Barbell Bench Press Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Barbell
  • Compound
  • Push
  • Intermediate
  • Shoulders, Triceps
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Chest Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. Setup for the bench barbell bench press by setting the height of the rack (if it's adjustable) and adding the weight you're going to use.
  2. Lie back on a the flat bench. Using a medium width grip and palms facing forward (a grip that creates a 90-degree angle in the middle of the movement between the forearms and the upper arms), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This will be your starting position.
  3. Slowly lower the bar straight down to the middle of your chest. Don't let the bar touch your chest! Pause, then slowly raise the bar back up. Do not lock your elbows out or rest at the top, go straight back into your next rep.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.
  5. Place the bar back on the rack.

Bench Press Tips:

The bench press is one the best exercises for building the chest. Here's some tips on benching with good, safe technique:

  1. Make sure you grip with bar with your thumbs around the front. This is the only safe way to bench. Too many people have got injured when the bar has slipped forward and fallen on their chest or even worse, neck!
  2. It's common for some lifters to bounce the bar off their chest. The bar should not touch the chest at all throughout the set.
  3. Locking the elbows out at the top of the movement makes the exercise easier, takes the pressure off the target muscles, and makes the exercise less effective. Always stop before your elbows lock out and immediately start slowly lowering the bar for the next rep.
  4. Another common practice amongst lifters is to use heavy weights and not lower the bar all the way down and up. Although this technique is good for shocking the muscles, you should always use the longest rep range possible without locking your elbows or touching your chest.
  5. Rep timing should slow enough that you control the weight on the way down. Letting the weight drop really quickly is not productive because the muscles do not have to work as hard on the negative phase of the movement. This makes the exercise less effective.
  6. Keep your feet firmly planted on the floor. Your feet provide the stabilization for the lift, if you hold them up or flap them around you're move likely to lose balance.
  7. Make sure you have the right grip on the bar. Your hands should be wider than shoulder width, as demonstrated in the video. If your grip is too narrow your shoulders will take over as the prime movers in this exercise.
  8. Make sure you lower the bar straight down to your middle chest and push it straight up. Don't deviate from this range of motion.
  9. Your glutes and shoulder blades should be touching the bench at all times throughout the set. It's OK to arch the back as long as the glutes and shoulder blades are fixed.

64 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 03/12/2012 - 02:17

I note how you say that you should always have your thumbs around the front - however the guy in your video doesn't do it this way!!

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Posted Fri, 03/16/2012 - 19:56

yeah I saw that too

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Posted Sun, 11/18/2012 - 13:54

It's only 135lbs ding dong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted Thu, 01/31/2013 - 19:15

No, they mean the way you should hold your hands. This so the bar won't fall on your chest or worse your neck.

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Posted Mon, 02/25/2013 - 07:27

im guessing its not his first time, the tip is mostly for beginners in figure

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Posted Fri, 02/20/2015 - 17:32

He doesn't have any thumbs... thanks for pointing it out, jerk.

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Posted Sat, 03/17/2012 - 12:44

What about weight, should you go heavier with reps?

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Posted Sun, 03/18/2012 - 13:33

I don't let the bar touch my chest. The picture/video contradicts what is suggested. I don't let the bar touch my chest because I feel it puts too much stress on my shoulders, ROI seems minimal at that point, and I feel like having the bar touch/bounce on the chest gives you some rest. My workout partner has trained for years says, "you need to let it touch your reason being that in bench chest competitions the rep doesn't count unless it hits the chest".

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Posted Sun, 03/22/2015 - 13:41

You Are absolutely right on the bar must touch the chest or it will not count. Good point.

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Posted Thu, 03/22/2012 - 13:08

sir.. when i push the bar after 2-3reps i loose energy of left hand, why this happened please tell me.
thank you.

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Posted Wed, 04/18/2012 - 14:11

you need to change up your wanking hand now and again.

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Posted Fri, 03/30/2012 - 14:10

Anil - your left arm is weaker than your right arm, which means when your bench pressing your right arm can handle it but your left cant do as much, so you'll need to work on your left arm more.

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Posted Sat, 03/31/2012 - 23:41

What is your opinion on doing a dumbbell bench press opposed to a barbell bench press? Do you find the barbell to be more effective?
Thank You

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 04/02/2012 - 11:50

They are both great tools. If you're looking to build muscle than using both a barbell and dumbbell variation can be a great choice.

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Posted Sun, 07/08/2012 - 04:21
josh murphy

Is arching your back ok on bench press as long as your butt and shoulders are flat on the bench?

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Posted Sun, 07/15/2012 - 15:03

hey. i do this but it only seems to stress my ligaments or whatever they are that are connected to shoulder. and nothing in middle/lower chest :(
what can be wrong?
i am using proper form. hold it on the ring slightly wider than my shoulder. please reply m worried as no chest bench press affects the area

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Posted Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:34
Devin A

Thats your rotato cuff take a week off and if you can only bench press so your arms go to a 90° angle

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Posted Sat, 04/28/2012 - 13:15

Can I just use dumbbells to do this exercise as part of a routine instead of barbell?

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Posted Sat, 05/05/2012 - 18:05
MArk evans

What about your back arch?

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Posted Sun, 05/13/2012 - 05:24

Should the first set of 10 be just a warm up, therefore a lot a more weight can be put on the next 3!??

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Posted Fri, 05/18/2012 - 11:52
Michael Grundy

How should your breathing be.

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Posted Sat, 08/04/2012 - 06:30

Michael you should try to control your breathing so inhale when you bring the barbell towards you and exhale when pushing away.

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Posted Sat, 06/02/2012 - 20:59

53 fair shape i use 20lb dumbbells at home to screw around with for ever
getting ready to work out all the time what weight do you recommend i use for every exerciser i was thinking to use the same for everything 20lb per limb i am 155 lb 5-8

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Posted Sat, 06/09/2012 - 07:16

hey sir
i have same problem as anil so can u please tell me what sort of work i have to do

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Posted Thu, 06/14/2012 - 01:23

i m 18 years old how much weight i should lift?

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Posted Wed, 05/01/2013 - 17:08

Figure it out on your own, the only way to know how much to lift is by you lifting and figuring out were your strength is. No one else can tell you how much to lift. its you.

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Posted Mon, 07/09/2012 - 21:11

I'm just starting weight training as I'm not that strong and I'm joining the army in September, I look like a women lifting smaller weights (like 20 - 25kg) in the gym lol

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Posted Mon, 07/16/2012 - 06:00
ben anderson

how much weights should we put during all these compound workouts?

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Posted Fri, 08/10/2012 - 21:21

I'm not new to working out or anything I just turned 16 and max 205 for benching on tips it says not to touch your chest is this true?

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Posted Mon, 08/20/2012 - 16:47

when i bench i get shooting pain in my left frontal delt is this bad and wat can i do to fix this problem

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Posted Sun, 08/26/2012 - 11:03

For all of you who are trying to find an answer to how much weight you should use, the realistic answer is that of trial and error. You must try a weight and see if it give you what you need. Do not be afraid to start at a lower weight to prevent injury. Also in my opinion one of the greatest causes of not getting a good workout is worrying about what other people think about the amount of weight you are using. Everyone of us and even people like Jay Cutler had to start somewhere. Good luck and keep it up.

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Posted Thu, 08/30/2012 - 00:15

im trying it out for the first time. lets see if it works.

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Posted Fri, 09/14/2012 - 12:05

i have a question do i have to add weight after this reps ?

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Posted Wed, 09/26/2012 - 02:17

My Muscle dont support while heavy lifting how can i gain muscle strenths Kindly advice.

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/26/2012 - 15:44

Simply try to improve by adding one to two addition reps with a weight per week. After you can reach 10-12 reps with a given weight, add more to the bar.

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Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 13:50

In the video, he is not following the first point for this xcerise.

"Make sure you grip with bar with your thumbs around the front. "

His thumbs are not around the front..

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Posted Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:51

very good technique and easy to follow

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Posted Tue, 12/04/2012 - 04:17

I disagree with the suggestion of thumb placement around the bar. Maybe if you are a beginner you should do that for safety reasons but when you get into high weights you are going to want to use a suicide grip or you are risking wrist injury. Carpal tunnel is a very real issue when benching high weight with your thumb around the front of the bar

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Posted Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:23

I recently had shoulder surgery and can not bench press for at least the next 6 months. I been an alternate exercise than the bench press. Any ideas?

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 20:20

I primarily do dumbbell bench press 80lbs dumbbells what would you say a comparable weight for bare bell bench would be?

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Posted Fri, 02/08/2013 - 11:07

160 lbs.

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 20:41

I primarily do dumbbell bench press, what would be a comparable weight on barbell bench when I'm using 80lb dumbbells

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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 15:55

I`m thinking of starting the 10 week programme, A quick question when doing the bench press should I be incresing the weight each set

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Posted Fri, 01/11/2013 - 06:34

FYI-When your arm(s) starts to show weakness (shake) during any reps. Focus on energy and water intake, these are the most over looked essentials everyone should include before, during and after training. Once you replenished your body of lost electrolytes the muscles obtains oxygen for even flow and allows you to maximize your gains.

Keys to succeed: Research, read, study, and educated yourself ask someone to spot you or team up. Weight training is basic, if you want bodybuilding or sculpturing it’s beast mode. It’s lots of introductions, magazines, internet sites, and so much more at your finger tips just waiting for you. You have to find that perfect fit for your body type and ride it until you get (Muscle Gain) results.

Enjoy your accomplishments and past it on.
just my .2

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Posted Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:41

When doing the sets in the 10 week programme should you up the weights for each set as your doing less reps

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Posted Sat, 02/16/2013 - 06:11

Ive been experiencing tingling on my nerves round the shoulders and elbows wen i increased weight, atm i bench press round 110% my body weight. Anyone experience this b4?

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Posted Wed, 03/06/2013 - 01:32
chetan bhatt

thanks with these all comments, I got more knowledge

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Posted Tue, 03/26/2013 - 11:59

How do you properly lift the bar off the rack? is it pull down instead of push up?

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 09:15

Is pushup better than this?

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Posted Wed, 05/01/2013 - 17:02

You should always wrap your thumb around the bar or it can cause serious injury.