How to Barbell Bench Press

About the Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press has long been considered one of, if not the best upper body exercises for developing size, strength and power. The primary target of the bench press is the chest muscles (the sternal and clavicular head of the pectoralis major), but the shoulders (mainly the front deltoid head) and the triceps also are heavily taxed during the exercise.

Being a multi-joint, compound exercise enables athletes to safely use the bench press within a variety of training protocols. From low repetition, high load strength training, to higher repetitions with a moderate load for muscle growth, the bench press is a sound choice for many.

We would recommend athletes always grip the barbell with their thumbs wrapped around the bar for maximum safety, and avoid using the so-called (and aptly named) suicide grip.

How to perform


  1. Load the barbell with the correct weight and place on safety collars
  2. Lay flat on the bench, heels planted to the ground
  3. Grip the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip
  4. Dismount from rack


  1. Control the barbell down to your upper chest, stopping about an inch from your chest
  2. Press the weight back up so your arms are extended

Other Chest Exercises