The bench press is regarded as a superior method to bring about improved muscle strength. This is because even though it is dedicated to targeting particular muscle groups, it works the entire body as a whole and involves complete body movement.
A basic bench press set includes a weight lifting bench, a barbell, and a set of weights. A bench press bar weight is about 20kgs, and for a beginner, it is recommended for one to first use a lighter representation such as a PVC pipe. This will enable you to learn the proper technique before moving on to bench press with weights.
Fitness experts also advise beginners to have a workout partner, who will double up as your spotter. A spotter is there to assist you as the lifter to start off the exercise, but not during the actual workout. They will help you re-rack the weight and also avoid any injury by watching you train.
Tips for Beginner Bench Press
It is worth noting that the most prevalent training injuries are caused by faults that include not keeping your body tight, bouncing the weight on your chest, incomplete reps, and improper form and posture.
An effective bench press routine will involve the following steps:
Keeping your body tight
This is an integral part of the bench press routine because it gives you a compact base that will give you more power for the upward drive. It stabilizes your body, preparing you for the lift.
Your neck, upper back, and buttocks should not lift off the fitness bench so as to result in curvature of the lower back. This gives your body a full range of movement during the exercise and contributes directly to your overall strength.
Squeeze your shoulders together while raising your chest to the bar. Your shins should be vertically beneath you with your feet planted firmly on either side of the bench. Combining these will effectively allow you to generate more power and drive for the lift.
Getting the right grip on the bar
Having proper knowledge of how to grip the bar will help you avoid injuries to the joints or your body caused by a falling barbell. The type of grip is also important because it will affect the muscle being exerted.
A wide grip is used mostly by powerlifters because it allows them to lift more weight. However, for a beginner, a narrower grip is recommended because it makes your forearms more vertical, as well as being the most secure movement for building strength.
Wide or narrow grips are a personal preference, but it is important to maintain vertical forearms that are perpendicular to the ground when lifting. This ensures a constant up and down movement with a solid line of support.
It is also advisable not to go for the thumbless grip on the barbell because it could cause damage to your wrists and other joints. The grip is unsafe: instead, you should go for the grip with your thumb around the bar. The bar should rest on the balls of your palm because this is the position that gives you the strongest grip and locked wrists.
Completing one rep
An average bench press session is based explicitly on the weight lifted, and the strength of the user. For example, it can be five sets of five reps each, but this value is determined by your experience, intensity, and also the advice of your trainer.
When you unrack the bar, it should be precisely above your shoulders. With a curving motion, lower it towards the lower part of your clavicles. The process of lowering and lifting should be a controlled motion so that you do not drop the bar on your chest. Ensure that your elbows are at a 45-degree angle and not pushed away from the body. This will help keep your body tightened and stable.
After completing your reps, ask your spotter to help you re-rack the bar if need be.
The bench press is a necessary part of any strength training program because it acts as a complete body movement that builds upper body strength as well as core muscles and balance. By tightening the back, legs, and hips during the movement, you are effectively transforming your body into a solid base.
For beginners, it is advisable not to train alone. This is because most movements in the gym can be dangerous, depending on the degree of complexity, or weight being lifted. Having someone to watch out for you and your form during the session will add correctness and motivation into the exercise.