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How To Do The Perfect Bench Press To Maximise Your Strength And Muscle Development
Learn the secrets to performing the perfect bench press, and send your muscle and strength development into the stratosphere.
Why is it that so many people are not aware of the correct way to perform one of the most popular exercises in the gym? If you don't do the Flat Barbell Bench Press properly, you will be missing out on the amazing results possible with this exercise. What I'm going to describe below will help to ensure that you do the exercise in the most efficient and productive way to gain amazing results. You will not need any extra equipment and, if you find it helps to see pictures of exercises, there's a link at the end of this article to pictures of the exercise being performed.
The perfect bench press rep starts without any weight on the bar!
Because the first thing you need to do is get your hand spacing on the bar right. Lie down on the bench, unracking the bar as usual. As you lower the bar to your chest, have a partner note the orientation of your forearms, which should be as close to vertical as you can manage at the bottom of the rep. With your partner's assistance, adjust your grip and remember their location by noting the position of your hands in relation to the smooth rings on the Olympic bar.
The reason for this adjustment is simple, the wider your hands are placed, the more of your push will be extended outwards, rather than upwards. By the same token, if your hands are too close together, the more energy will be extended inwards. You want your push to be directed as vertically as possible.
Now you can put some weight on the bar!
Lay back on the bench, with your feet planted firmly on the floor, knees at about an 80 degree angle. Do not place your feet on the bench, that will simply serve to destabilize you, which means that you will spend more power keeping yourself stable on the bench than pushing the bar upwards.
Now, remembering that perfect hand position, put your hands on the bar.
For maximum strength and stability, instead of placing your palms on the bottom of the bar, place them on the back of the bar (don't worry, there's a picture on the link for this). Then, without changing your grip, rotate the bar so that your palms are directly underneath it. You will feel as if you are locking your shoulders and the effect is to place your shoulders in their most strong and stable position.
As you perform the rotation I've just described, lift your torso slightly off the bench, forcing your shoulder blades together tightly.
The effect will be to push your shoulders backwards and puff out your chest, which will place your pecs in a position that gives them a more effective line of pull. It will also make your torso thicker, effectively reducing the distance you need to press the weight.
Remove the bar from the racks and tighten up the muscles of your torso.
Begin lowering the bar to a position where it is about even with the bottom of your breastbone - keeping the bar under complete control throughout. Think of your muscles as springs that are storing up the energy of that weight you are lowering, getting ready to recoil and explode the energy back out as you press the bar upwards. As you lower the bar, you should be inhaling.
Touch the weight lightly to your chest, but do not bounce it back up - this can cause injury to your ribs and/or breastbone.
Start to change the direction of the bar, beginning to press it up, driving with your legs. This technique is not often practiced, but the additional leg power really can help you to bench press more weight.
You should practice this technique with an empty bar before going on to perform it with weights. Remember the 80 degree leg position? Well, this technique is the reason for that. So, with an empty bar, lie on the bench and plant your feet firmly on the floor, knees at about 80 degrees. Lower the empty bar to your chest and, the minute you start to push the bar back up, push hard with your legs, as if you are trying to slide yourself up the bench. In fact, with the bar empty, you probably will have to slide yourself up the bench but, with weights in situ, your torso will be firmly fixed. This will have the effect of transferring your leg power through your body and into pushing the bar upwards. It's known as driving with your legs.
As you are raising the bar, you should be exhaling forcefully through your pursed lips, which will help to keep you stable on the bench.
Even if you struggle with pressing the weight keep your feet on the floor. If you lift them, you will break your base of power.
As you raise the bar, it should follow a slight backwards arc - moving from your lower rib cage and ending up over your face at the end of the rep.
Instead of allowing the bar to slow its movement through your known sticking points, try to drive the bar through that point without hesitating.
Power the weight through to lockout. There - the perfect rep. Now repeat it!
If you know that you have a tendency to move your feet around during bench presses, try placing 2.5lb weights on them. The aim of this is to make you aware of the movement of your feet and, if a plate falls off, you will know that you have moved your feet.
If you want to follow expert guidance and increase your your explosive power like never before, The Critical Bench Program is what experienced bench pressers use to consistently hit heavy weights. Click here now to visit the CriticalBench.com site…