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The Bench Press

Probably the most popular exercise out there in the world of weight lifting, the bench press will never die. Whenever you mention to someone that you lift weights, the first question they will ask right away is, “How much do you bench?” (when a better question should be, “How much do you squat or clean?”). Controversy aside, one cannot leave bench pressing aside as it does have its place in the world of weights. A lot of people have no problem with the bench press, so I won’t elaborate much here on it. I will, however, point out some minor mistakes rookies do and offer some tips on how to do a proper bench press.

First, always go the maximum distance your arms allow you to. That means when the bar goes down, make it lightly touch your chest and when it goes up, go all the way and stretch your arms. Don’t bounce the bar off your chest to make use of the momentum, that’s cheating. And don’t let gravity bring the bar down for you or else you’ll injure yourself: bring down the bar slowly and let your chest and arms do the lifting.
Second, slightly arch your back when lying on the bench to prevent back injury.

Finally, the grip is super important. Do not use a “monkey grip” on the bar as you will leave the door open to serious injury. Always grip the bar with your palms underneath and wrap your thumbs around the bar. You do not want the bar falling onto your body (notably the face) when you lose your grip. I can’t stress this advice enough as I’ve seen videos of people suffering serious injury from bench pressing incorrectly by using the so-called monkey grip.