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The Flat Barbell Bench Press is one of the most popular exercises in the gym, yet how many people actually know the right proper form of doing it?

The Bench Press is a full body, compound exercise. It works your chest, shoulders and triceps most. It is the most effective exercise to gain upper-body strength and muscle. The bigger your bench, the bigger your chest.

In this article, you will learn the technique, several tips, and explosive secrets to bench press form. These tips will instantly help you improve your bench press RIGHT NOW!

Follow these general bench press guidelines when you do your next bench press rep.

The Bench Press Technique

1. Lie on the flat bench with your eyes under the bar. Lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder-blades. Hold the bar in the base of your palm with a full grip and straight wrists.

2. Unrack the bar by straightening your arms. Lower it to your mid-chest. Hold your breath at the bottom.

3. Press the bar from your mid-chest to above your shoulders. Lock your elbows at the top and breathe.

Bench Grip

Don’t Bench Press with the thumbless grip. The bar can slip out of your hands and drop on your face. Wrap your thumbs around the bar using the full grip. The bar can’t slip out of your hands if your thumbs are there to secure it.

Bench Grip Width

Don't grip too wide. Don't grip too narrow. The most effective way to Bench Press is to go for medium grip.

Head Position

Lie on the bench with your eyes under the bar. This shortens the distance between the Power Rack and your shoulders. It makes the weight easier to unrack. Don’t lie low on the bench or the bar will have to move further when you unrack it. This wastes strength and it’s unsafe. The bar should be over your eyes when you lie on the bench and look up.

Lower Back Position

Don’t Bench Press with a flat back. Get a natural arch in your lower back. Don’t over-arch either. Lie on the bench with a natural arch in your lower back. Arching your lower back helps keeping your chest up. It increases effectiveness when you Bench Press.

Feet Position

Feet on the bench is bad. Don’t put your feet on the bench or in the air to feel your muscles better. It’s unstable and ineffective for Benching heavy weights because you can’t use your legs. Bench Press with your feet on the floor. Feet on the floor increases stability, balance and strength.

Bottom Position

Touch Your Mid-Chest. Lower the bar to your mid-chest. The exact position depends on your build, grip and arch.


Don’t keep your elbows bent to keep tension or feel your muscles more. Finish every rep by locking your elbows. Lock them so your stronger skeleton holds the weight at the top, not your muscles. Your elbows will be safe as long as you don’t hyper-extend your elbows. Lock them at the top, but don’t go past their normal range of motion.


1. Breathing inhale at the top: It helps keeping your chest up, shoulder-blades squeezed and back arched.

2. Hold at the bottom: Don’t exhale at the bottom. Your chest will deflate like a balloon, you will lose tightness and the weight will be harder to Bench Press. Hold your breath on the way down and at the bottom.

3. Exhale at the top: Exhale once you’ve locked the weight over your shoulders.

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Written by Sapna Vyas Patel , PhD in Nutrition Science and Dietetics
Sapna writes simple, easy to understand articles that are based on pure scientific evidence. She is one of the most popular fitness professionals in India and is followed on social media by fitness enthusiasts, nutritionists, dieticians, doctors, trainers, and professionals.

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