How To Do A Proper Bench Press

As I have alluded to in several previous articles, I feel that people should have a base in calisthenics before they begin lifting weights—in other words, if you can’t lift your own body you have no business lifting a weight. And the numerous articles I have written on the Convict Conditioning series of calisthenics will have given you that base if you have done the exercises contained therein faithfully. And thus it is now time to begin a regimen of weight training.

Weights Versus Machines

Free weights are, simply put, better than machines. For not only do the free weights allow your body to move in its natural and full range of motion, it also trains the muscles and CNS to work as a cohesive unit (hence the name “motor unit” to describe the cooperation of neurons and muscle fibers), which will of course make you stronger than the man who has merely made his muscles big and strong. And it is here, with all this talk of motor units and multiple muscle groups working in unison, that we can begin to analyze the humble bench press.

A Bench Overview

If I had to do a workout consisting of just two exercises, I—and most fitness gurus worth their salt—would say “The deadlift and any sort of press.” Those two combined will work the majority of muscles in your body. For today, I have deigned to do the bench press, mainly because it’s the only one I already had footage of myself doing.

The bench press will develop the pectorals, triceps, and shoulders predominantly, with some auxiliary work done for the forearms and hands. While I feel it is not the be-all-and-end-all-of upper body workouts (mainly because the overhead press is more likely to be something you’ll use in a practical real life situation), it is advocated by power athletes like Olympic level shotputters. Or, in the words of Pavel Tsatsouline, “For all the debate over the usefulness of the bench press, if you met someone with a 600 pound bench press, would you want to take a punch from them?”

serratus abdominus

The bench press, like any lift worth doing, is one that has a julienne of variations to it: close grip, wide grip, different types of bar, incline, decline, one handed, etc. But for our purposes today, this article will strictly deal with the standard, shoulder width bench press with a “closed grip.” It will serve most of your pectoral training needs, particularly when done in conjunction with other upper body exercises (as a side note, I only do the standard bench press, since unlike your average “upper body day every day” gym stereotype, I have a day job and thus time is of the essence).

Like most exercises, there are a couple of constants common to all types of bench press regardless of the variation being performed. The first is that the bar must GENTLY touch the chest before going back up. Gentleness is the key for reasons that are so obvious, I don’t think they have to be gone over.

Secondly, throughout any type of bench press, the feet should be pressing down hard on the floor, causing the back to slightly arch-and I emphasize SLIGHTLY. This will give you a little bit of a “boost” in your lifting and enable you to lift a few pounds more than you could have otherwise thanks to the previously detailed magic of proprioceptive muscular tension.

How To Do A Bench Press                                                  

With all that being said, this section will then go over how to actually do the standard bench press. The first step is, of course, to find a weightlifting bench, characterized by the little hooks for a bar, and likely a bar as well.

weight bench

Once you have found the bench, place the bar on the top rung of platforms, and place yourself under the bar, approximately so the bar is directly over the top of your pectoral muscles. Placing the bar on its highest setting will make starting the exercise easier, rather than expending effort on something that is not actually part of the exercise.

tricep pic

Yours truly warming up with 205 pounds. My max is 225 (or rather, it was, before my car accident put me on the shelf)

The bar can be held with a variety of grips, but for beginners I would advocate just a regular fist grip, also called the “closed grip.” Just hold the bar naturally, with the four fingers around the bar and the thumb clenching the fingers. Let the hands find the position they want to find, push down hard with your feet to arch your back, and then push up with your arms and hold the bar over your head.

NOTE: The bench press is the only exercise that I would advocate having a partner or spotter with you, for the obvious reason that failing a bench press leaves an unliftable weight planted firmly on your chest.

open grip

An open grip bench, note that the thumbs are not wrapped around the bar and fingers

Once you’ve lifted the bar into the start position, keeping the feet pressing throughout the entirety of the exercise, lower the bar down in a smooth, controlled motion, touch the chest, and bring it back up to the start position.

The amount of repetitions and sets you do is your choice, but my personal preference is to use heavy compounds lifts to develop maximal strength, meaning: low sets, low reps, high weight (I feel that high repetitions of weights increases the risk of injury, particularly for beginners who haven’t mastered proper form). In contrast, I choose to develop muscular endurance with calisthenics.

And of course, good form with a lighter weight is preferable to half-assing a heavy weight.

Regardless of how many repetitions you choose to do, the bench press is an exercise you need to have in your gym repertoire.

Read More: 5 Bench Press Mistakes That Will Stall Your Progress

88 thoughts on “How To Do A Proper Bench Press”

  1. I see too many youngsters overdoing the bench press. Their upper bodies look disproportional and grotesque in relation to the rest. Legs like chicken with compulsory red trainers.
    I only use barbells on my feet – dead lift, squats and overhead press. That’s my routine in reversed order. Recently hit my two year target to do five reps of my body weight (90kg) in an overhead press – that is over my head. From now on, I’ll just slowly increase the weights by a kilo or two a month. Not bad for a 45 yo!
    Bench press does not do it for me. It does nothing to develop a core strength. Just biceps and chest to impress the girls.

    1. Never skip leg day.
      Nothing worse then chicken legs.
      But then again, I’m partial to legs and the lower body in general.

      1. “the lower body in general”
        You can just say men’s asses. We understand that kind of language here. 😉

    2. You don’t want to develop your mirror muscles bruh?
      In all seriousness, nothing gives you a nice proportional body like body-weight training…

    3. Not bad at all man. Actually, that’s excellent stuff. You do realize that just hitting your bodyweight for a one-rep max in overhead press is an accomplishment in itself, right?
      I realize he’s not a strength trainer, but check out Jeff Said trying to overhead press 185 at a bodyweight of [probably] 190 or so…(skip to 1:20) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eeXrH7hGPA
      I remember hearing him regret even attempting it because it was too taxing.

    4. Bench is not primarily a biceps exercise even though it helps front felt with shoulder flexion.
      Big legs create chafing and shit. Mine are bulky enough just from doing isometric holds to try for splits so I basically don’t train anything exeot calf raise because gastrocs don’t chafe.

    5. “I see too many youngsters overdoing the bench press. Their upper bodies
      look disproportional and grotesque in relation to the rest.”
      Ditto. Combine that with poor flexibility and you have a very characteristic look.
      “Recently hit my two year target to do five reps of my body weight (90kg) in an overhead press”
      Congrats! That’s a good job at any age.
      “Bench press does not do it for me. It does nothing to develop a core strength”
      There are some variations out there that would amaze you, but I see what you mean.

    1. Haha, nice. Strong legs are way more useful, and they’ll keep you mobile well into your old age. What good are 14-in pythons if you can’t run, walk, or even stand?

      1. I only have one python but its longer that 14 inches. I have to wrap it around my waist so I don’t trip on it.

      2. Strong arms let you move around with more options of unloading the spine which is good for elderly who pinch nerves. Leg strength also fades faster than grip during fasting.

      1. Awe come on, curls are great.
        It is my most humble opinion that Deadlift and Squat are the single most important and the only indispensable lifts.
        But there is nothing wrong with a bi and tri session. So what it is all for show and doesn’t add to anything like raw strength. having big arms is dope.

        1. Bis and tris go great after legs, bums and tums…
          Just kidding… 🙂
          The trouble is that curls aren’t really going to give you big arms. The bicep is a relatively small muscle. I would say that rather than do curls, use your precious time to do pull-ups instead. Works your lats, tris and bis among others and keep them in proportion.
          I know that PPs like the deadlift and squat but so many guys that I know that do those lifts complain of back, shoulder and knee issues. I recognise the benefits in strength but I think they need to be considered alongside the health risks.

        2. A fair enough comment. A serious of curls like 21’s, concentration curls, etc will not, as you say, give you really big arms. They will, however, add to the density which gives the appearance of larger arms and will extend (though temporarily) the peaks.
          Further, hammer curls turn out to be great for the forearms which winds up helping with stuff like deadlift grip.
          Pull-ups are the superior exercise and should never be neglected, but it’s not either or. You can do both. And curls can be fun. Not all training needs to be for the zombie apocalypse. Sometimes it is just fun to do curls.
          I am fortunate in that I have naturally thick arms. I max my curl at 135×2 (though, to be honest, the second on is usually fairly ugly)
          I know that deads and squats often go hand to hand with back pain. I have 2 herniated discs (L3 and L5). I feel pretty good right now, but yeah, it is true that going stupid heavy on those lifts often leads to injury.
          One thing I like to do is to put 155 on the bar and just rep it all the way out. 20-25 clean lifts maybe. Then take a walk around the gym and do it again. But there is just something excellent about hitting a big deadlift. It is more meditation than anything else. For me, when I go big, it is like the world goes away. I feel the lock out and the gym is gone, the music is gone, the pain is gone and I have a moment of pure peace and then when that weight goes down it is like I am woken up by the rumbling of the floor bringing the world back into focus. It really is a religious experience I do not get with any other lift.

        3. I actually found that doing squats/deadlifts/bent-over rows reduced my back pain over time.
          I have better stability now then before I seriously trained back and legs. My 0.02.

        4. Well like I say, if you enjoy it and its not hurting you, go ahead and do it. For me its an issue of time. So I must do the most time efficient routines. So if I had a wealth of time and valued big arms then yes I would do a bunch of curls and pull-ups which would be hugely effective for building great guns. Sadly though, I usually only have 30 mins in the gym at any one time so I have to economize.

      2. amendment: power cleans are the shit. My last one, however, almost got away from me. That was a few weeks ago and I have been a little gun shy about it since.

  2. Yeah Bench overkill definitely exists, but few things in life compare to the feeling after a hard chest workout.
    My beef with myself now is because I work out at home alone, I’ve been subconsciously leaning into the smith machine for that bit of added security when on your own – especially at the upper end of my weight range.

      1. The day my gym took out the smith and replaced it with another power rack I felt very proud to be a member.

    1. At the end of my chest routine, I use the smith machine to pump blood. I position myself under the bar so that they’re “guillotine” presses, then I press it out to failure for nine quick sets. I know that anyone who hasn’t seen what I was doing for the past hour and a half will think I’m a pussy for struggling with 100 lbs. on the smith machine. I like it because I can control the weight really well and go to failure with comfort while racking it even inches above my neck after failure.

        1. Haha, I’m actually having a hard time imagining it, but damn that’s getting a burn. I bet that you get some good benefits for boxing from that method… quite innovative in my opinion.
          When I was dinking around with boxing a while ago, the only thing I could think of was to hold 10 lb. dumbbells while shadow boxing and then going for endurance-time while holding those suckers straight in front of my chin and straight out sideways from my ears (I actually got up to a few minutes at a time with the 10 pounders before I ultimately dropped the exercise and started focusing on bodybuilding).

  3. Also, are you excluding the bar in your 225? Estimating from your pic, I’d have guessed you’d be in the upper 200s

    1. I was not excluding the bar.
      Like I say in the article, I was very much against bench pressing until about 7 months ago. I had worked up to 225 when I got in the car crash, Before that happened, my overhead press was 215 and my bench was 225 (kind of weird, I know, for the exercises to be so close to each other, but I had trained overhead for years before starting benching). I still think my shoulders are the strongest part of my upper body.

      1. Wow man, you had an OH press of 215? Is that with strict Mil form….aka, knees totally locked out? If so, that is beast. I find the OH press to be the most humbling of lifts. Despite my conditioning, strength and commitment to power lifting I could never get more than 145 for 3 reps before bending knees and getting a little boost.
        Now if we are talking about a push press when you push through your lower body I could def put up a higher number.

  4. From the look of the photo (seated at the bench), I would think you’d be benching 250+ on the regular.
    I have a range-y body type that’s best suited for cycling, surfing, basketball, running and tennis, among other sports, and I make sure to aim well over my weight and bench 200-210 at 10 reps during my unstructured gym routine (I go for strength and flexibility, not bulk). But the outward appearance of my arms/chest is nowhere near as muscular as the guy in that photo.

    1. I’m the same. My arms are 42 long, which is not suited for bench press. I’ll take my 210 x 5 and keep doing it. Plus when I push up to 225 my elbows flare in pain.

        1. LOL. Standing, they fall to about three inches above the knee. I got long monkey arms, just like gramps. His were longer. We’re not skinny, though, just long armed.

    2. I have the exact body type as Lars and the triceps can be deceptive. I bench about the same. I always found bench press to be more of a triceps exercise whereas dumbbell press is more efficient for chest.

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    1. The dildo Hover Board…for Strong, independent, forever- single, ladies everywhere… It’s not the best idea to place a long vertical rod between ones legs on a Hoverboard… I bet crashing on one of those things would be pretty nasty.

      1. For the strong independent woman who can’t afford the dildo hoverboard I suggest removing the seat from their bicycle.

    2. One of the comments is a pure gem:
      >> I can see it already, shes gonna orgasm and lose control, literally. Then shes gonna cum all over the sidewalk and some poor childs gonna slip on her vaj juice and into the road where drivers will swerve to avoid the child and crash into a tanker carrying gas. It will explode and blow up the new world trade centre and its 9/11 all over again. <<

  5. I was literally showing my GF how to do the bench press this afternoon. She did about 20 reps with the bar alone. I was slightly impressed but cautioned her to pull back — I don’t want to see her voluminous ladypillows shrink under a dense pack of muscle.

  6. An article upon benching by a boy that cant press more than two plates? Lol. This is what the editors at returnofkings think is an article worthy of publishing? Note to the author: Until you can pause bench at least 315, shut your mouth, and leave the advising to those of us who know how to perform and not simply talk about performance, aka, feminism.

    1. I am an authority on exercise because when I started out I literally could not bench the bar. I trained myself up to 225 without ever once injuring myself. Also, in that pic I weighed 190.
      But then, why am I arguing with a guy who upvotes himself?

      1. Lol. You roll with that “I’m an authority on exercise because” of blah blah and my friends and I will keep on laughing at you punks thinking you’ve “accomplished” something. God you returnofkings guys are the best entertainment I’ve ever found.

        1. Not really sure what you’re trying to get at. What specific part of his article do you take issue with? Where was his advice or information inaccurate? Sounds to me like you’re just a 14 year old trying to sound badass but in reality sounding like a chump. Point out where the author is wrong or go troll elsewhere.

      2. Ignore dumbies. Internet trolling game is weak with this one. At no point does he say anything about the article……way to go training yourself up to 225 and good advice here.
        I would have liked to see you go into more grips and what they target…like my favorite bench, the close grip, which really burns the tris out and gives a great fullness to the arm.

      3. Your celebration of 225 is equivalent to a 400 lb woman losing 100 lbs. It’s just laughable. Notice that you declared yourself an authority along with the use of the word literally. There are articles on this website that roast women for doing such and here you are low testosterone ovary sporting lookin’ ass doing the same thing. Top all of this with the fact that you each have made THOUSANDS of comments according to your profiles. Thousands of fucking comments. Have fun boys. I’ll see you in the weight room and when you’re in there, people like me, our very presence will make you realize you’re a bitch. Have fun in second place losers.

        1. 1) I was not using “literally” hyperbolically
          2) I have only ever made 227 comments in all the time I’ve been on Disqus
          3) There’s documentation of me doing one handed pushups, one leg squats, and numerous other exercises. You, on the other hand, have nothing
          4) You’re shitposting, and thus you’re banned.

        2. ahh don’t ban him,ignore him !!! Fuck sake enough of the internet is ruined by people not being able hear others opinions without banning them. Not saying he was making sense but he wasnt worth the reply nor the banning. You’ve only made 227 comments and two of them were on that arsehole.

  7. You’ve either got good shoulders for benching, or you don’t. I can only decline Bench, if I regular bench, it’s snap crackle pop in my shoulders.

    1. You should just do standing overhead presses then. Decline is not only dangerous but one of the most pointless lifts.

    2. Second this. I am an excellent deadlift and a more than competent squat. However, due to ostero arthritis in my AC Joint (commonly called, of all things, weightlifters shoulder) I experience discomfort when Bench Pressing. My form is very good and I can rep out 225 between 3-5 times depending on the day, but I work through pain for it.
      My current raw score is 1005 and most of that is due to my ability to dead very heavy.
      I find that I experience less pain in the decline like you. Also, I have less pain when I bench with dumbbells.

      1. Nice score. From what ive heard, is that the ” hammer curl” wrist position is the ideal form to press with for the shoulders , and that the standard bench grip places torque on the shoulder joints. Dumbells or those funky hammer grip barbells would allow a press in the hammer curl position , and the shoulder joint should align more comfortablely. Im gonna experiment with different elbow flare and tuck on standard barbelll, and maybe that may help.

        1. Thank you. I recently lowered my score. I was holding onto a score involving my all time heavy lifts so I was posting 1150. However, there is no chance in the world I will ever dead or squat as heavy as I did 5 years ago. I am not even going to try. So I recalibrated my raw score to be a realistic measure of my current lifts rather than all time. I just felt it was more honest.
          Hammer curl is good for the shoulders because the weight is somewhat displaced through the forearms. This is also good for the for arms. Also, supinating curls, I find, are an excellent exercise.
          I have played with all sorts of elbow flare and tuck on the bench. I find that, after all my tweaking, something along the lines of average is what is best for me.
          Funny thing, I saw a guy lifting and he was so bowed I thought he would break. I think he was benching 115 at the time. Lol.

        2. 1150 was a good score . 115…lol, well I guess it’s a start…What I actually meant with hammer curl, was describing the wrist position when benching .Generally everyone bench’s with the wrist and forearm in Pronation but putting the wrist in the Neutral position( I called it the Hammer curl position, because I forgot its actual term) when benching may alleviate unnecessary torque in Some peoples shoulders created by the pronated grip when grasping a barbell, of course a Neutral position of the wrist and forearm cannot grip the standard barbell, so dumbbells or a Multi Grip Bar has to be used to bench press in the Neutral forearm and wrist position.

        3. 115 smh. Yeah, that wouldn’t be so great. 1150 was a great score, I just will never put numbers like that up again. I am too old and too injured to try to max my body out.
          I see what you mean by the grip. The “hammer” portion confused me. I have tried a suicide grip where the thumb is over the bar rather than under it and do some reverse grips at ties.

  8. I’ll say this. I will never tell anyone not to train the bench press if they enjoy it but in general I recommend against it. Fundamentally, it forces your arms and shoulders into an unnatural position under loaded tension. This is a recipe for disaster long term. I honestly think you are better off doing press-ups.
    Without context, Pavel’s comment seems to run against his usual philosophy. A man who trains punches is going to hit a lot harder than a man who trains bench. I have fought against power-lifters. They do have naturally great strength but they simply cannot move. You can step all around them kicking and punching them. In fact, you have to go easy on them.
    The other thing that confuses me about Pavel’s comment is that he comes from the land of one of the greatest and most fundamental martial arts, Systema. In Systema you are taught how to punch with organ liquifying force. No joke. I have a friend who has been “tapped” by a master in Systema and walked away with permanent organ damage.
    No benching required.
    By all means bench if you want to but do not allow yourself to fall into a false sense of security thinking that you can now fight or that there are not inherent risks to your health.

    1. yep, it took me years of benching to realise it just isnt a sensible movement, Dips and Military presses are better as they allow the shoulder blades and musculature in the upper back to move freely…..when you force yourself under a heavy weight with your back and shoulders immobilized, if something has to give it’s usually the pec/shoulder/elbow/bicep of the weaker arm/side…..it’s super hard to bench evenly….and you can’t bail on the weight like with many other lifts, not without being crushed.
      rotator cuff snaps, pec tears, impingements, bicep tendonitis the list of injuries aqcuired by seasoned bench pressers is numerous. They also fundamentally decrease felxibility of the shoulders, olympic lifters mostly avoid bench pressing like the plague it can literally prevent them lifting overhead. when i benched regularly i used to get shoulder pain even on other movements like pullups, dips, push ups….since i stopped benching i can enjoy them pain free.

      1. Really well said. I have actually never been able to do heavy compound lifts. They always caused me serious problems. I suffered a serious back injury in my 20s from squats and that was with instruction. Some guys can get away with it for a while but its not for everyone.

    2. I have contrary opinions on systema. Almost would put it in the category of Krav Maga; some would consider these pseudo tacticool M.A. systems

  9. Talking about lifting one’s own weight, is lifting myself a couple of times, say 10x, from the stairs (they are open between the steps) a good exercise in its own right? I’ve been doing this for a while and got slightly stronger biceps but nothing spectacular looking.

    1. Are you talking about pullups? Yeah, those are an excellent exercise, which will work your shoulders, upper back, lats, biceps, forearms and grip.
      If this is the only exercise you’re performing, I’d caution you to incorporate some balance into your routine. Always think of what the opposite motion is to whatever you’re doing, and then do it unless you want to face any number of painful imbalances. In this case, I suppose the opposite would be dips… pullups and dips are a pretty good start to any strength/bodybuilding routine if you ask me. Throw in some lunges and then you’re all set.

  10. I don’t know if you should be holding yourself up as an authority on the bench press when you’re only doing two plates at 190 lbs. But then, this article was pretty light on details. For anyone interested, I’d recommend Lift Run Bang’s “developing your raw bench” series. Great articles with a lot of detail, and Paul Carter can move some serious weight.

  11. Confirmed chicken legs here:
    I have a physical deformity (left leg slightly shorter than my right, confirmed by physician), and because of that, have always shied away from ‘getting serious’ about my leg workouts.
    I do a few leg workouts here and there, but have never tried to seriously build muscle due to fears of back and/or knee injuries that could occur from things being off-balance/off-center.
    Anyone here have any tips?
    I kid you not… I’ve been searching google (not to mention all the youtube channels with personal trainers) for a year now looking for leg work outs tailored to this type of thing, but can’t find shit. Because of that… I’ve basically been ignoring legs but I know I need to start on them eventually.

    1. it really depends on the severity of the discrepency. It’s hard for me to recommend heavy squating when you seem so concerned….but there are plenty of things you could do.
      Lunges, single leg leg press, single leg squat(but they are HARD), single leg deadlift and stiff-leg deadlift, goblet squat, glute ham raise etc would all strike me as excersises that wouldn’t seem to be affected too much by your physical impairment.
      It may be possible for you to squat, deadlift heavy etc, but i couldn’t in good conscience recommend it. Those are my recommendations for worst case scenario wonkiness

      1. Thanks so much for the input…
        Lunges seem like a good go-to… I just keep hearing so much about the “big 3” exercises.
        Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been weight training for 10yrs. However, when I started, I was really into martial arts and was under the instruction of a sensei who liked that we would lift outside of the studio, but also told us not to go too hard on our legs so we could maintain mobility/flexibility.
        Dumb young me took that advice to the extreme and just never did legs at all… but maintained upper body fitness throughout.
        Going back to the big 3… I’ve seen what working on your chest/arms can do, so now I’m really itching to get started on dead lifting and squats, but want to do it in the safest way possible.
        Thanks again for the input… I’ll get started with those and see how it works out.

        1. I know dudes with massive legs who dont squat at all. Legs can respond good to higher volume as well, you dont even need to go crazy with the weights…i know guys with big leg who built them going high intensity and resistance on the stationary bike…no joke….keep in mind as well the single leg movements are legit, even athletes and bodybuilders with no issues do them.
          The single leg squat is done with only bodyweight, but if you can do these you are hardcore, i can squat a decent amount and can’t even do one.

        2. The largest quads I seen were Olympic cyclers followed by track throwers, powerlifters, wrestlers etc.

  12. Close grip bench press, Incline bench, Decline Bench press, Dips, Dumbells, floor press, military press etc the list of upper pushing movements that are safer(and in many cases more effective) than the standard flat bench is quite long…..
    Are you a powerlifter..? No?
    then there really isn’t a need to Bench press Heavy weights….EVER.

    1. No other pressing movement allows for the load and muscle activation of the bench press. It’s very useful for upper body strength, especially when supplemented with rowing or deadlifts. Yes, mil press is great, but doesn’t activate lats and is only 2/3 of benchable weight. Every movement has positives and drawbacks. But, when done properly (tight lats, propper grip, leg drive) it’s phenomenal. Squat, Bench and Deadlift are competition lifts for a reason.

      1. They are competition lifts because they are competition lifts……Thats the sport. A better question would be, is if those lifts are really the be all and end all why isnt every other sport just a Powerlifting contest?…..because other stuff matters more. You do realise they’ve done studies tracking the performances on the bench press at the NFL combine and the players careers and found the top benchers actually suck at football right?
        Weight isnt the only thing that matters…Overhead presses have greater range of motion, as do incline presses. You can move more weight on dips and decline presses but they have shorter range of motion….but if the shorter range of motion matters, why is bench press better than incline or military press because of more weight?….bench bros usually get their arguments mixed up.
        Sure flat benching is better for developing a good flat bench, Not rocket science. The debate is whether its better for building muscle mass and functional strength, and whether the associated risk of injury is worth it for the casual trainee. which is what the non-powerlifter cares about.

        1. 225 for reps is not a real test of maximal strength. Furthermore, these players may suck at football and only got to the combine because of the relative strength margin.
          As baseball player, I can say benching helps.

        2. A dude who can rep 225 on the incline or if he’s really strong, press it overhead, is going to be able to do it on the flat bench regardless…..even if it is just theoretically because he never actually flat bench presses. Pretending that they are completely unrelated movements is silly….and ignores the fact that many powerlifters wth massive benches spend more time doing Close grip bench presses, overhead presses, floor presses etc than they actually spend bench pressing, in an attempt to increase their bench. Plenty of powerlifters rarely bench press outside of maximum attempts.
          Even Bill Starr said the incline bench was better for athletes, and anyone who doesn’t military press as well as bench press, should do the incline bench instead of just flat bench. I give the bench press credit where its due, A great use for the Bench press is to overload the triceps, for instance to strengthen lockouts for strongmen and olympic lifters who press overhead, although CGBP can probably do it more safely and effectively.

  13. Most guys I see do these quick reps emphasizing power on the up stroke and then seem to completely forget about the down or try to get through it as quickly as possible. I found the biggest help to making strength gains quickly is emphasizing the negative portion of the rep. 4 seconds up, 10 seconds down. You can’t use as much weight with that long of a rep but reducing the velocity also lessens the cheating aspect from inertia, and reduces the risk of injury. I usually add a couple of cheat reps at the end that are purely negatives. Negatives done correctly really make your muscles work hard and seem to shock the body into growth. For pure negatives there is no “up” part to the lift at all; it’s all about trying to control the “down” portion. You know you’re at muscle failure when you can no longer control the movement of the weight. They were fairly popular back in the 90’s but I hardly ever seem them now. I know when I was really serious into lifting a few years ago it was negatives that really got me past a few long plateaus.

    1. well im sure there is plenty of pluses to the negatives as you have said but the point of exploding upwards is to generate power especially for people who train functionally and to fight. So if you spend too much on the negatives you just wont have the energy for the explosiveness. I would think its a matter of what you are looking for.

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