Proper Bench Press Technique

Watch the above video tutorial before reading these cues.

  • On the bar you will see some small rings, these will be the guide you use for your hand placement.
  • You want to aim to have your hands placed around shoulder width, using the rings on the bar to ensure that both hands are evenly spaced when gripping the bar
  • Next you want to retract your scapula (shoulder blades) back and down.  Your back is going to be your support so it has to remain tight through the entire movement.  By doing this you are externally rotating the shoulders which opens up the chest and decreases your risk of injury.
  • You then want to screw your feet into the ground.  Having your feet firmly into the ground will offer you support during the lift. 
  • Then breathe down into your diaphragm and brace (like you would for a squat or deadlift), squeeze your lats (back) and lift the bar out of the rack.
  • When the bar is un racked you want to ensure the bar sits in your hand over the top of your forearm and shoulder (so all the joints are stacked and are supporting the bar) and not in the top part of your hand extending your wrist backwards (this can cause wrist pain).
  • Next you want to imagine that you are bending the bar, brace again, squeeze the lats and glutes, screw your feet into the ground and start to control the bar downwards.  As the bar is coming down keep your scapula tight and imagine that you are bringing your chest up to meet the bar.  When the bar arrives at your chest, it should be in line with your nipples.
  • Don’t flare your elbows out at 90 degrees as this will put too much pressure on the shoulder and less on the chest, you want to aim to have the elbows at around 45 degrees or wherever is natural.
  • Then we want to start the lifting part of the movement.  Drive your feet into the ground, keep your lats, glutes and core tight and imagine that you are pushing yourself away from the bar.  Don’t let your glutes come off the bench when lifting.
  • Once you are back at the top, carefully re rack the weight.

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