The bench press is an upper-body exercise. It involves pressing a weight up while your body is in a supine posture. This exercise targets your pectoral muscles or pecs and triceps.
Begin a bench press by sitting on a bench, with your feet shoulder-width apart. To get to the supine position, you will need to lie back on the bench. Next, place your hands on the bar with your fingers touching the rough grip. Then grab the bar. For proper form and targeting, squeeze your scapulas (or shoulder blades) together.
Once you are ready to lift the weight for a bench press or other exercises, extend your arms straight out. Row the weight into your chest but not so much that it causes pain. Next, lift the weight up with your shoulders back. The first rep of the bench press set is complete. If you lift heavy weights, a spotter is a good idea.
We spent 36 hours researching, analyzing, and reading over 20 scientific articles to demonstrate the advantages of bench presses. The top benefits of bench pressing are:
- Arm and chest strength increases
- Builds significant muscles
- Increases overall pressing power
- Still highly effective, low-frequency bench pressing can be done
- Increases functional strength, overall health, and fitness.
- It is great for both men and women
- It can be easily modified to target specific muscle groups
- There are many options to fit any level of fitness.
Bench pressing increases strength and muscle and helps to burn fat
If you are looking to increase your upper body muscle thickness, the bench press is an excellent strength training exercise.
Untrained men were subject to 6-times-per-week bench pressing with 30% 1-RM blood flow restriction. This revealed:
- It increased the thickness of the triceps brachii muscles (MTH), by 8%
- It increased the pectoralis major MTH to 16%
- It increased muscular strength by 6%
A study of 4×4 resistance-trained people revealed that high-intensity exercise (HI) performed better than high-volume (HV), over 8 weeks.
- Body mass 1.3% higher than HV and 500g more than HV
- Lean body mass is 2% lower than HV and 1.3kg more than HV
- Leam arm mass is 6.2% and 600g more than HV
- Pectoralis major is 9.6% thicker than HV and 9.4cm thicker than P.
- Triceps brachii 11.9%, but was 0.4c smaller than those who did HV
- Lower body fat by 3%
- High-intensity loss of body fat was 1.7kg greater than high volume
Muscle activation and Bench Press
You can bench press on a flat or inclined bench. The angle of the bench will affect the activation of muscles.
Bench press athletes took part in a study that looked at muscle activation during a workout. It showed that:
- The activation of the triceps muscles was between 58.5 and 62.6% regardless of whether you were doing a bench press or not
- When inclined bench press was used, the activation of the brachial biceps was between 48.3 and 68.7%
- A narrow grip can reduce biceps brachii activation from 25.9 to 30%
- The 6-RM load was increased by 5.8 to 11.1% with a wider grip
A study of resistance-trained men revealed that they:
- A 30-degree angle bench with a concentrated or upward phase resulted in pectoralis activation 14.5% greater than a 15-degree angle incline.
- Halfway through a bench press, the 45-degree incline produced the highest pectoralis major activation at 124.8 MVIC. This is 27% more than a flat bench.
- A flat bench, whether it is eccentric or in a downward phase, produced 76.4 MVIC.
- The 45-degree incline has a lower concentration of pectoralis minor contractions, but the 15-degree angle bench is 31.9% more.
You can bench press in various positions.
- Focus on the muscles you desire
- Muscle thickness can be increased in the shoulders, arms, and chest.
- Strengthen your upper body
For more information, visit your Apex Performance in Tampa, FL. Our highly trained training staff will help you reach your goals.
This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of a personal trainer in Tampa, one-on-one training, small group classes, and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training, and body goals!