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Exercise 101: Bench Press Using Free Weights
Type of Exercise —Multi-joint
Muscles Used —Chest and arms
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- Lie flat on the bench with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the bench. Keep your buttocks, back, shoulders, head, and feet on the bench during the entire exercise. (This position is known as five-point contact.)
- The bar should be on the rack above your head and your eyes should be directly below the bar.
- Grasp the bar with an overhand grip with hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
- Lift and move the bar over the chest area.
- Use a spotter for safety.
- Slowly lower the bar to touch your chest at the level of the nipples.
- Remember to inhale while lowering the weight toward your chest.
- Keep your wrists directly above your elbows.
- Maintain five-point contact during the movement.
- Push the bar upward until your elbows are fully extended.
- Remember to exhale while pushing the weight upward.
- Maintain five-point contact.
- Use the spotter for assistance.
Repetitions, Sets, and Weight:
National Association for Health and Fitness http://www.physicalfitness.org
President's Council on Fitness, Sport & Nutrition http://www.fitness.gov
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology http://www.csep.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Barbell bench press. American Council on Exercise website. Available at: http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness%5Fprograms%5Fexercise%5Flibrary%5Fdetails.aspx?exerciseid=5 . Accessed September 13, 2013.
Barbell bench press—medium grip. Body Building website. Available at: http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/barbell-bench-press-medium-grip . Accessed September 13, 2013.
Resistance training for health and fitness. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/resistance-training.pdf . Accessed September 13, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/13/2013