Top 10 Bench Press Form Tips

  1. Squeeze the bar as hard as you can from the moment you unrack the bar until you finish the lift. This causes all your muscles to contract harder through the irradiation principle.
  2. Powerlifters advise squeezing your shoulder blades together. This shortens the range of motion allowing you to lift more. They say it’s safer for your shoulders, but others say the opposite. Some people also believe it increases the activation of the pecs.
  3. Take a big breath of air into your chest before you unrack the bar. This will keep you stable on the bench.
  4. Make sure the bar is at the base of your hand, right above your wrist. If the bar is high up in your hand, you will lose strength. Don’t let your hand flop backwards and never use a thumbless grip. It’s dangerous and you won’t lift as much.
  5. Twist your hands against the bar like you’re trying to snap it in half. Your hands won’t actually move, but this will still cause stabilizing muscles in your shoulders to contract, giving your more strength.
  6. Do more warmup sets, but don’t do as many reps in the sets. A good warmup should never fatigue you; it should amp you up to lift big weights! For example, if your max bench is 275, a good warmup would look like this: 45 x 10, 95 x 10, 135 x 6, 165 x 3, 195 x 3, 225 x 2, 245 x 1, 265 x 1, 285 x 1 (10 lb more than your max!)
  7. Squeeze your abs and glutes while you lift, this allows force to transfer through your body better.
  8. Dig your feet into the floor and drive with them like you’re doing a leg extension against the floor. Believe it or not, this can add quite a bit to your bench press.
  9. Imagine that your are pushing yourself down into the bench, instead of pushing the bar up off your chest. This tricks your brain and often makes the bench press feel way stronger.
  10. Lower the bar down to your nipples or slightly below. Lowering the bar high up on your chest is bad for your shoulders and is much weaker.
  11. Now go set a new bench press max!!

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