Although it's one of the most popular exercises in the weight room, the Bench Press is sometimes misrepresented as the ultimate measure of strength. It is not that, but the exercise is a valuable tool for developing your upper body.
The Bench Press engages many muscles—specifically the pecs, delts and triceps—making it an effective multi-joint exercise. In addition, your core and stabilizer muscles must engage to control the heavy weight.
The primary disadvantage of the Bench Press stems from its popularity. Some people spend too much time trying to improve their Bench, forgetting that other parts of the body must be worked as well.
Anyone who performs the Bench should equally work their back muscles with pulling exercises, such as the Inverted Row, to develop balanced strength. Also, you can make the Bench more applicable to and functional for sports by focusing on bar speed instead of the amount of weight lifted. This improves your ability to apply power—maximum strength in the shortest amount of time possible—so you can successfully overmatch opponents.
Watch the video above of NBA Superman Dwight Howard performing the Bench Press.
- Lie with back on bench
- With arms extended, grip barbell slightly wider than shoulder width
- Keeping low back on bench and elbows to sides, slowly lower bar to chest
- Explosively drive bar back up until arms are straight
- Repeat for specified reps