grips are not so near to each other.

After that take a good breath and lift the barbell from the bench rack. Keep it a bit higher now lower it towards the chest. Don’t use gravity power in lowering the barbell. Use your strength and lower the barbell near your chest nipples line.

Now slightly lift the barbell away from the chest, towards the ceiling. It does not mean you need to throw the barbell away from the best. Just push it towards the starting position. When the barbell will reach the starting position then your one rep will complete. Do as many reps as you want by following this procedure.

Wide grip flat bench press

The wide grip bench press is a variation of a regular flat bench press. In this exercise, athletes use more wide grip than regular lifts. A wide grip bench press improves the strength of pec muscles. Strong pec muscles improve the lifting strength of the chest. Triceps and shoulder muscles are also targetted by wide grip bench press.

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How to perform the wide grip bench press

Lay on the bench and your feet must on the ground. Grab the barbell with maximum suitable grip. Unracked the barbell. Now barbell is in your hands that is the starting position. Lower the barbell with weight towards your base of the chest by using your strength. After it reaches the line of chest nipples, lift it again upwards and repeat the process.

Barbell narrow grip flat bench press

Narrow grip flat bench is a type of bench press exercise. It is an impressive exercise that can give you strong triceps along with improving chest and shoulder muscles. Remember too much narrow grip can put high stress on your shoulder muscles which can increase the risks of injury.

How to perform narrow grip flat bench press

Performing method of narrow grip flat press is just like wide grip flat bench press. Lay on the bench with both feet on the floor and lift the barbell by putting your grip on the rod. As the name shows you need to make a narrow grip to perform this exercise. Another process of this workout is the same as a wide grip. After lifting the barbell lower the barbell towards the chest base and then slowly lift it away from the chest to the starting position. That is the one rep and do some more for muscle benefits.

Decline bench press

The decline bench press is just like the flat bench press but in this variation, the bench is set at 15 to 30 degrees on a decline position. Decline bench press mostly targets the lower chest muscles. Our upper chest goes downwards and lowers face the effects of weight during the decline bench press.

Decline bench press improves the visibility of the chest line and makes pec muscles strong. It will be good for you if have a friend or gym instructor while performing the decline bench press.

Lifting heavy weight during the decline bench press is very risky. You may get a serious injury if you try to lift more weight than your strength. It is because while performing decline bench press your head straightly comes under the reach of the barbell.

How to perform a decline bench press

Set the bench at a 15 to 30-degree decline position. To perform it lay on the decline bench and lift the barbell or dumbbells with both hands. Use regular grip if you are using barbells and lift barbell gently by using your strength.

Now lower the barbell towards your mid-chest. After reaching the target lift the barbell to starting position and do more reps. 12 reps of 3 sets are impressive.


Incline bench press

Incline bench is a different variation of the bench from the regular bench press. In this workout include type, the bench is used to perform the exercise. This exercise is also very famous and peoples like to perform it at the gym or in competitions. The incline bench press mostly targets upper pecs. It improves and makes upper pectoral muscles strong.

This exercise also affects the shoulders. As it has some rules of shoulder press. The incline bench press can also be performed by a pair of dumbbells.

How to perform the incline bench press

Lay on the incline bench that is at a 45-degree angle. Put your feet on the floor. Your feet will also support you during the lift so do not lift them while performing the bench press.

Make shoulder-width apart grip and lift the rod from the bench rack. Just like variations lower the weight towards your chest nipples and after that lift rod gently away to starting position and repeat reps as you want.


Risks of bench press

Bench press also has injury risks. Labral and pec tears are common in the gyms due to bench press. Perhaps pectoral tear is the sun injury risk of bench press. Moreover shoulder and biceps-related injuries are associated with bench press workouts. Injuries during bench press mostly happened due to a person’s own mistakes.

Lifting heavy and bad lifting method in the bench press is the main contributed in muscles related injuries. [ 1 ]Trusted ✔️ MEdical CITATION:Durant EJ, De Cicco FL. Pectoralis Major Tear. [Updated 2020 Dec 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Tips to perform the bench press

1. Don’t be in a hurry. Never use speed in this exercise. Lift and lower the barbell with slow speed by using your strength (not gravity).
2. Do not lift too much heavy weight. Know your limit. Everybody has a limit. Lift a moderate weight that you can put on the bench stand after performing the bench press.

3. Prefer to do the workout with your friend that may be useful for you during exercise.
4. Do not use weak barbells that have risks of breakage during the workout.
5. If you have a gym instructor then do this exercise with that person’s guide.
6. Always protect your head and throat while performing the bench press. Call for help if you lose strength during work out.
7. You can make your weight lifting work out safer by doing exercise along with friends.

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Sarfraz is a 25-year-old writer. He loves to read and write. These are his best hobbies. Sarfraz is an experienced nutritionist and fitness trainer. Mostly he writes on health or fitness-related topics. His best friend is his brother Dr. Omer (MBBS) who reviews his articles. HERE IS EMAIL If you want to contact him: sarfraz@address4health.com
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