Have you ever wondered how lifting weights can make you stronger? Discover how you can improve and strengthen your chest muscles and how the bench press benefits your overall upper body strength.
Imagine having arms that can easily lift your backpack, shoulders that help you carry groceries and a chest that makes everyday activities a breeze. That’s what the bench press can do for you!
This compound movement is a staple in strength training if you are looking to get stronger, build muscles and make your everyday life super easy.
Muscles targeted during bench press
The bench press is an excellent exercise for targeting the chest, shoulders and triceps. It is a compound exercise, which means that it works multiple muscle groups at the same time.
The bench press is a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups in the upper body, including:
- Pectoralis major: The pectoralis major is the largest muscle in the chest. It is responsible for pushing movements, such as the bench press.
- Triceps brachii: The triceps brachii is the muscle on the back of the upper arm. It is responsible for extending the elbow joint, which is the opposite of bending the elbow.
- Anterior deltoids: The anterior deltoids are the muscles on the front of the shoulders. They are responsible for lifting the arms forward, such as doing a bench press.
- Serratus anterior: The serratus anterior is a muscle on the side of the chest. It is responsible for pulling the shoulder blades forward, which helps to stabilize the shoulder joint during the bench press.
The specific muscles that are targeted during the bench press can vary depending on the grip width, the angle of the bench, and the technique used. For example, a wider grip will target the pectoralis major more, while a narrower grip will target the triceps brachii more.
Here are some of the benefits of bench pressing:
Increases upper body strength
The bench press is a compound exercise, which means it works multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The primary muscles worked are the pectoralis major (chest), triceps brachii (back of the upper arm), and anterior deltoids (front of the shoulders), which makes it an excellent exercise for overall upper body strength development.
Bench pressing can help you to increase your upper body strength, which can be beneficial for everyday activities, as well as sports and other physical activities.
Increases upper body mass
By engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously, the bench press is an effective compound exercise for building muscle mass.
Improved muscular endurance
Muscular endurance is the ability of your muscles to perform repeated contractions over a period of time. Bench pressing can improve your muscular endurance by gradually increasing the number of repetitions that you can perform with a given weight.
Increased bone density
Resistance training, such as bench pressing, can help to increase bone density. This is important for women, as they are more likely to develop osteoporosis (a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle) than men.
Bench pressing can help improve your posture by strengthening your chest, shoulders, and back muscles. This can help to prevent slouching and other poor posture habits.
Reduced risk of injury
Bench pressing can help to reduce your risk of injury by strengthening the muscles that support your joints. This can be especially beneficial for people who participate in sports or other physical activities that stress the joints.
Improves functional strength
The bench press mimics pushing movements commonly encountered in daily activities and sports, enhancing functional strength and making everyday tasks easier for your shoulder joints and pectoral muscles. This can assist your entire body, increasing shoulder mobility and core stability.
How to incorporate bench press into workouts
- Start with manageable weights. Don’t try to lift too much weight too soon. Start with a weight you can lift comfortably for 8-12 repetitions. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the weight little by little. This is called gradual progression.
- Progress slowly and safely. Increase the weight slowly. Give your body time to adapt to the new weight. If you start to feel pain, stop and reduce the weight.
- Listen to your body. Pay attention to how your body feels during and after your workout. If you feel pain, stop and rest. Don’t push yourself too hard. Your body knows its limits, and it’s important to listen.
- Warm up before bench pressing. This will help to prevent injuries. Do some light cardio and dynamic stretches before you start bench pressing.
- Cool down after bench pressing. This will help your body recover. Do some static stretches after you finish bench pressing.
Bench press variations
These are just a few of the many different bench press variations that are available. You can do bench presses with a pair of dumbbells or a barbell.
Flat bench press
This is the classic bench press variation. It is performed with a barbell, which is placed across the chest.
Incline bench press
This variation is performed on an incline bench, which is angled upwards at 45-60 degrees. It targets the upper chest more than the standard bench press.
Decline bench press
This variation is performed on a decline bench, which is angled downwards at 45-60 degrees. It targets the lower chest more than the standard bench press.
Close-grip bench press
This variation is performed with a narrower grip than the standard bench press. It targets the triceps brachii more than the other chest muscles.
This variation is performed with the barbell resting on the floor. It is a more challenging variation of the bench press that requires more stabilization from the core muscles.
Smith machine bench press
This variation is performed with a Smith machine. It is the perfect way to do chest presses when you don’t have someone to spot you.
Chest press machine
This variation uses the chest press machine, which is a seated version of the lying bench press.