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The bench press has long been a staple in gyms across the world, and is rather popular among men. When someone wants to know how strong you are, typically they ask how much you can bench. The reason is because it’s a pretty good indication of upper body strength, as the chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps are also used to varying degrees. The bench press is a pretty simple exercise to perform, as virtually anyone can do it.

If you are interested in learning how to increase the amount you can bench press, the good news is that you don’t need any special equipment or supplements to accomplish your goals. Regardless of what weight you can currently bench, there are techniques you can benefit from.

The grip is the first point of emphasis when getting ready to do a repetition. If you opt for a wide grip, then more pressure will be placed on the chest muscles and it will involves pushing more outward. On the other hand, a narrow grip involves the triceps a lot more, and you will be pushing more inward. The consensus is that the ideal grip is somewhere between the two, with your forearms perpendicular to the ground as you lower.

For those with little or no experience with the bench press, it might be best to start without any weight so all the emphasis can be on technique. Keep your shoulders and back down on the bench the whole time. Spread your feet out wide, with your legs at slightly less than 90 degrees.

Once you have established a grip and lifted the bar up, lower it down to the point on your chest where your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. As the bar comes into contact with the chest, press it straight up. Once again, I would recommend starting off just lifting the bar only, or very light weight, so you know what grip and landing spot on your chest is ideal. Having someone spot you is a good idea so they can provide feedback on your technique.

Most advise pausing when the bar comes into contact with your chest. What you don’t want to do is bounce it off your chest, as it will give you momentum. Momentum might sound good and make it easier, but it’s not the proper technique to use. You want muscles to do all the work so you get maximum benefits from each repetition.

Once the bar reaches your chest on the way down, pause before going back up. This will reduce the possibility of injury, and keep the bar in the right position.

Also, be sure to use a nice, controlled motion when pushing up. The inclination might be to go at a fast pace, but ultimately that can do more harm than good.