7 deadly bench press sins

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Bench press

Image source: Jasminko Ibrakovic
Do you bench on chest day?

Love it or loathe it, chest day is a big part of a bodybuilder’s routine. Bench pressing might be the best way to build perfect pecs, but are you guilty of one of these 7 deadly sins…

1. Lifting your max load too often

You shouldn't always lift your max load!

Image source: HP Productions
You shouldn’t always lift your max load!

Many people think that benching their maximum load often will increase their bench…WRONG!!

Lifting your max all the time breaks and tears down the muscles which causes your bench to ‘drop’. Your bench is never supposed to go down. Others do their maximum so much that they get injured. This shouldn‘t happen either.

Doing your maximum is a one time deal or ‘once in a blue moon’ thing… A one off tester. After you’ve done it once, you don‘t need to do it again.

2. Multiple chest days every week


Image source: Rodionov Oleg
Once a week is enough!

Doing your chest three times a week won‘t make it stronger either. Your chest can only take so much work and it needs to recover.

You need to work the other muscles that work the bench and beyond. This also causes your bench to go down which, again, should not happen.

3. Having a ‘bench competition’ amongst friends

Gym friends

Image source: Syda productions
Save your competition for a bench meet

Many of us are probably guilty of this… In the gym, this sort of thing happens.

Somebody starts talking about benching more than their buddy and it starts a challenge. This is a big no-no. You don‘t need to do this and it can hurt your ego. Even worse, someone can get injured.

If you want to challenge someone, do it at a bench meet. That‘s the perfect motivation for it.

Don‘t try to prove something to your friends. If they don‘t believe you can‘t bench 400lbs at 18 years of age, then they don‘t. Prove it to them when you hit 500lbs!!

4. Benching directly to your upper chest

Shoulder injury

Image source: Cristovao
Benching to your upper chest can cause rotator cuff injury

When you bench directly to your upper chest, it puts a strain on the shoulders/rotator cuff. This risks causing a rotator cuff injury.

When you work up to doing heavier weights, you increase the chance of getting a rotator cuff injury. You need to bench below your lower chest. You get more explosion, as well as strength, that way.

5. Not warming up

Warming up

Image source: Syda productions
Remember to warm up

This sin happens even to the best of us. We all know warming up is annoying and many of us warm up on the bench incorrectly.

For example, some do too many reps with light weight causing them early fatigue. These people won’t achieve their maximal potential. It generates frustration, can reduce the amount they can bench, and causes lifters to give up.

Constantly moving on the bench is also a sin. It’s not a smooth motion and it can cause injury.

6. Using a ‘closed-grip’ hand position

Grip dumbell

Image source: MJ 007
Keep your grip ‘open’

Some people teach beginners to use a ‘closed-grip’ hand position. DON’T!

If you use a ‘closed-grip’ hand position on the bar, your hands are outside the spacing on the bar. When doing a bench press properly, one of the fingers has to touch that spacing.

The close-grip bench press is good for only working triceps, it doesn‘t work the chest.

7. ‘Snaking’ on the bench

Big bench press

Image source: Istvan Csak / Shutterstock.com
No snaking!

‘Snaking’ means moving (like a snake) on the bench. Snaking on the bench makes correct movement more difficult and could cause injury. You don‘t want that.

It is caused by attempting to lift too much… and big egos.

Drop the weight and reign in your ego. Get back to the perfect form.

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