Proper bench press form: avoiding injury
Bench press safety is vitally important. Proper bench press form is essential not only for effectively building muscle but also for avoiding injury. If you practice bad form constantly, there is a good chance you wont be bench pressing for long after. By following the instructions on how to bench press properly below, you shouldn’t have a problem with any bench press related injuries.
Lets break down how to set yourself up for good form….
1. Lay down on the bench so that you are laying front side up with your eyes looking up at the bar.
2. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Arch your lower back slightly as you squeeze your shoulder
3. Grab the bar with both hands. Depending on how you want to bench your hand placement will change. However for a standard benching position, wrap your pinkies around the ring area of the bar. Unrack and center the bar on the base of your palm and keep your wrists straight and locked.
4. Inhale, hold your breath, and unrack the bar. With your elbows locked, center the bar over your shoulders. Prepare to lower the bar
5. As you keep your elbows at about a 45 to 60 degree angle lower the bar to around your mid chest- close to your sternum
6. Press the bar back up to the previous position (bar over shoulders) explosively and forcefully. Be sure to exhale as you do so.
Common causes of injury?
Bench press injury is something that can easily be avoided if you take the proper precautions. Below are some of the most common mistakes people make that result in injury
Gripping the bar the wrong way can result in more serious injury then you might think. Grab the bar and make sure that the actual bar is resting at the base of your hand and be sure to wrap your thumb around the bottom of the bar. This is known as a full grip.
This is extremely important. Do not try to implement a thumbless grip. It might seem more comfortable or perhaps feel more natural, however one slip up and you can seriously injury yourself if the bar was to fall due to an insecure grip.
In addition, be sure to make sure that your wrists are locked into place as well. By bending your hand backwards you can severely strain your wrist and injure yourself.
You must be sure to keep your elbows at a 45 to 60 degree angle from your body as mentioned before.
Benching with your elbows at a 90 degree angle you will likely damage your shoulders but also can put tremendous strain on your chest. Tucking your elbows too closely to your body is simply improper form and will give you less benefit .
Wrong path of the press
It is important that you bring the bar down and up in the proper trajectory. From the initial position where the bar is directly above the shoulders bring it down to the middle of the chest and then back up to the initial position. Do not bring the bar down in a straight, vertical line. This is a common error that allows for improper elbow placement.
Too Much Weight
This is the easiest one to avoid. If you can not bring the bar back up when it comes down you shouldn’t be benching that much. Plain and simple
Keep in mind that bench press safety is ensured most of the time when you have a spotter. This cant be stressed enough. Most injuries can be avoided if you just have a spotter on hand. Even if you are slightly unsure if you can handle the weight, do not hesitate to ask for one.