Interest in fitness has skyrocketed since the pandemic began. According to Google Trends data, searches for “fitness” or “weightlifting” apps have increased more than 190% year-over-year. Among the most popular gym exercises people look for are squats, dumbbells, and deadlifts. Butone’s analysis shows that by far the most popular weightlifting exercise among both men and women is the bench press.
The bench press is a popular piece of fitness equipment because the workout delivers the results bodybuilders expect, it is a simple exercise that is easy to perform, and because it offers many benefits. health other than just muscle growth.
How to Bench Press properly?
Like many forms of resistance training, the bench press requires the use of some basic exercise equipment. These include a reclining bench, a long barbell placed on a sturdy rack on both sides of the bench, and weight plates of varying weights added to each side of the barbell in equal amounts. and then fixed with clamps. at each end.
Once you have the right equipment, the most effective exercise requires good posture. Jackie Miller, a certified IRONMANand USA triathlon coach who has been consulting athletes for 18 years, says the trick to proper bench press form is to follow these steps:
- Lie on your back on an exercise bench, knees bent to the sides and feet firmly on the ground. “The dumbbell should be above your chin when you lie down,” says Miller.
- Grasp the barbell with both hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with elbows extended directly under each hand.
- While keeping your elbows extended, push the bar up and away from the rack and carefully move it forward until it is just above your chest.
- Inhale as you slowly lower the bar to your chest in a controlled manner. “Gently touch the bar to your chest but don’t bounce it off,” Miller advises.
- Exhale as you push the bar toward the ceiling in a straight line until your elbows and arms are straight again.
- From there, you can return the bar to the rack or continue the same measured up-and-down motion with short pauses between each repetition (called reps) for as many sets as you feel comfortable with. roof.
“Once you feel tired like Burning muscles or feeling too tired, it’s time to gain weight.
What is the effect of a bench press? What about the incline bench press?
Done properly, the exercise works many muscle groups, but its main target is the pectoralis major, commonly known as the pecs. “This is a large, fan-shaped muscle located on our ribs and on our chest,” Adams says. She explains that the job of these pectoral muscles is to help move the shoulders and control the movement of both arms in front of the body.
The bench press also works other muscles. “The triceps get some good pressure as well as an exercise that helps lengthen the elbow,” Adams explains. So do supporting muscles like the deltoids, biceps, forearm muscles, rib muscles, and the latissimus dorsi, which help stabilize the wrist and shoulder blades.
This exercise is also unique because it can be adapted to more broadly target each muscle group.
Dr. Matthew Best, director of research in the division of sports medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, explains that lifting from an incline bench engages a person’s upper pectoral muscles, while slowly moving the bench press will engage the body. touching a person’s lower chest muscles. However, in both regimens, “it’s important to avoid trying to lift weights that are too heavy or performing exercises too quickly, which can lead to injury,” he adds.
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What are the health benefits of bench pressing?
In addition to increasing upper body strength in each of these muscle groups, bench presses have other health benefits. These include improved stamina and endurance, increased mobility, and some studies show this exercise can also increase bone density.
Performing the exercise also partly meets the physical activity recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For optimal health and strength, the agency recommends 75 to 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per week in addition to muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
Maintaining this level of physical activity can improve a person’s brain health, help control weight, reduce disease risk, and improve the ability to perform daily activities, the CDC notes. of a person. “Many people are initially interested in weight training to increase muscle size, but quickly realize that our muscles are involved in all kinds of hormonal interactions such as reducing inflammation, stopping inflammation,” explains Adams. stress response and brain cell development”. “Building both muscular endurance and muscle strength throughout your body will benefit your health.”
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