Ask any male and almost all will agree that the bench press is the single most crucial exercise for building a big strong chest. Through the years, many have associated the size of the pectoral muscles with the masculinity of the person. While the bench press is predominantly a single muscle movement and not as complex as other compound movements such as deadlifts and squats, learning how to bench safely is still the way to go to sculpt that admirable pecs and build a bigger chest. When your bench press form is good, it will not take long before you start carrying heavier weights….and watch your chest grow!

I’ve come up with a simple yet effective handy guide for you to build a bigger chest. Remember, everything is about form. It is useless to bench heavy if your form is poor as you will not be able to fully work the pectoral muscles.

The same rules apply for both barbell and dumbbells.

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Before Benching

Head
Always keep your head on the bench. Lifting it up or to the sides places unnecessary strain on the neck and the upper back muscles.

Elbows
As opposed to squats, you can lock your elbows at the top of the benching movement. In fact, pushing all the way up makes your muscles work harder.

Wrists
Maintain a good grip of the bar by keeping your wrists straight. This helps to distribute the weight of the bar evenly throughout the movement and prevents excessive strain on the joints.

Knees
Keep your knees bent at 90 degrees. Your knees should form a nice V-shape away from the body.

Legs
Always keep your legs placed firmly on the ground as they support the lifting movement. This helps to stabilize the body and prevents injuries.

Breath
Take your time to bench and remember to breathe while executing each rep. Exhale when you push the bar upwards. Inhale when you lower it back down. Breathing correctly helps one to focus better.


During Benching

Focusing On A Particular Spot
From my own experience, I find that it helps to have a particular focal point in place while lifting. Personally, I choose to focus on a spot on the ceiling or the mirror. This helps me concentrate better rather than trying to follow the path of the bar.

Benching To Failure
Making an attempt to lift to failure really maxs out the muscles and tears the muscle fibres apart, allowing them to self-repair and grow back stronger. But many of us rarely push ourselves beyond the point of fatigue, choosing to return the bar when we experience a little discomfort. Having a spotter or personal trainer around is the key to benching to failure. He will help push you beyond your limits and squeeze the last few reps out from you. And at the end of the day, you are the one who benefits.

Spreading Your Feet
Remember I mentioned that you have to place both feet on the ground at all times with your knees bent at 900? For additional stability and better form, consider opening your feet wide apart. If you put both feet together, then you are working your stabilizing muscles instead of your pectorals.

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