Bench press is the best known and most popular exercise in strength training to build up the chest muscles. Bench press is an integral part of every training plan, both in bodybuilding and fitness. By varying the training weight and the associated number of repetitions, bench press can be used to achieve the most varied training effects. Bench press is a sub-discipline of powerlifting besides cross lifting and knee bends. Excessive strain on the chest muscles should be avoided in order not to provoke a torn muscle fibre in the chest.
- Large pectoral muscle (M. pectoralis mayor)
- Triceps (M. triceps brachii)
The athlete lies flat on the bench. In order to avoid back pain and incorrect loading of the spine, the legs should be at right angles. The feet stand on the bench and the toes point upwards.
The head also lies on the bench and the gaze is directed upwards. The weight is lifted out of the anchorage with arms stretched out. The width of the grip varies according to the training goal.
The weight is lowered downwards onto the chest muscle. After a short contact time, the weight is pressed against gravity back to the starting position. During this concentric phase the athlete exhales.
As already mentioned, the number of repetitions can be varied depending on the training goal. Further modifications are the inclination angle of the bench, and the use of free weights. During free weight training, both arms are used to press the weight in isolation, thus preventing one side of the body from doing more work.
However, this form of bench pressing requires a high level of coordination and requires a certain amount of training experience. Inclined bench press causes an increased training stimulus of the upper parts of the chest muscles. The steeper the bench is set, the more parts of the shoulder muscles are involved.
A further variation is the width of the grip on the barbell bar. The narrower the grip is chosen, the more work the triceps (M. trzeps brachii) does. With the wide grip, the chest muscles are stimulated more.