One of the most popular exercises in the history of the weight room is the bench press. If you have any muscular development at all, someone has probably asked you "How much can you bench?"
The bench press is also one of the best exercises for building up your chest. A compound movement that incorporates the chest, deltoids and triceps, benching is great for building mass and strength. The key to getting the most out of this effort is proper training form.
To feel your muscles working during the bench press, concentrate on performing the movement correctly instead of trying to push the maximum amount of weight you can manage for one rep. The bench press is an "ego exercise" and too many people end up hurting themselves because they're using too much weight.
Try practicing this form the next time chest day comes up on your schedule. Grab the bar with a moderately wide grip. If your hands are spaced too closely, the triceps will get the brunt of the load. Placing your hands too far apart works the deltoids more than the chest.
Keep your elbows under the bar during the left. Your chest muscles will be under more stress when your elbows remain under the bar throughout the movement. If your elbows drift forward as the bar descends to the chest, the triceps will be emphasized more than the chest.
Finally, make sure you keep your back firm against the bench. Too many people arch their back to get a heavy weight up. It's much better to use less weight and keep your body flat to feel the exercise more. Check your ego at the door and watch your muscles grow using good form.
Natural Mr. Olympia
by John Hansen