Exercise of March- Bench Press- Blog

Primary Movers: Focuses on the Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoids, Triceps and Abdominals.

Technique:

  • Lie on a flat bench in a supine position.
  • Ensure the Bar is racked horizontally aligned with the collarbone.
  • The bar should be racked at a height which the participant can reach with bent elbows.
  •  Place feet flat on the floor if able to reach, if not place on an elevated platform.
  • Place edge of the thumb at the edge of the rough inner section of the bar and spread hands out, ensure they are an even distance.
  • Brace the abdomen and push the arms into a straight position (away from the face, towards the lower pectorals).
  • Bend the elbows and bring the bar down to the chest and repeat.

Tips:

  • The elbows should be fully extended at the end of the movement and the bar should also touch (but not bounce off) the solar plexus (upper rib cage).
  • Ensure the back in pressed into the bench throughout the movement. Avoid over-arching when the movement becomes challenging.
  • Make sure the shoulders are retracted (held back) throughout the upward phase of the movement.

 

To avoid injury:

  • Only load weight onto the bar which is comfortable or is slightly heavier than you have achieved previously.
  • Ensure safety bars are stationed at the appropriate height for protection in case you are unable to rack the weight or need to drop it.
  • Make sure there is somebody to provide assistance in case the weight becomes too challenging to continue.
  • Warm up performing Bench Press’s with light weight and increase until you reach the weight you are hoping to achieve. This will warm up the relevant muscles, which is crucial for this exercise.

Why you should include the Bench Press in your workout:

Bench Press is classed as a staple exercise. This means it is a fundamental part any resistance based routine. It is a compound exercise which means it works multiple muscles at once.  This reduces the amount of time training as performing a number of exercises to target individual muscles can be time consuming. It is also a functional exercise as it mimics movements performed in everyday situations.

Adaptations when Bench Pressing:

  • Number of repetition depending on strength goal:
Goal Repetitions Sets Rest Period
Strength 1-6 5 – 8 2 ½- 5 minutes
Strength and Size 8-12 3 60-90 seconds
Endurance 12 and above 2 – 3 30 seconds

 

  • Tempo of repetitions:

The speed which you perform you repetitions can also make a difference to the overall outcome. Generally performing repetitions at a slow and controlled pace applies greater force within the muscle which overtime can lead to greater muscular gains.

 

  • Varying your style of sets:

1)      Supersets – performing different variations (incline or decline) of Bench Press during rest periods.

2)      Pyramid Sets – Increasing or decreasing the weight with each consecutive set, ensuring rest is taken between.

3)      Strip Sets – Continually reducing the weight loaded when exhaustion is reached. Unlike Pyramid Sets, there are no rest periods.

Health Benefits of the Bench Press:

  • Increases upper body, chest and triceps strength.
  • Excellent for increasing lean muscle mass and fat metabolism.
  • Know to be an excellent assistance exercise for an array of sports.
  • Increases functional strength for everyday and sporting movements.
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