Barbell Bench Press
This is the undisputed king of all upper body exercises. The primary muscles involved are the chest muscles – mid, upper, and lower pectorals. Secondary muscles used are the front delts, triceps, upper back, traps, and lower back. Performed correctly, you’ll also use your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles. (Though these are mainly stabilizing muscle groups).
Make no mistake about it, even with all the other muscles involved the bench press is a chest exercise. And it’s the best chest exercise by far. What makes the barbell bench press so effective are the mechanics involved and the large amount of weight that can be used. Maximum overload can be achieved very easily and the other muscles involved assist in meeting this overload.
Most people think the bench press is a straight forward exercise and it is. There are however, certain things you can do to increase your bench for greater overload and increased muscle growth.
To correctly perform a Max-OT bench press you need to properly position yourself on the bench. You have 4 connect points from the ground to the bar.
- Your feet
- Your butt
- Your shoulders
- Your hands
Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor. Not just placed on the floor, but more like glued to the floor. Your power in the bench starts here.
The next connect point is your butt. Your butt should be firmly planted on the bench.
The next connect point are your shoulders. From your butt to your shoulders your back should be comfortably arched.
The next connect point are your hands on the bar.
When you are ready to start your set your feet should be planted, your butt should be planted, your back should be arched and your shoulders should be planted. Your hands should be gripping the bar tightly. In this setup your body is like a coiled spring.
Remove the weight from the rack and lower it at a moderate speed. Not too fast and not too slow. Do not hesitate with the weight at the top. This wastes energy and speeds fatigue. Descend with the weight immediately. Lower the weight to just above the bottom of your sternum. As the weight touches your sternum allow it to sink into your ribcage 1 to 2 inches. From here explode up and back with the weight.
Max-OT Power Tip:
The explosion from the bottom of the movement is important. The explosive force from the bottom signals high contraction force and induces muscle cell hyperplasia.