How To Bench Press Correctly To Maximise Strength

How To Bench Press Correctly To Maximise Strength

The bench press area is always one of the busiest places in any gym and there’s invariably a queue to use it.

Despite its popularity, a lot of people haven’t had proper technique training, and unfortunately, it’s the kind of exercise that can go very wrong if you don’t have good form.

Athletes might find themselves doing some serious damage which could rule them out of action for lengthy periods of time.

There are lots of pointers you can think about during each stage of the movement to ensure you’re bench press form is correct.

Read on for the right technique to get the best strength gains out of the exercise.

Take Your Time To Get Set-Up

Don’t rush into the lift. Take a few moments to ensure you’ve set yourself correctly. This will give you confidence and prepare you mentally as well as physically.

Lay your feet flat on the floor, directly underneath or just behind your knees - whatever’s more comfortable.

Press the soles of your feet into the floor to create tension in your glutes and hamstrings.

Make sure your head, shoulders and hips are all flat on the bench. They should remain on the bench throughout the lift.

Put your eyes directly underneath the bar and set the rack at a comfortable height. Don’t set it any higher than your wrists when your arms are fully extended, but equally the bar shouldn’t be so low that you’re doing a half-rep to pick it up.

Your hands should be shoulder-width apart or a little wider.

Unracking & Lowering The Bar

When you unrack the bar, lockout your arms and hold the bar directly above your shoulders.

Then, lower the bar with control over the course of one or two seconds. It should fall to your breast bone, about where a chest strap heart rate monitor would be.

Your elbows should be at about a 75-degree angle at the bottom of the lift. They shouldn’t be sticking out at 90 degrees, and they shouldn’t be tucked right in and touching your torso.

Try to keep your forearms completely vertical.

Push At Tempo & Re-Rack The Bar

When you get to the bottom of the lift, don’t pause. Immediately push back up at a fast pace with explosiveness. This will increase your power output and maximise the strength gains from the lift.

Press the bar straight back up above your shoulders until your elbows are locked out.

Lastly, be careful to re-rack the bar correctly and don’t release the tension in our arms until you’re sure it’s secure.