Bench Press

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    04-Dec-2015

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Bench press: How to do it.

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<ul><li><p>Bench Press</p><p>The most admired lifters in both bodybuilding and powerlifting are thebig benchers. "How much can you bench?" is the first question people willask when you tell them you are a weightlifter. This exercise is popularbecause of the muscles it develops, and the bench press technique is easyto learn compared to the other lifts in powerlifting competition. Thebench press develops the chest muscles (pectorals), the back of theupper arm (triceps), and the front of the shoulder (anterior deltoid).When properly developed, these muscles contribute a great deal to anattractive upper body for both men and women.</p><p>Mechanics of the Bench PressLike the squat, the mechanics of the bench press will also be broken intothree segmentspreparation, descent, and ascent.</p></li><li><p> ' T</p><p>32 PDwerlifang</p><p>PREPARATIONBegin by sitting down on the far end of the bench with your back tothe upright supports. Now lie back and position yourself so thatyour buttocks, shoulders, and head are firmly and squarely on thebench. Your legs should straddle the bench, and your feet should beflat on the floor, about shoulder-width apart or wider (figure 3.1).This position will provide you with the stability necessary to per-form a good bench press. Your eyes should be in line with the frontedge of the shelf where the bar is racked, not directly under the bar(figure 3.2). Grip the bar in an overhand closed grip (thumbs aroundbar), with the hands in the same position on both sides, and aboutshoulder-width apart or wider. Do not use the open hand grip,because it is dangerous and can lead to wrist problems after a fewyears of lifting (see figure 3.3). An appropriate grip width on the barwill position the wrist directly above the elbows as the bar touchesthe chest. With help from your spotter, take the bar from the rackand push to a straight elbow position. You should be supportedmostly by your upper back and feet. Your lower back should bearched with your buttocks fully contracted and very lightly touch-ing the bench.</p><p>Figure 3.1 Straddle thebench, with the feet flaton the floor.</p></li><li><p>Fiqure 3.2 Align your eyes with the frontedge of the shelf where the bar is racked.</p><p>Figure 3.3 The open hand grip shown here is not recommended because it can lead to wrist problems.</p></li><li><p>34 PDwaitrting</p><p>DESCENTPause with the bar in an extended arm position. Inhale, expandingthe chest as much as possible and hold, and then slowly lower thebar to your chest. The bar should make contact with the highestpoint of the chest, usually located approximately 1 inch above orbelow the nipples (figure 3.4). While lowering the bar, try to push thechest upward to meet the bar. This will cause the shoulder blades topull closer together and the pectorals to stretch (load up), whichcauses a stronger contraction as you start your upward movement.The elbows should not be close to the ribs, which would force thetriceps to do most of the work, or straight out from the shoulders,which would force the pectorals to do most of the work. The elbows</p><p>Figure 3.4 During the descent phase,lower the bar to the highest point ofthe chest.</p></li><li><p>Bench PTESS 35</p><p>should be at a 45-degree angle between the rib cage and theshoulders to get the maximum effort from both muscle groups(figure 3.5).</p><p>Figure 3.5 The elbows should be at a45-degree angle between the rib cageand the shoulders.</p><p>ASCENTOnce the bar touches your chest, explode upward, creating momen-tum to go through the sticking point (most difficult part), which isusually about halfway up. You should exhale immediately afterpassing through this point. Continue pushing straight upward untilyour elbows are locked out.</p></li><li><p>3B Poweiiiftlng</p><p>Hand WidthThe biggest difference among lifters doing the bench press is thewidth of hand placement on the bar. Many will take the widest gripallowed, where they place the forefinger on the ring, which must becovered. This shortens the distance for the bar to travel and favorspeople with strong pectoral muscles and anterior deltoids. Somewill take a narrow grip, in which the little finger is about two fingerwidths inside the rings. This grip increases the distance the bcirmust travel and puts a great stress on the triceps muscles. Onlypeople with exceptionally strong triceps should use this technique.Beginners should start with hands shoulder width apart and thenbegin to experiment with various widths until they find the one thatbest suits them.</p><p>Support Work for the Bench PressThe following exercises will develop the muscles used in the benchpress. For exercise instructions, see pages 116 through 129.</p><p>1. Wide grip bench press2. Narrow grip bench press3. Nose breakers4. Dumbbell flies5. Dumbbell press6. Front dumbbell raise7. Press down on lat bar (triceps)</p><p>Most Common Mistakes</p><p>1. Lowering the bar too slowly to the chest. If you take too longto lower the bar to your chest, you are wasting energy andstrength needed to raise the bar back to a straight arm position.</p><p>2. Lowering the bar too quickly to the chest. If you allow the barto drop too quickly, you will waste energy and strengthcontrolling the bar as it nears your chest.</p><p>3. Exhaling during the descent. You should inhale fully, expand-ing the chest as much as possible.</p><p>4. Moving or shuffling the feet during exercise. Positioning yourfeet while sitting on the bench and placing most of your weighton your feet and shoulders will control movement.</p></li><li><p>Bench FVess 37</p><p>Helpful SuggestionsThe ready position</p><p>1. Chalk. Apply chalk to the hands to maintain a good grip and tothe upper back to prevent slipping on the bench.</p><p>2. Feet. Position the feet while sitting on the edge of the benchand keep them flat and planted throughout the lift.</p><p>3. Shoulders. Shoulders should be evenly spaced on the bench.4. Weight. Most of the weight should be on the shoulders and</p><p>feet.5. Buttocks. Your buttocks should only lightly touch the bench.</p><p>Descent</p><p>1. Breathing. Take a large breath of air before lowering the bar,keeping the chest expanded.</p><p>2. Bar speed. Lower the bar slowly to the proper spot on thechest, slightly above the nipples.</p><p>3. Bar movement. Stop the bar as quickly as possible to avoiddelay of the press command.</p><p>Ascent1. The blastoff. Drive off the chest with maximum effort to create</p><p>momentum in order to pass through the sticking point.2. Bar movement. Exert maximum effort throughout the lift to a</p><p>lockout position.3. Lockout. Maintain a lockout position until the referee gives</p><p>the "rack" command.Key points</p><p>1. Use a wide grip. This shortens the distance the bar has totravel.</p><p>2. Maximize the arch of your back. This shortens the distancethe bar has to travel.</p><p>3. Use maximum breath. This expands the chest and shortensthe distance the bar has to travel.</p><p>4. Slow, controlled descent. Keep control of the bar while hittingproper position on the chest (sweet spot).</p></li><li><p>Competitive Rules of Performance for the Bench Press(USAPL, formerly ADFPA Rulebook)</p><p>1. The lifter must lie on the back with head, shoulders, andbuttocks in contact with the flat bench surface. Feet must be flat onthe floor. This position must be maintained throughout the attemptonce the "press" signal has been given.</p><p>2. To achieve firm footing, the lifter may use plates or blocks notexceeding 7 inches (18 centimeters) in height and 17.7 inches (45 X45 centimeters) in length and width. The entire foot must be flat onthe surface.</p><p>3. The lifter may have a liftoff from the spotter or coach, whichmust be taken at arms' length, not at the chest.</p><p>4. The spacing of the hands may not exceed 31% inches (81 cen-timeters) measured between the forefingers. A reverse grip is per-mitted, provided that the distance between the little fingers doesnot exceed 81 centimeters.</p><p>5. After receiving the bar at arms' length, the lifter will remainmotionless until the signal is given. The signal will consist of theaudible command "press." Before receiving the signal, the lifter maymake any position adjustments without penalty.</p><p>6. After receiving the signal, the lifter lowers the bar until ittouches the chest. It must completely stop before it can be pressedback to a straight arm position and held motionless until the audiblecommand "rack" is given.</p><p>7. The bar is allowed to stop during the upward motion but isNOT allowed any downward movement of either or both hands.</p><p>Causes for Disqualification of a Bench Press</p><p>1. Failure to observe the signals at the commencement or com-pletion of the lift.</p><p>2. Any change in the elected lifting position during the lift (i.e.,any raising of the head, shoulders, buttocks, or feet from theirpoints of contact with the bench or platform/blocks, or lateralmovement of the body or the hand on the bar once the "press"signal has been given).</p><p>3. Heaving or bouncing the bar off the chest.4. Any uneven extension of the arms at the completion of the lift.</p></li><li><p>Bench F^^ss 39</p><p>5. Any downward movement of either hand as the bar is beingpressed upward.</p><p>6. The bar may stop; if in the opinion of the referee, the safety ofthe lifter is in jeopardy, the "rack" signal will be given.</p><p>7. Contact with the bar by spotter/loaders between the chiefreferee's signals.</p><p>8. Contact of the lifter's feet with the bench or its supports.9. Deliberate contact between the bar and the bar rest uprights</p><p>during the lift, which would aid the press.</p><p>SummaryThe bench press is a favorite lift for beginners because the resultsare noticeable in a short amount of time. It is also the easiest lift tolearn and master the proper techniques. If you have a good spotter,the possibility of injury is low. The muscles developed through thebench press are not only visually attractive but they give protectionto the vital chest area and help to stabilize the shoulder and elbowjoints.</p></li></ul>

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