Bodybuilding: How to do the Barbell Bench Press


The barbell bench press is a favorite move of bodybuilders and weightlifters. It works several muscle groups including the chest, triceps, and shoulders. 

Getting started on the barbell bench press

To perform the barbell bench press, lie on your back on a flat bench. Scoot yourself backwards until your ears are off the bench. Place your feet flat on the ground. Then move forward so that your head is in the proper position on the bench. This creates a tuck with your feet that will help with the benchpress. Retract your shoulders so that your back becomes slightly arched. Do not shrug your shoulders upward during the movement or you are at risk of injury. Using a medium width grip, lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms nearly locked. The wrists should be straight and inline with the forearms. This will be your starting position.

Performing the barbell benchpress

Next, breath in and come down slowly until the bar nearly touches the middle of your chest. Your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. After a brief pause, push the bar back up to the starting position as your breath out. The elbows should be at a 45 degree angle from the ribs as the bar is being lowered. The movement should be controlled and even. Focus on pushing the bar using your chest muscles. Lock your arms and squeeze your chest in a contracted position at the top of the motion. Hold for a second and then come down slowly again. You should be in full control of the barbell the entire time.

To add a level of difficulty, try using dumbbells instead of a barbel. It will require additional stabilizer muscles to work at a higher intensity during the exercise.

The barbell bench press primarily works the chest.

The secondary muscle groups it works are the triceps and shoulders.

Equipment needed: Barbell, bench press, weights.