How to do a Barbell Bench Press

Authored by Fitbod

About Barbell Bench Press

Sets Logged
Popularity Rank
Chest Strength
99 mSCORE 2nd
Equipment Required
Primary Muscles
Secondary Muscles

Instructions: How To

Bench Press is one of the three Powerlifting movements, and one of the most common upper body exercises. It’s a fantastic compound exercise that can help you build strength in your chest, shoulders, and triceps. It’s a staple in most fitness programs, and is often used as a metric for tracking upper body strength in general.

  1. Lie your back onto a bench while squeezing your shoulder blades together and place your heels firmly on the ground underneath your knees.
  2. The bench should be in contact with your head, shoulders, and butt at all times.
  3. Grab ahold of the barbell just outside shoulder-width apart before unracking the barbell so that your arms are extended over your shoulders.
  4. Keeping your core braced by breathing into your stomach and flexing the abdominal muscles, descend the barbell to your chest by flexing your elbows keeping them at a 45 degree angle from your torso.
  5. Gently touch the middle of your chest with the barbell before exhaling the barbell back to the starting position.

Common Mistakes

  • Flared Elbows

    Flaring your elbows out can sometimes help you lift heavier weights, but it places more tension on your shoulders. The ideal position can vary slightly from person to person, but try to keep your elbows around 45 degrees from your torso, and make small adjustments from there.

  • Keep Your Wrists Straight

    Allowing your wrist to extend in order to grab a barbell may feel more secure, and less likely to slip out of your hands. The downside is that it places a lot of tension on your wrist, and can be a limiting factor to how much weight you can move. Focus on keeping your wrist in a neutral position inline with your forearm.

  • Bouncing the Bar

    Bouncing the bar off your chest can help you lift heavier weights, but it increases your risk of injury, and makes the exercise less effective. Focus on slowly lowering the bar, and gently tapping your chest at the bottom of the movement.

Sets & Reps: How many to do

Use this calculator to see Fitbod's possible first recommendations for you. This would be your starting line, based on more than 4.5 billion logged sets from 1.1 million users.

  • beginner
    1 Rep Max
  • intermediate
  • advanced

Enter your stats to calculate your Sets & Reps