The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Bench Press

Please see a continuation of my top 10 weight exercises: where I give my opinion on some of my favourite exercises that have been a staple of my gym routine for many years.

I have a very traditional and basic attitude to weight training – you won’t see gimmicky exercises or “Wolverine Workouts” here.  If you have experience of weight training you have probably heard of most of my list.  I take the view to be the master of these 10 weight exercises, rather than do a new routine every week.

This week is Number 4:

Bench Press

 

 

Image from Bodybuilding.com

Why do it?

The bench press is the cliche show of strength, but it should not be dismissed as it’s one of the staple must do weight lifting exercises for a reason!

Doing this routine helps build up your chest and adds the size to your upper body.  It also is a great way of creating explosive power.

And yes I suppose there are numerous bragging reasons like looking good in tight shirts and being able to say how much you can bench.

 

Variations:

The first variation is to do the bench press with dumb bells – this has the added benefit that you don’t need to worry about getting over adventurous with the weight and dropping the bar on yourself.  With the dumb bell you have a quick way to get away (I would still recommend increasing your bench pressing steadily and avoiding the big ego lifts)

If you want to progress go sensible and steady – don’t get carried away and ego lift with poor form

Then there is the incline and decline bench presses which have the benefits of targeting areas of your shoulders and chest laying flat does not.  Again be careful with how much weight you put on the bar and avoid having the bar drift.

Including the inclined decline variations is recommended to improve your chest shape and overall strength.

Result:

The bench press will make you look really good in your upper body promoting a healthy looking frame if you can keep the belly fat off from your torso.  Your next challenge will be to stop looking at yourself in the mirror so much poseur!

It’s also another one of those that helps you in obstacle races and body weight exercises developing the muscle strength to pull yourself up on bars.

Beginners advice:

  • If you have never done the bench press before have a spotter or be very careful with how much weight you put on it – there is nothing worse that having the bar drop on you and having to squirm free (I would recommend just using the bar or dumbbells until form is improved
  • With other exercises the focus is moving back from the movement to promote muscle growth.  This can be done with bench press but only do this light, otherwise focus on explosive movements.
  • Keep working on it by doing press-ups as home
  • To increase your lift do 50% of your 1 rep max at 3 set of 8 reps making sure to go as explosive as possible.
  • Review your grip – as a beginner you want to be about medium which is having your hands so there is approx six inches of space from the bar bells (though that recommendation does depend how big you are)

What is your favourite weight exercise?  Why?  Drop a comment below and let me know – I might even end up quoting you.

References: 

I have been doing these exercises for so long that it isn’t always easy for me to explain.  Thanks to the following sites who helped me write this:

Body building.com – Barbell Bench press

King of the gym – 5 Bench press benefits that reinforce why benching is awesome

Bar bend – 11 undeniable benefits of bench pressing

My Protein – Decline bench press

Stack – Do the incline bench press for a stronger and bigger chest

Disclaimer: I am not a qualified personal trainer, I am just giving my opinion on what I think are the best things to do at the gym.  Note I do not advise how many repetitions to do – that is up to you and what you want to achieve.

You should always take into consideration your limitations and medical history.  Before starting a workout routine always seek advice from an expert.


The Top Ten:

10: Bent-over row

9: Side Raises

8: Push Press

7: Lunges

6: Tricep Extensions

5: Shoulder Press

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4 thoughts on “The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Bench Press

  1. I’d put my ‘favourite’ exercises in 2 categories. 1. the ones I like and 2. the ones I know work for me. I love to squat, bench and deadlift however, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage and carry over out of things like clean and press, power cleans, good mornings, 1 arm rows and lateral raises.

    1. That is good advice. I have my favourites but have the ones I get a lot of benefit from. I hate dips but force myself to do them every week for the triceps development.

      1. Just go for it and take the plunge a part of me is pleased with myself for not neglecting them just because I don’t like them

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