The bench press is an upper body exercise that allows us to lift the most weight and build large amounts of strength and condition.
Despite this, mistakes are very common and it is the exercise that can cause the most injuries.
If you want to lift more weight and improve the size and quality of your muscle, avoid these three common bench press mistakes:
Avoid arching the back:
When lifting a heavy weight under strict form it is tempting to arch the back in an attempt to achieve a more comfortable biomechanical position – this is a natural reaction to try and generate more force.
Performing the bench press in this manner places intense strain on the lower back and can lead to serious injury.
Fighting the instinct and keeping the back against the bench will prevent the risk of straining and protect the lower back.
It is normal to have some arching of course, but this should be no more than a hands width between the lower back and bench at any time.
Don’t put your feet on the bench:
Placing the feet on the bench during a bench press can help to keep your back straight and many can consider this an advantage, but it dramatically reduces stability.
If you or the bar tips over to one side you will fall with it and the risks here are rather obvious.
Performing the bench press in this position also reduces the amount of weight that can be lifted and even the amount of repetitions that can be performed.
Keeping both feet planted firmly on the ground and driving down through the heels will allow you to lift with maximum effort and power.
Avoid locking the elbows:
Extending your arms during the lift until the elbows lock moves the emphasis from supporting the weight with the pectorals, deltoids and triceps directly to the skeleton.
Maintaining a slight bend in the elbows at the top of the press places more strain and work on the muscles, which leads to better gains in muscle size and quality.