The reasons why you need to bench press
As common as it may sound, do you realize how important the bench press is for you? Today, it is considered a very popular exercise in most fitness centers. It has become so common that first time gym visitors engage in the bench press without proper guide. This has contributed to the progressive decline in the importance attached to this lift. Should it be like this for the bench press? It is time to appreciate the bench press more. There are reasons it has to remain in your repertoire. To justify this you need to understand its roll in your muscle development as well as its extra functions. Let us begin with looking at the various muscles of your torso which are put in action when engaging in this exercise one after the other:
The pectoralis major muscles: This special upper limb muscle is one of the prime locomotors in the bench press exercise. During the bench press, these muscles, also known as the pec muscles, are called into action. They are stressed to bring your arm across your entire body including the weight. The pec muscles remain active for a longer period after you are finished.
The triceps muscle: The triceps, also known as the triceps brachii, is a three-headed muscle which is located at the back of the pectoral limbs. The muscle runs from the shoulder down to the elbow. During the bench press, these muscles are stressed to lock out the elbow. This usually happens at the start of the bench press and its return to the rack. This exercise leaves these muscles flexible and active for other functions.
The biceps muscle: The biceps, also known as the biceps brachii, is located at the ventral position of the pectoral limbs. The biceps brachii muscles are just directly opposite to the triceps and are involved in bending the elbow. Similarly, during the bench press, these muscles play an important role in controlling the barbell as you lower it down to your chest.
The quadriceps: The quadriceps acts as secondary muscles in the bench press. During the ench press or squat, the quadriceps gives the body extra support and prevents you from tipping to the left or right as you have your feet firmly planted on the floor.
The latissimusdorsi muscles: These big muscles are located at both sides of your back separated by the spinal ridge. These muscles finely overlap appearing like wings and very involved in controlling your shoulders. During the bench press the lats are called into action. They contract and pull the shoulders in the posterior direction towards the pelvis. This helps to hold the shoulder muscles in place and prevent them from rising upwards toward the head. The quadriceps muscles are not always stressed in other exercises which is one of the reasons the bench press remains the ultimate exercise for chest.
The deltoid muscles: The deltoid are a part of the the shoulder muscles. They consist of the front, the middle and the rear deltoid muscles. The bench press exercise engages the front deltoid particularly. Generally, the deltoid muscles work together with the pectoralis major in assuring and supporting the weight in the bench press. The bench press stresses these two muscles with almost the same amount of weight.
The bench press is a very important lift that should not be overlooked even in a crossfit gym. It is an important exercise to test the strength of athletes and even the NFL has a bench mark in their draft on it. The bench press remains one of the ideal workouts while pressing to gain muscle size and for overall development of upper body strength. Due to its engagement of several muscles, the bench press exercise is regarded is also referred to as a compound exercise. This also implies that it engages and involves many joints at a time. Hence, to carry out a successful and proper bench press, several major muscles must come to play. This is why it is even very important that you adopt the appropriate technique while executing the bench press.
Bench press tips
This article would not be complete if I did not give you some tips on how to carry out a proper bench press to achieve a maximum result.
- The bench press should be performed on a flat, incline or decline workout bench. This should be done with either dumbbells or a barbell
- You should lay with your back flat on the bench while grasping the barbell or the dumbbells.
- Your grip width should be a little wider than your shoulder width
- Ensure to extend and bend your elbows while lowering or lifting the bar
- Try to avoid that your elbows go below the height of the bench
- It is also important that you keep your wrists and arms straight
These are just basic tips and not absolute as there exist some variations. A good example is the powerlifting variation of the bench press.
So far, the bench press remains the ultimate chest builder hence ranks number one compared to most other workout exercises in the gym. The exercise alone stresses and calls many upper body muscles into action. The Shoulder, chest, arm and back muscles all are involved in this single and unique exercise.
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