Bench Press (Barbell)

Bench Press (Barbell) Muscle Image
Performance Description: 
  1. Begin by lying on a bench.
  2. Grip the bar overhand and wider than shoulder-width.
  3. Lower the weight in a controlled manner to the nipple line, exhaling throughout the movement. (It is conventionally thought best to pause briefly at the bottom of the movement and not to rest the weight on your chest).
  4. Press and extend the arms, while exhaling throughout the movement.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4. (Sets should generally fall between 3 to 6 with 6-12 repetitions).

Various Methods of Exercise: Barbells, Dumbbells, Machines, or Cables

Video: 
Primary Muscle(s): 
Chest (Pectoralis Major)
Chest (Pectoralis Minor)
Secondary Muscle(s): 
Chest (Pectoralis Major: Clavicular 'Upper' Head)
Shoulders (Deltoid: Anterior)
Triceps (Triceps Brachii: Long Head)
Triceps (Triceps Brachii: Medial Head)
Tertiary Muscle(s): 
Biceps (Coracobrachialis)
Serratus (Anterior)
Further Clarification: 

Barbell bench press primarily works the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles. In addition, the triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, clavicular head of the the pectoralis major, serratus, and coracobrachialis of the biceps are worked.

Things To Look Out For: 

As with any pressing motion, your elbows are susceptible to injury. The best way to avoid injury, as always, is proper form. Remember to not "lock out" your elbows in the extended position, especially if you believe you are susceptible to such injuries. This means that before you press to the point where you cannot press any further, stop - that is, keep an ever-so-slight bend in your elbow at the top point (full extension) of the movement. This won't be a concern for everybody because as was discussed earlier, everybody's body is unique in make up. So, if you aren't experienced enough to determine if this motion is a possible point of injury, just don't do it. Refraining from complete flexion by just a fraction will not detract from you training or overall strength and may very well prevent an unnecessary and possibly long-lasting injury.

A false grip - that is, a grip where the thumbs are not wrapped around the bar - can provide additional power and enable more weight to be lifted. However, a potential consequence of using this grip could be injury. If the hands are sweaty or form falters the weight may fall at the peril of you or others. Many claim that it is more comfortable to hold the bar in this manner, but for most a false grip begs for wrist hyperextension and falling weight injuries. Unless you are a professional, a false grip should prove unnecessary.

Level: 
Beginner
Exercise Position(s): 
Lying
Myth Busting: 

This myth pertains to women. A common myth that has propagated over the years is that doing incline presses can tone the breasts, and thereby prevent sagging. This is false. Breasts are fat - more exactly, they are comprised of adipose tissue, which is a sort of connective tissue. However, as is obvious, the more lean and healthy an individual is, the more likely they are to be pleased with the aesthetics of their appearance and overall feeling of well being.

Exercise Variations: 
Considered An Exercise In The Following Categories: