How to correctly perform a classic bench press on a horizontal bench

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With what shell can this exercise be done. What muscles does it develop. Typical errors and a description of the correct technique. Options for its execution.

Each athlete knows that the horizontal bench press is the basis for the athlete, without which it is difficult to count on the result. Exercise is distinguished by its effectiveness and versatility. The fact that in the role of a tool (load) the use of both dumbbells and a bar is allowed also makes a variety. In the article we will pay attention to key issues – the technique of execution, the main mistakes of execution and the secrets of improving your bench performance. So that “sit down” more conveniently.

What do you need to know?

Bench press is one of the most popular and popular exercises. For many athletes, working with the barbell on a horizontal bench is the ability to pump chest muscles and increase overall strength. It’s enough to go into any rocking chair, and everywhere there will be the same picture – a whole group of people near the bench for a bench press.

Many beginners who take the first steps are advised to start with this exercise. Naturally, they listen to the advice and play a significant role in the bench press. The only problem is that the execution technique leaves much to be desired. Improper position of arms, barbells (dumbbells), abuse of back lifting, irrational expenditure of energy – all this in the best case reduces the effectiveness of classes, in the worst – it can lead to injury. This is why execution technique plays a key role for the bench press on a horizontal bench.

Main types

The classic bench press dumbbell (barbell) is a well-known and multi-joint exercise, suitable for the development of the pectoral muscles, increase in body weight and the development of strength. Most of the load is taken by the pectoral muscle. Deltoids and triceps are not idle.

barbell bench press

At the same time, there is a whole group of different types of bench press, each of which is effective in its own way. Consider the main options:

  1. Classical. A feature of this option is to work in a horizontal position. Starting position – holding the bar on outstretched arms and lowering until the moment you touch the chest. Further, the bar rises again to outstretched arms.
  2. In touch. In this case, at the moment the bar touches the chest, it goes up without a pause.
  3. In the frame. The task here is to take a position inside the power frame. The option is good if you have an injury and you need to remove part of the load from the damaged muscle. In addition, this method of execution is suitable in the absence of a partner who could insure.
  4. On Smith’s simulator. With the help of a special design, you can do a whole group of classical exercises, and also a bench press. A feature of the simulator is the vertical fastening of the neck in special guides. Your task is to establish the necessary weight and perform the necessary exercise (on or without a bench).
  5. On an incline bench. This embodiment is the ability to earn extra relief on a bench mounted at a slight angle. In this way, you can work out the upper or lower muscle groups. The higher the athlete’s head, the greater the load on the upper chest. If you place your head below the level of the legs, then the lower chest muscles are pumped more.
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The execution technique can vary in grip width:

  • with a broad version, the middle part receives the greatest load;
  • with a narrow grip – the inside of the pectoral muscles and triceps is pumped.

Major execution errors

Despite the simplicity of the bench press, the performance technique of many athletes suffers greatly. Consider the main mistakes with the horizontal bench press and dumbbell:

  1. Low quality workout. It is believed that muscle warming should be carried out already during training, and additional warm-up is a waste of time. In fact, the opposite is true. If you regularly ignore the warm-up and load poorly warmed muscles, then the injury is guaranteed. Therefore, give at least 3-5 minutes to the lumbar and shoulder girdle, because it is on them that the main load from the dumbbells and the bar will fall.
  2. Mistakes in the grip. Many beginners do not know how to grab the bar correctly – grab it with your thumb or not. The technique here is simple. If you need to lift a lot of weight, then correctly do the exercise with a closed grip (purely for safety reasons). In other cases, open grip is allowed.
  3. Removing the bar from the racks in the home. It would seem that everyone does just that. First, remove the neck, and then perform the exercise. In fact, such manipulations carry a health risk. The likelihood of injury increases at times. What is the outcome? Before doing the exercise, invite an assistant and ask him to pull the bar.
  4. Pose bridge. The most difficult task in the bench press is spinning the bar. With a lack of strength, any manipulations are used (including back deflection). The logic of this technique is understandable – the amplitude of movement is reduced and the process of performing the exercise is simplified.
  5. Loner. Not everyone comes to the hall with their friends and acquaintances. And forgiving someone’s help is somehow not handy. Drop your complexes. You can be a hundred times confident in your abilities, but when the spin begins, you can simply not pull the weight of the bar. And then one cannot do without the help of a partner.
  6. Incompetence assistant. Another situation is possible when the assistant is there, but he cannot provide assistance correctly. The reason is commonplace – the lack of necessary knowledge and experience. In this situation, the partner can only do harm. So be careful.
  7. Spring loaded equipment. Often beginners use the “trampoline” technique when the bar is literally knocked out by the chest. In this case, spinning is easier to do, because part of the distance the bar has already passed. The danger of such a performance is a high risk of getting microcracks in the ribs.
doing exercise

How to do the exercise?

Lifting dumbbells or barbells on a bench should be carried out with strict observance of technology (we have already seen this). Let’s figure out how to perform the exercise.

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Before you get down to business, you must understand the intricacies of our physiology and the features of muscle work. So, when doing a bench press with dumbbells or a bar, several muscle groups are connected to the work, each of which does its job:

  1. The main assistants are the “movers” of our body. This also includes another category of muscles – antagonists that help move limbs.
  2. The second group is stabilizers. Their task is to assist in the performance of one or another exercise, fix the posture and correctly position the body parts when performing the approach.

Understanding which muscles, and in what cases work when performing an exercise, you can improve the technique many times. If you do the exercise correctly, then the risk of avoiding injuries is much higher.

dumbbell bench press

When doing the bench press, proceed as follows:

  1. Lie down on the bench correctly. The overall outcome of the work largely depends on what position you take. Feet should be shoulder width apart and fixed firmly to the floor. It will be ideal if you push them into the floor with maximum effort. Next, tighten the buttocks and thigh muscles (their task is to slightly raise the body from the sunbed). Doing a spin is allowed to bend a little in the lower back, fixing this position for the duration of the approach.
  2. How to tackle the bar? For beginners, the best option is to work with a wide and closed grip. Many rods already have special notches by which you can determine the correct position of the hands. The only problem is that the marks are for standard guys, so you should not focus heavily on them. Fix the neck as close to the base as possible (“stalling” to the fingers is prohibited). The compression of the bar (dumbbell) should be sufficient to hold the shells. The bench press must be done in one plane.
  3. The position of the bar. When lowering the neck, many are guided by some conditional point on the chest. In fact, it is enough to draw an imaginary line uniting the elbows. The closeness of the bar to the face largely depends on the width of the breeding of the latter. The bar needs to be lowered at a low speed, and spin is done much faster. At the bottom point, make a short pause (about 1-2 seconds).
  4. Where to look? An important point is the position of the head and the direction of the gaze. When performing the exercise, do not tear your head from the sunbed. Before you remove the bar, try to maximize strain on the neck muscles and lower your shoulders. The head should be laid back a little. It is necessary to look at the central part of the neck, and not on the sides.
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Execution Options

Now you know how to do the exercise. We proceed to consider options for execution:

  • narrow grip. In this case, a shift in emphasis is made in relation to the study of triceps. The distance between the palms is about ten centimeters from each other. The elbows are lowered down or spread apart (this does not really matter);
  • reverse grip. Turn your palms towards you and grasp the bar. With this implementation, the emphasis is shifted to the upper chest, and the load on the muscles increases;
  • back bench. Work “upside down” allows you to more load the lower part of the pectoral muscles and reduce the overall amplitude of the exercises;
  • using dumbbells. In this case, dumbbells are used instead of the bar.


Bench press (dumbbell) on the bench is an effective, time-tested and relatively safe exercise. The main thing is to strictly observe the technique of its implementation. Finally, here are some tips to increase your working weight:

  • strengthen your legs (squat with a barbell, do deadlift);
  • develop back muscles;
  • work clearly and take your time when doing the exercise;
  • exercise triceps.

Peter Roberts

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