The bench press workout is a workout aimed at developing your chest. Your chest is made up of three key areas, your lower chest, middle chest and finally your upper chest. A good workout should target all three areas and here are three fundamental exercises that will challenge each of your three chest areas. First I will discuss the fundamentals of getting your technique correct for bench press exercises and then I will discuss variations you can do to target the three main different parts of your chest with this chest isolate exercise.
Standard Bench Press Workout Technique (this will target the middle chest area)
As shown in the image lie flat on your back and make sure to keep your shoulders flat against the bench.
The first thing you want to do is use no weight on the bar and get comfortable with the perfect hand spacing for your body. Aim to have your arms slightly wider then shoulder width apart and as you lower the bar aim to have the bar come in line with your nipples. Do not have the bar come down any higher as then your nipples or you will end up putting excessive strain on your shoulders and not working your chest.
Your forearms should be as close to vertical as possible as you are at the bottom of your rep.
Move them backwards almost as if you are trying to have them touch something behind you and really try to squeeze them together.
Reach outward for the bar but don’t grab the bottom of the bar instead have the palms of your hand flush against the rear of the bar. This will take excessive strain away from your wrist.
Keep your feet planted flat on the floor DO NOT lift them off the floor as this will compromise your stability and strength.
As you remove the bar from the rack tighten up your entire torso, begin to slowly lower the bar and inhale as you do.
Allow the bar to go all the way so that is GENTLY touches your chest but do not allow it to bounce off your chest. This can cause a serious injury to your sternum and also removes the effectiveness of the exercise as tension is relieved from your pectorals.
Raise the bar back up and if you can keep your feet planted and drive through your legs. Your knees at this point should be bent at about an eighty degree angle. Breathing is crucial so exhale your breath forcefully timing it so that as you finish your bar is back to the starting position.
Variations to target the upper and lower chest muscle
Incline bench press workout (targets the upper chest) – key differences
With this exercise you want to have your bench angled at a 45 degree angle as shown
When lowering the bar you want to have the bar instead of coming down in line with your nipples this time you will have the bar come down about an inch and half above your nipple. It should feel comfortable and natural with your forearms remaining vertical. If you feel an excessive strain on your shoulders then this suggests you have the bar coming down to high up your chest and should lower it slightly. Practise with no weight on the bar to find the optimum position. Remember if it is too far up your body you will be working your shoulder muscles instead.
Decline bench press workout (targets the lower chest) – key differences
As the title suggests this variation targets your lower chest by altering the angle of the bench. You want the angle to be roughly at 30 – 45 degree decline whilst making sure that your forearms remain vertical through the movement when it is at its lowest point.
Be sure to give your body what it needs, before a workout be sure to have a meal high in carbohydrates and protein, consider supplementing your diet with protein drinks. After you have trained be sure to replenish lost minerals and vitamins with a good sports recovery drink. Your body will be screaming out for whey isolate protein so be sure to eat a meal high in protein. We don’t recommend any specific brands but always look for fast release whey isolate protein in your recovery shake. Supplementing omega oils, amino acids, cod liver oils, and a good multi vitamin is also advised. Please go to our supplement page to find out more details about what you should be taking.
ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SPOTTER WITH THE DECLINE BENCH PRESS. Always remember to always consult with a physician before starting any new exercise or dietary program. All photography purchased from istock with correct copyright priveldges for use on this website. Any questions please use our contact form.