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Flat Barbell Bench Press - Exercise for the Muscles of the Chest



Have a look at some of the articles published in previous issues of BetterU News...

How To Do The Perfect Bench Press Rep

How To Effectively Work and Build the Upper Chest

Training The Stretch - A Stretch Position Superset That Will Pile on Muscle

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Flat Barbell Bench Press

Home -> Exercises -> Flat Barbell Bench Press

Primary Muscles Worked: Description:
Pectoralis Major (and minor) The large muscles of the chest
Secondary Muscles Worked: Description:
Anterior Deltoids The front heads of the shoulder muscles
Triceps Brachii The muscles along the backs of the arms.

The Flat Barbell Bench Press is one of the most common exercises used in the gym. It is used to work the large Pectoralis muscles of the chest.

How to do Flat Barbell Bench Press:

  • Lie down on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Take a medium grip on the bar using the smooth rings as a guide. Generally, a good rule-of-thumb is to place your middle finger on the rings.
  • Experiment with grip widths until you feel comfortable then remember where that grip is.
  • Take the bar off the rack and hold it out at arms-length.
  • Lower it slowly to the nipple line then press up in a slight backward arc so that the bar finishes approximately over your face.
  • You should inhale as you are lowering the bar and exhale as you are pressing up.
Top Position of the Flat Barbell Bench Press

Where to bring the bar:

Bottom Position of the Flat Barbell Bench Press
  • On the flat bench, you should bring the bar to the point where the breastbone ends (for most people).
  • Always try to keep your forearms vertical. If they are tilted at a large angle you will not get the most efficient push on the weight.
  • To determine your proper grip, using just the bar, lower it to your chest and look at your forearms. They should be vertical and directly under your wrists.
  • Keep your wrists straight. Don't cock them back or allow them to twist during the exercise. This causes undue stress on the wrist and reduces power in your shoulders, chest and arms.

  • Grip the bar firmly so that it doesn't roll out of your hands and remember to always use collars to prevent the weights from sliding off. This especially important when you are first learning the exercise as you may have difficulty with balancing the bar. Weights sliding off the bar can cause injury to yourself and others.

Tricks for Performing Flat Barbell Bench Press:

  • Try to imagine the bar as an immovable object and push yourself down and away from it rather than pushing the bar up and away from you. This will increase your pushing power with a simple change in mindset.

Common Errors in the Flat Barbell Bench Press:

  • Bouncing the weight off the chest - always lower the weight under complete control. Allow it to touch your chest then push off. Do not let it rest on your chest and do not bounce the bar off. This can not only damage your rib cage but also reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.

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