Tip: Bench Press Basics

A few set-up and executions reminders for a solid, safe bench press.

The bench press is as common as it gets, but many lifters still make mistakes with their set-up and execution. Here are a few reminders:

  1. Set up so the bar is "handed off" to you. Have a spotter in place to assist.
  2. Think about externally rotating the bar or "bending the bar." This will allow you to engage your lats and triceps. This will also ensure you're using the intended primary movers (triceps/lats) and not putting undue stress on your shoulders.
  3. Take a big breath of air into your belly and hold it until concentric (lifting) motion is complete.
  4. Lower the bar in a straight line (to sternum) and press in a straight line.
  5. Feet are planted. As a rule of thumb, your knee should be lower than your hip. Your legs you should assist in the drive phase in which your hamstrings will be fully engaged. Your feet should never leave the floor.