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.
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67 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 06/18/2015 - 09:57
Pat

Why hasn't anyone asked:
How many reps and sets for each excersis ???

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Posted Fri, 06/19/2015 - 09:49
MikeWines

Pat,
It's just a exercise demonstration video, not a workout.

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Posted Thu, 09/18/2014 - 09:41
MuscleBuilder

I want to do this exercise but I don't have any weights. Is here any other way for do this exercise? Please reply!

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Posted Thu, 05/14/2015 - 18:22
Wolfwell

Push ups but nothing is ever the same as just doing bench press

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Posted Tue, 09/09/2014 - 15:27
SAMMY

HELP PLEASE GUYS.. can you substituted the bench for just a carpet floor as there is no gym near me????

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Posted Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:52
eslam

This is the first time i see this website and workout programs . Thanks for working people here .

we dont have like this technology in middle east .

Appreciated !

Eslam

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Posted Sun, 03/23/2014 - 14:55
Elliott

Wow, that's what I was looking for, what a information! existing here at this web site, thanks admin of this web page.

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Posted Tue, 03/11/2014 - 06:42
Jonathan L

If im doing the dumbbell press and the barbell press during a workout.
Which exercise should i do first?

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Posted Sat, 01/04/2014 - 16:18
Dave

Since this is on power day, shouldn't we be lifting the weight explosively while locking the elbows out and touching the chest? From a powerlifting perspective, are we not supposed to be able to do the most weight possible at low reps? I'm more for saving the slower, non elbow locking movements for hypertrophy days.

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Posted Thu, 10/31/2013 - 09:24
David T.

When I bench press now I don't let the bar touch my chest because I feel the tension leaving the chest slightly. But whether you touch your chest or not is personal preference. But in reality it is not necessary. When I do pushups, I don't let my chest touch the ground for the same reason but also it is another case of personal preference according to what's comfortable to the user.

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Posted Sun, 10/13/2013 - 19:25
Jamie

How about the reclined bench, and the incline, both effective

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2013 - 16:55
Bilal Abbasi

Sir I am not feeling any force on my chest during barbell bench press. What mistake am I doing?

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Posted Wed, 09/11/2013 - 02:48
Jeremyw

My question on benching is my hand width placement on the bar vs. how much I tuck my elbows in. My bench has always been one of my weaker chest exercises. A few months back I tried benching with the same, further than shoulder width grip, but tucking my elbows in similar to how I would on a close grip bench(which I've always been good at). I found that I could lift a lot more this way, I'm just worried that I'm turning it into more of a tricep workout by doing this. So, to sum it up, should I match my elbows to my shoulder width hand placement? Or am I good with keeping them in close?

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Posted Fri, 08/02/2013 - 00:22
Moerocco

Ok iv been doing this workout for a while now(3 months or so) and it works wonders now my only thing is my chest got a nice size on the outside and actually almost 75%, the other 25% is in the inside more like right under my neck. How do i pump that up? Do i switch to close grip or should i stick to wide grib and by time it'll get there too??? And when is it ok to change to a different workout i still want to gain 10 more lbs and its been hard iv been stuck at 168 for a while now(btw i started at 150 and lost a lot of fat too:) so any help guys would be appreciated. Tnx in advance.

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Posted Fri, 06/07/2013 - 05:04
Liverpool FC

Ive always had good cardio good shape and im trying to get into lifting and using weights but have no idea what weight to start at Im 25, 155 and pretty strong but should i start lifting at a very heavy weight that i can only do a few reps off or a lighter weight that i can do easier??

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Posted Fri, 05/31/2013 - 02:17
Naseeb Kumar

how can i fast grow my body? plz tell me . i have made my upper part is very strong. like chest , bicepes, and abs, shoulder ..

so please tell me my zym shedule. and exercise shedule.

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Posted Sat, 05/25/2013 - 12:26
kevin

should you do 5 seconds up and 5 seconds down to build muscle or how many seconds up and how many seconds down on every exercise cause I heard you gain more muscle that way and that fast reps are only for strength let me no thanks

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

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

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

Is pushup better than this?

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

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

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

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, 01/16/2013 - 17:41
david

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

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, 01/09/2013 - 15:55
david

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

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, 01/02/2013 - 20:20
James

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
Brent

160 lbs.

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

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

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, 11/21/2012 - 12:51
Mon

very good technique and easy to follow

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

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, 09/26/2012 - 02:17
Avinash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How should your breathing be.

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

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

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

What about your back arch?

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

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