Bench press: One of, if not the most popular exercise performed in the gym. The exercise most of you are doing, but are you doing it correctly? I know you have been to the gym on ” National Chest Day” aka Monday and have had to wait your turn to bench. This article to help you learn the bench press with proper form and technique to ensure maximum results and safety. When the bench press is performed correctly, it is a total body lift that teaches leg drive, total-body tension, and stabilizes the shoulder girdle, all while targeting the pectoral and tricep muscles.

  • After the athlete has earned the right to get under the bar and has progressed in the program to be able to bench press, I would Introduce the barbell bench to the athlete. The bench press is a full body movement. Remember, the client/athlete must EARN the right to use the barbell movements.
  • Anchor their feet first. I would teach them to have their toes in and ankles behind the knees, with the knees driving out. This helps create torque to help keep the athlete stapled to the bench.
  • I would next instruct them to put their hands on the bar, with their eyes even with the barbell. I would cue them to MELT the bar with their hands, gripping the bar with one hand at a time. Stressing the importance of keeping the bar in their palm, not in their fingers.
  • After their feet and hands are set, I would next instruct them to retract their shoulders, “put them in your hip pockets”.  This will drive your chest up towards the bar, with a slight arch in their back.
  • Next I would stress breathing and bracing. Before the handoff I would instruct them to take a full deep belly breath, which will tighten their core and bridge tension in their lower body in the upper back and shoulders. Treat the unrack like a rep, let it settle, and breath again.
  • After the handoff, the starting position of the rep is right over the sternum. The athlete will not unlock their shoulders back/chest up position.
  • Create torque, screw the shoulders in. Cue the athlete to pull the bar apart towards their hips, which will engage their lats, with the elbows going down at at 45 degree angle. Be sure to make sure their wrists are straight.
  • Drive phase: Once bar touches the chest, without losing tension, I would instruct the athlete to perform a powerful leg drive, and drive the bar upward.
  • Full lockout: lockout the rep without pressing out of arch or losing a packed shoulder position.
  • Breath, RESET, and perform next rep.

I hope that this article gave you a better understanding of how to perform a proper bench press. Now you are ready to get out and bust through plateaus and get stronger than ever before.


Thank you for reading.