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Bench Press 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Strength


Bench Press
Bench Press

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type

Push (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level









The bench press is a popular barbell exercise that builds strength and muscle in the chest, triceps, and shoulders. It is a popular way to measure overall upper-body strength, and is contested in the sport of powerlifting. When many people think of lifting, the bench press is often the first exercise that comes to mind. It can be performed for low reps for strength, higher reps for muscle, or for higher reps to build or measure strength endurance.

How to Perform

  1. Assume a horizontal position on a bench, positioning your hands slightly beyond shoulder width.

  2. Establish the positioning of your shoulder blades by squeezing them together and pressing them firmly against the bench.

  3. Inhale deeply and seek assistance from a spotter for a controlled lift-off, ensuring sustained tightness in your upper back.

  4. Allow the weight to settle, confirming the maintenance of tightness in the upper back post lift-off.

  5. Inhale again and gradually lower the bar by unlocking your elbows in a controlled manner.

  6. Guide the bar in a direct descent to the sternum's base (breastbone), ensuring contact with the chest.

  7. Efficiently propel the bar upward in a direct path by exerting force against the bench, engaging leg drive by pressing your feet into the floor, and extending your elbows.

Perform the sequence for the desired number of repetitions.

Additionally, it's crucial to emphasize the importance of proper warm-up exercises to prepare the muscles and joints for the bench press. Ensure that the weight selected aligns with your current strength level, gradually progressing to more challenging loads over time. Remember to maintain a consistent breathing pattern throughout the exercise to optimize oxygen flow to your muscles. Finally, prioritize quality over quantity, focusing on controlled movements to reduce the risk of injury and maximize the effectiveness of your workout.


  1. Prioritize technique over weight, emphasizing the importance of injury prevention.

  2. Maintain bar alignment with wrists and elbows, ensuring a straight trajectory.

  3. Position the bar low in the palm for a straight wrist, stopping reps just before lockout for muscle engagement.

  4. Avoid excessive elbow tucking, focusing on a "Flare and push" cue instead.

  5. Arch from the mid to upper back to prevent lower back strain.

  6. Ensure the bar touches the chest with each repetition; explore variations like board presses for targeted motion ranges.

  7. Aim for the sternum or slightly below for a linear bar path during descent.

  8. Experiment with grip width based on arm length, maintaining a tight grip for shoulder stability.

  9. Roll knuckles towards the ceiling to prevent wrist extension.

  10. Consider a thumb-wrapped grip before exploring advanced thumbless grips.

  11. Experiment with toe position for leg drive, either tucked or flat.

  12. Retract and stabilize shoulder blades throughout the press.

  13. Emphasize controlled descent, avoiding bouncing and excess momentum.

  14. Push yourself away from the bar, prioritizing upper back tightness.

  15. Use a spotter for a controlled lift-off to maintain upper back tension.

  16. Keep feet quiet, utilize leg drive, and squeeze glutes for pelvic stability.

  17. Activate shoulder stabilizers by pulling the bar apart.

  18. Maintain contact between glutes and shoulder blades with the bench throughout the movement.

How Not to Perform

  1. Neglecting Technique:

    • Mistake: Ignoring proper form for the sake of lifting heavier weights.

    • Consequence: Increases the risk of injuries and undermines muscle engagement.

    • Correction: Prioritize technique, even if it means using lighter weights.

  2. Misalignment of Bar and Wrists:

    • Mistake: Allowing the bar to deviate from a straight line with wrists and elbows.

    • Consequence: Places strain on joints and reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.

    • Correction: Ensure the bar maintains alignment for optimal muscle activation.

  3. Overarching or Overextension:

    • Mistake: Excessively arching the back or allowing the lower back to extend too much.

    • Consequence: Increases the risk of lower back injuries and compromises form.

    • Correction: Arch from the mid to upper back, avoiding strain on the lower back.

  4. Incomplete Range of Motion:

    • Mistake: Failing to touch the bar to the chest with each repetition.

    • Consequence: Limits muscle engagement and reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.

    • Correction: Ensure the bar touches the chest for a full range of motion.

  5. Incorrect Grip Width:

    • Mistake: Using an inappropriate grip width for individual arm length.

    • Consequence: May lead to shoulder discomfort and limits muscle activation.

    • Correction: Experiment with grip width to find the most comfortable and effective position.

  6. Wrist Rollback:

    • Mistake: Allowing the wrists to roll back into extension during the lift.

    • Consequence: Compromises wrist stability and reduces overall control.

    • Correction: Focus on rolling knuckles towards the ceiling to prevent wrist extension.

  7. Excessive Elbow Tucking:

    • Mistake: Tucking the elbows excessively, often influenced by powerlifting gear.

    • Consequence: May strain the shoulders and detract from optimal muscle engagement.

    • Correction: Avoid excessive tucking; use cues like "Flare and push" for proper form.

  8. Uncontrolled Descent:

    • Mistake: Allowing the bar to descend rapidly or bouncing it off the chest.

    • Consequence: Increases the risk of injury and diminishes the effectiveness of the exercise.

    • Correction: Emphasize a controlled descent for muscle activation and safety.

  9. Lack of Upper Back Tightness:

    • Mistake: Neglecting to maintain tightness through the upper back.

    • Consequence: Reduces stability and compromises overall form.

    • Correction: Prioritize upper back tightness throughout the entire lift.

  10. Poor Leg Drive:

    • Mistake: Neglecting to use leg drive or using it ineffectively.

    • Consequence: Decreases power production and stability.

    • Correction: Utilize leg drive by pushing feet into the floor and squeezing glutes for pelvic stability.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


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