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Everyone reading this has one thing in common: we were all beginners at one point or another. Some of you that are here may be a beginner now. Regardless of the level you’re at, we have all learned the basic movements when we started working out. Even if you’re someone who is training at an advanced level or for a different sport, revisiting those simple exercises like the barbell bench press can help you achieve a new level of personal fitness success.
FLEX magazine social media director David Baye is going to revisit these classic lifts so you can become masters of the movements and take your physique to a new level. The first exercise in this “Back 2 Basics” series is the flat barbell bench press.
Eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney calls the bench press a “bread and butter” exercise. It’s well-known for being one of the “big three” lifts in powerlifting, but it does serve bodybuilders well also. It’s primarily a chest movement, but the anterior head of the shoulders and your triceps will also play a positive role. Those areas will see their own benefits as a result.
Baye advises that anyone who may have shoulder issues or trouble with mobility should avoid this particular exercise. “If you do have shoulder mobility issues or someone who’s had a previous pec injury, the bench press may actually not be the best chest exercise for you. If you’ve had pec injury issues, shoulder injury issues, or mobility issues, you may want to talk to a doctor or physical therapist before doing the bench press.”
Most of the advanced lifters know this already, but you beginners need to take heed. Proper form and execution is a must if you want to achieve muscular growth while minimizing the risk of injury. Throwing plates on for ego lifting, or assuming you know what you’re doing without instruction will not help your cause.
In the video, Baye is using light weight for instructional purposes, but he does advise having someone available when you start going heavier. “It’s always imperative to have a spotter, especially with bench press, because this is an exercise that when you get stuck, you can really be stuck.” You can have one spotter behind you to unrack the weight or have partners on both sides of the bar ready to assist if needed.
Below is a sample routine that Baye offers for beginners to try. There are two warmup sets listed, but do as many as you feel you need to before you begin your work sets. All work sets should result in you being on the verge of failure within the recommended rep range.
|Back 2 Basics Barbell Bench Press Workout|
|Flat Barbell Bench Press
*2 warmup sets of 8-10 reps
|Incline Dumbbell Press||3-4||8-10|