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The perfect bench press

One of the core compound movements – we should all do a bench press or two. The following is my take on how to do it right.

To start, you will need gym equipment. At minimum – a weight bench with uprights (barbell holders at the head of the bench – also known as a bench press), or a utility / FID (that’s flat / incline / decline) bench and a separate rack for the barbell. Make sure the bench you are using is rated to hold your body weight, and the weight of the bar and plates you are planning to bench. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!!! Bad hurt may follow if this is not the case, or you go over the weight limits.

Add the desired weight to your barbell (I can only suggest that if you are not sure here, try a few smaller weights, and build up to a poundage you are comfortable with  – do not start heavy – remember you will do a few reps here so be honest and realistic). Place the barbell and weights on the rack, ensuring that it is at a height you can reach when lying prone on the bench.

Lie on the bench and place the soles of your feet on the ground, perpendicular to the bench itself. This will help support you through the movement.

Grab the barbell at just wider than shoulder width (wrapping your hands around the bar – thumbs to the front) lift it off until it is in line with your shoulders and perpendicular, and then slowly lower the weight until it is a few inches off of your chest. Do not bounce it on your chest. This may also cause bad hurt.

Push the weight back up into the top position and repeat to the required number of reps. When complete, place back in the holders or rack.

It is really important that you focus on tightening your chest muscles as you move through the movement, concentrating on keeping the arms in the same line of movement throughout the exercise.  Breathe out pushing up, and in while lowering the weight. Do not rush the bar up or drop it down – take your time and feel the movement.

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