The bench press is one of the three power lifting exercises along with deadlifts and squats. In bodybuilding, the bench press is one of the staple exercises for building the chest muscle. When performing bench press, secondary muscles such as the deltoids and triceps are also involved. The bench press will help build strength and mass in the pectorals, front delts, and triceps.
"In power lifting, however, where the focus is to achieve a single very heavy repetition, the differing technique ensures the force for a bench press is exerted by the triceps, anterior deltoids and the lattisimus dorsi - the pectorals have a greatly reduced role." - Wikipedia
Bench Press, Best Chest Exercise
See illustration below for the bench press exercise:
Bench Press Exercise
Lie on a flat bench, with your feet spread a bit wider than shoulder width for balance
Your grip should be medium width such that when you lower the bar, your forearms should be perpendicular to the floor
Use a closed grip, not an open grip. While many like to use an open grip for whatever reasons, there's no benefit of using it over a closed grip.
Lift up the bar from the rack and hold it at arm's length above you
Lower the bar in a controlled motion until it touches your lower pecs
Press the bar up until at arm's length again
Proper Bench Press Technique & Form
There are several things to keep in mind when doing the bench press to ensure proper form for maximum results and to also avoid potential injuries..
When lying on the flat bench, make sure your shoulder blades are pinched together. Not pinching your shoulder blades together causes your front delts to take over during the press.
Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and keep them flat on the ground at all times for proper balance.
Never lift your buttocks off the bench when performing bench press
Use a wide enough grip such that at the bottom of the motion, your forearms are perpendicular to the floor
Do not lower the barbell to the upper chest area
Exhale when pushing the weights up
For safety reasons, you should have a spotter when doing bench presses
Increase Bench Press Tips
There's always the common question: "How can I increase my bench press?". Well, there's no definite answer to it, but here are some things to consider:
Big bench presses need big triceps. How is your triceps development coming along? Putting extra focus on developing size and strength on your triceps will help improve your bench press greatly
Are you allowing enough resting periods in between workouts, and are you over training. You should allow a good 5 to 7 day rest in between workouts for each muscle group. This will allow proper recovery and growth after intense workouts
Again, keep your shoulder blades pinched together - this creates the most stable pushing environment. If your shoulder blades are off the bench, you're likely to get off balance.
Maintain pressure on your upper back and traps by driving your feet into the floor