The bench press workout is central to any weight lifting routine, since it can help create maximum gains and since it is a terrific upper body exercise that increases overall upper body strength. Many fitness enthusiasts are so gung ho about the bench press that the bench press may be the only weight workout they do at the gym.
Bench press workouts help to target not just the arms and shoulders but also the back muscles which are often underestimated in terms of how much to contribute to a good looking torso.
So, clearly the bench press is a vitally important exercise in a fitness routine, however it is important to avoid certain common mistakes and keep the following in mind while doing a bench press workout.
Use proper form for your bench press workout
Not using proper form will not only prevent you from getting the most benefits from your workout, making your efforts be in vain, but also increases chances of injury.
- Do not lock the elbows. This can be tempting to do, since it gives you that slight rest but this is not going to give you the best results. Rather, lift the weight a couple of inches short of the top of the movement.
- Do not rest the weight on the chest or let it bounce off the chest, and you should be able to bring it down to about 2 inches above the chest, without letting in go all the way down to rest on the chest.
- You should be in control of the weight at all times and not let the weight control you.
- Bring the bar down towards the nipples (or the center of the chest) rather than the neck or the abdomen, in order to get the correct range of motion.
- Perform the full range of motion to help target all the muscles in a way that they all benefit optimally.
- Make sure that you use the correct grips for your bench press workouts as well and if you’re not sure of this, practice with an empty bar.
- Your footing should also be correct – wide spaced and stable feet are best since they offer support.
Do not overtrain
More is not necessary with bench press workouts. If you hit a plateau you will find yourself making no progress or gains. This will dent your motivation but resist the urge to overtrain. Rather, take a break and then resume the workout with some tweaking.
Also remember to mix things up and keeping a lot of variety to your work. Make changes to the reps per set, and the number of sets as well, so that you keep challenging your body to make more gains.
Don’t ignore the rest of your body
The rule of thumb should be to target each part of your body once each week for optimal recovery and gains.
Set yourself goals
It is important not just to have effective bench press workouts, but also to make progress in terms how much you lift or the gains you make.