Even though you probably already know it, I want to specify that barbell bench press is the main exercise for mass and strength development of the entire chest muscles.
With this exercise the use of triceps is really emphasized, and also shoulders are involved.
This is what makes it an upper body compound exercise.
Barbell Bench Press Details
PRIMARY MUSCLE: Chest
SECONDARY MUSCLES: Triceps, Shoulders
EQUIPMENT: Flat Bench, Barbell
INITIAL POSITION: Lie on a flat bench and grasp the barbell with grip that is wider than your shoulders but not too much. It should allow your forearms to be vertical when the barbell is lowered. Keep your back flat on the bench and your feet stable on the ground.
MOVEMENT: Slowly lower the bar almost to the point where it's touching your chest, then lift it extending your arms but not completely, don't block your elbows at the end of the extension but keep them a little bit bent and then repeat the movement.
BREATHING: Inhale while you lower the bar (negative phase of the exercise) and exhale while you push up the bar.
TIPS and ERRORS: If you use heavy weights it may happen that you arch your back while you lift the bar. That is really bad and dangerous for your back. The weight is just too heavy for you. Don't ever lower the bar and touch your chest, and maybe use that technique to help you "bounce" up the bar. Don't even extend your arms completely because you may injure your elbows, plus you would lose tension on the muscles.
I see many big guys that want to impress everybody with their strength by charging the barbell with insane heavy weights...
...does that impress me...?
No, it just drives me nuts.
Because when they do that they arch their back in a scary way to be able to lift the bar, basically they just make contact with the bench with their butt and shoulders!
Doing the barbell bench press with such heavy weights and in such a poor form will sooner or later injury their back...and that will mean big troubles!
When I do the barbell bench press I like to keep my feet on the edge of the bench because it allows me to stay flat on the bench with my back and I don't risk to arch it.
If You Can...Use a Spotter
I don't really like the moment when I have to take the barbell from the rack.
It's positioned behind your shoulders line and I waste precious energies trying to grasp the bar in that uncomfortable position, with little balance and the risk of injuring my shoulders.
Of course that happens when I load heavy weights...not when I warm up.
That's why I think it's always a good idea to call someone to spot you, someone that can help you take the bar from the rack and reposition it at the end of your set.
You shouldn't need a spotter to help you execute the barbell bench press, otherwise you don't get the full benefits.
Load the weight that you can lift man, if it's too heavy that it requires a spotter than just step back and try using a lower weight.
There's no point in adding weight if you can't lift it.
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