Your Best Bench Press Workout Challenge

Your Best Bench Press Workout Challenge

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Wonder why so many people do the bench press? If so, then you definitely need to read this. Why? We give you all the info you could ever want to know about the bench press.

The barbell bench press has always been the king of the gym. Everyone from Arnold to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has chosen this beast of an exercise as their staple. There’s a good reason for it too. It works! If you’ve never tried it before, you simply must try our best bench ever challenge.

Why?

You’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll be back for more, if you smell what we’re cooking!

After all, if it works for Arnold and The Rock, there’s something to it.

The bench press is a great way to gain tremendous strength in the upper body and the best thing about it is that you can keep improving, advancing and growing those stunning muscles. With the bench press, the sky is the limit with weight (as long as you have a bar that will support it). You can keep increasing the weight week after week, month after month and year after year.

When you’ve finally run out of weight plates, you can even throw a few friends on there, but we don’t really recommend that, okay? 

The Bench Press Should Be Part Of Your Routine

Gaining strength through a good press routine is beneficial in many ways.

Why?

The reason is because if you are strong in your press, it will make you strong in other exercises such as push-ups, flyes, and many more.

The bench press will also benefit your daily life and make everyday activities seem easier.

Which ones?

We’re talking about such things as pushing the lawn mower, moving furniture or when your car breaks down in the middle of the intersection and you have to push it over to the gas station because you forgot to fill up your tank last night after work.

The bench press incorporates the muscles of the chest, back (lats), triceps and also the delts (shoulders).

It’s a great upper body exercise that knocks out four muscle groups at a time, so why not incorporate them?

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There Are Even More Benefits To Doing Bench Presses

They don’t just make you stronger, bigger and more powerful. Bench presses have specific areas that they target. That’s why they are such a great exercise to add to your routine.

Overload The Chest Muscles

The barbell bench press doesn’t target only the chest muscles. It also allows you to load up the weight on the chest and keep advancing, especially as compared to a push-up, which doesn’t allow much more than body weight and perhaps a weighted vest. Of course, those can only come with so much weight.

Build The Upper Body

Adding mass to the upper body is definitely something the bench press is going to do. Not only does it work your chest, but also your shoulders and triceps play a huge role in the press. You will be adding a lot of muscle and bulk by performing these regularly.

Increase Push Strength

As mentioned, you’ll be able to get stronger in many push exercises and benefit when it comes to daily tasks as well.

More Fat Burning

This not only occurs because the bench press is a strenuous exercise. It also happens because the bench press works more muscles than your typical isolation exercises. You will be burning more fat during your workout.

Don’t forget that you’ll be able to impress the ladies by doing a pec dance. It may not be your goal, but hey, you can add it to your list of achievements. A good bench press will also give you the bragging rights around your local gym and we know that can be fun too! If you’re more on the humble side, just let the onlookers do the bragging for you and be proud of yourself!

A good bench press will also give you the bragging rights around your local gym and we know that can be fun too!

If you’re more on the humble side, just let the onlookers do the bragging for you and be proud of yourself!

Make The Most Out Of Your Bench Press

No matter if you are an expert at the bench or a beginner, always start with a weight you know you can handle for the recommended amount of sets and reps. For beginners, you can even start with an empty bar just to get the feel for it. Plus, doing a few light reps can double as your warm-up.

One thing is for sure, when performing a bench press, there are some common mistakes that can be made. So let’s go over the proper method of doing the press.

Lie back on the bench and place your feet flat on the floor on each side of the bench. Make sure your upper back, head, and butt are all in contact with the bench, and that your eyes are just under the bar.

Grab the bar with a neutral grip. This would mean that your hands should be placed about shoulder-width apart. This may be adjusted according to your individual needs/goals, or even factors such as your shoulder and wrist mobility.

Tighten your grip, engage your muscles and unrack the bar at this point. Lifting the bar over the hooks, then bringing to a proper position just over the chest, slowly lower the bar until it either barely touches your chest, or comes just a bit above your chest.

Keep your elbows pulled in. Do not flare them out, as this will inhibit engagement in the lats. At this point, begin to drive the bar up by using the force of your full body from the floor, all the way to your wrists and grip. Press up until you reach full lockout.

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Here’s Some More About The Bench Press

The bench press can actually be considered a full body exercise even though it’s meant to target your upper body.

Why?

The reason is because as you are pressing up to lock out, you’ll dig your heels and the balls of your feet into the floor, push with your legs and feel your entire core engage with power. So be sure everything is in line for this. Keep your head neutral and your eyes focused on the bar the entire time.

Here Are Some Bench Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs

As with any exercise, there are dangerous mistakes that can be made while doing a bench press. Some can even be deadly. That’s why it is best to check everything about your press, make sure you know what you are doing and always have a spotter on hand for your safety.

The Thumbless Grip

Some may use this type of grip because it feels more comfortable but holding the bar with the thumbs on the same side of the bar as your fingers is a dangerous mistake.

Why?

The reason is because if the bar begins to roll forward, there is nothing to stop it from crashing down on your face, neck or chest, and you (or your spotter) won’t have time to react to this.

Flaring The Elbows

This not only inhibits engagement of the lats, it will also slowly destroy your shoulders. At this angle the upper arm bones will press into the rotator cuffs as you bench. Over time, this can cause wearing on the tendons and joints. So, tuck your elbows at the bottom of your press to avoid injury.

Benching On The Smith Machine

I have nothing against machines. Don’t get me wrong. But when it comes to a press on the Smith machine, it actually will destroy your shoulders because of the same reason already mentioned. It sets your elbows at a 90-degree angle during each press, which squeezes the rotator cuff tendons against the AC joint.

Bending The Wrists

This not only puts too much pressure on the wrists themselves, but bending your wrists back as you press places the bar behind your forearms instead of directly on top. This also inhibits the force you generate with your chest and arms. Keep your wrists straight and this will prevent stretching and pain in the wrists as well.

Benching Heavy Without A Rack Or Spotter

This one is a given. No one should ever attempt lifting heavy loads without some sort of safety net in the form of a power rack or a spotter. If you are stuck on your last rep, what will happen? You will be crushed, stuck and in some serious pain or perhaps in need of medical attention. Just don’t do it.

Not Locking Out At The Top Of Your Press

Locking out is a form of rest. If you don’t lock out each time, your muscles will stay tense for the entire set and may inhibit you from finishing. Also, the range of motion in the press is shorter with unlocked elbows, which can make the top of your press weaker.

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Let The Bench Press Workout Challenge Begin!

Are you ready?

This is a six-week progressive challenge where you perform the bench press for three days per week. You can add it to your chest and triceps day, or whatever you please.

Be sure that you are benching on non-consecutive days as the challenge schedule shows. This will allow your muscles proper recovery time. Start with a few warm-up reps, down some protein and let’s go!

 

This Is Week 1

Monday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 10 Reps

 

Wednesday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 10 Reps

 

Friday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 10 Reps

 

This Is Week 2

Monday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 6 Reps (increase weight by 5%)

 

Wednesday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 10 Reps (with weight increase from Monday)

 

Friday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 10 Reps (with weight increase from Monday)

 

This Is Week 3

Monday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 12 Reps (no weight increase)

 

Wednesday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 12 Reps (no weight increase)

 

Friday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 12 Reps (no weight increase)

 

This Is Week 4

Monday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 12 Reps (5% weight increase)

 

Wednesday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 12 Reps (with weight increase from Monday)

 

Friday

Barbell Bench Press 3 Sets X 12 Reps (with weight increase from Monday)

 

This Is Week 5

Monday

Barbell Bench Press 4 Sets X 12 Reps (no weight increase)

 

Wednesday

Barbell Bench Press 4 Sets X 12 Reps (no weight increase)

 

Friday

Barbell Bench Press 4 Sets X 12 Reps (no weight increase)

 

This Is Week 6

Monday

Barbell Bench Press 4 Sets X 12 Reps (5% weight increase)

 

Wednesday

Barbell Bench Press 4 Sets X 12 Reps (with weight increase from Monday)

 

Friday

Barbell Bench Press 4 Sets X 12 Reps (with weight increase from Monday)

 

At the end of your six weeks, you will notice a huge difference in your strength. Keep this plan going and keep progressing slowly with the weight. You will be a beast in no time!

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Conclusion

Always keep in mind that safety should be your number one concern with any exercise program. Getting injured because of bad choices will only set you back in your goals and it’s just not worth it.

Keep your nutrition on track, stay hydrated and be sure to get plenty of sleep. If you are working this hard, then you’ll require more sleep than the average person. Sleep plays a big role in muscle growth and recovery, that’s when all the good stuff happens. So be sure you pay mind to that.

Stick with this challenge. Keep track of your measurements and the weight you’re lifting. You should even take some progress pictures for the best motivation ever.

Seeing is believing and you know what they say?

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Good luck!

By Heather Neff, CPT

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