Friday, February 10, 2012




  • Do not perform any exercise without first consulting your doctor.
  • Use a spotter . 
  • Use safety clips. 
Dress comfortably; wear proper shoes, use grips or a chalk (eco) ball.

The instructions below assume you are working with a plate loaded bench. This exercise can also be done with a Smith machine.

Chest, shoulders, triceps, ribs, side of shoulders.

  1. Center the bar in the holders on the bench press. The same amount of the bar should be extended on each side.
  2. Place a comfortable amount of weight on each side. 
  3. Use clips to prevent the plates from sliding off.
  4. Lay down on your back with your feet firmly planted on the floor. 

Grasp the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing forward) with your
hands at wider than shoulder width.

  1. START: Take the bar off the rack.
  2. Take a deep breath in and raise the bar to above the chest with arms extended, exhaling while you push upward and aiming consistently at the same spot on the ceiling.
  3. Slowly lower the bar straight down to the middle of your chest.
  4. Control the weight on the way down. Letting the weight drop really quickly is not productive because the muscles do not have to work as hard on the negative phase of the movement. This makes the exercise less effective.
  5. Don't let the bar touch your chest!
  6. Pause, then slowly raise the bar back up. 
Repeat this process for your desired number of reps.

FINISH: Replace the bar on the rack from the locked out position. Move the bar backward gradually until you feel the rack uprights, then lower the bar to the rack rest. CAREFUL!

Your glutes and shoulder blades should be touching the bench at all times. It's OK to arch the back as long as the glutes and shoulder blades are fixed.

  • Don't watch the bar; focus on the ceiling.
  • If your grip is too narrow your shoulders will take over as the prime movers in this exercise.
  • Do not lock your elbows out or rest at the top. You will have a tendency to rest. Rather, go straight back into your next rep. Never push or explosively lock out your elbows. This can cause injury.
  • The bar should not touch the chest at all throughout the set. 

Some fitness experts advise against doing bench press:
  • Many experienced lifters eventually injure their shoulder(s).
  • It is NOT a good indicator of your ability to perform in an athletic event.
  • The particular strength will probably never be called upon.
  • Most experts do agree, however, that an impressive looking, thick chest can only be obtained by doing some heavy resistance.

In any case, for a strong and well defined chest the following are some alternatives to the bench press.


  • Place your toes and hands on the floor, making sure your back and arms are straight, elbows locked. 
  • Keep your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, turned out at about a 45° angle. 
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles. 

  1. Inhale as you lower yourself by bending your elbows until your chest almost touches the floor. 
  2. Come back up by pushing down on the floor. 
  3. Exhale and push yourself away from the floor. 
  4. Don't lock your elbows, and don't bend your back. 
Repeat several to failure. Do at least two sets.

  • Lead with your chest, not with your head. 
  • Your neck must stay inline with the rest of your spine. 
  • Keep your head straight; face looking down. Don't look forward. 

Resistance Band Exercise

You will need a band with two comfortable handles or grips. It must be long enough so that when your are standing with your legs apart you can comfortably hold one handle in each hand and there is no tension in the band.

  1. Wrap the band around something stable behind you and hold the handles in both hands so that the bands run along the inside of the arms. 
  2. Position yourself far enough away (either sitting or standing) so that you have tension on the bands. 

  1. Begin the movement with the arms bent, palms facing down. 
  2. Squeeze chest and press arms out in front of you, keeping the band stable. Do not lock the elbows. 

Don't let the elbows go too far back as you bring the arms in. This could strain the shoulders, and you want to keep all the work in the chest.

Keep the motion slow and controlled -- try not to use momentum.

Change your hand position or wrap the band more times around what you originally wrapped it around to increase the tension.

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