Hey, everyone! Welcome back to another installment of “Finding Fitness.” Today we will be taking a closer look at the bench press and how to set yourself up for the best press you can do.
Remember to grab a water bottle and a phone to record yourself as you go through this movement. As always, make sure you are cleared with your medical provider before performing any type of exercise.
I know what you are picturing: You’re at your gym and you see an empty bench. Looking around nervously, you don’t want people to ridicule you about your form, weight and approach to this exercise.
Bench press is probably my favorite strength exercise to perform. There is something primal about pushing weight off your chest and to the air. Hopefully by the end of reading this, you will feel more comfortable and confident to bench press at your gym.
Start by adding weight to the bar and always start with a lower weight. This way, you can warm up and get your form down before moving up in weight. Next, position yourself under the bar with your eyes looking straight up at the bar. Follow this by finding a comfortable grip on the bar above — some like narrower and some prefer wider. It’s a good idea to try the movement a couple different ways.
Next, lift your lower back up in an arch and bring your shoulder blades closer together, almost squeezing the bench beneath you. Plant your feet to the ground and push the floor away with them. As you do this, make sure your bottom stays planted to the bench. Next, unrack the bar and hold it above your chest.
Taking a deep breath, hold it and lower the bar down to right below the nipple line, keeping your elbow to lat distance at 45-60 degree angles. Upon reaching your chest, press the weight up and above you. The bar should go at a slight angle, not straight up and down.
As you press, you can also push harder into the floor with your feet. This is called leg drive and will assist as you push heavier weight. Repeat this movement for four sets of 8-12 reps.
As I mentioned, make sure you try out different distances of hand placement and find what works best for you.
That wraps up this week’s “Finding Fitness.” Hopefully, we gained some confidence and understanding of the bench. If you are looking for extra workout motivation, please feel free to follow my Instagram (@evouzumaki) and don’t be afraid to message me. I am always willing to help. Have a great week everyone and never give up!