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A step by step guide for a proper bench press

This is an excerpt from Youth Strength Training by Avery Faigenbaum and Wayne Westcott


Pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps


  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. If your feet don’t reach the floor, use a stable board to accommodate size. Grasp the barbell with a wider than shoulder-width grip, wrapping thumbs around the bar. Hold the barbell at arm’s length above your upper-chest area.
  2. Slowly lower the barbell to the middle of your chest. In the bottom position the forearms should be perpendicular to the floor. Pause briefly, then press the barbell to the starting position. During the movement, the upper arms should be about 45 to 60 degrees from the torso and the hips should remain on the bench.

Technique Tips

A spotter should be behind the lifter’s head and should assist the lifter with getting the barbell into the starting position and returning the barbell to the rack when finished. Impress on young weight trainers the importance of a spotter during the exercise because the bar is pressed over the lifter’s face, neck, and chest.

Learn this exercise with an unloaded barbell or light weight.

Do not bounce the barbell off the chest, and do not lift your buttocks off the bench during this exercise.

To avoid hitting the upright supports, position your shoulders at least 3 inches (~8 cm) from the supports before you start.

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Youth Strength Training

Youth Strength Training

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Youth Strength Training
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