Is the Bar Chest Press Still Necessary?

July 2, 2019

Bring It Back!


From the very beginning of weightlifting, the pillar of all around strength was based upon how much one could chest press. Whether it was the flat, incline, or even the decline press, having a strong upper body was more impressive then say how much one could squat and deadlift even though all 3 were important to train. Over the years, between sports science and the overall growth of the fitness industry, the bench press has become not quite as popular or as important in a lot of strength programs as compared to lower body, back, or shoulder training. Nowadays, it's really based on what you are training for and not just going to the gym and throwing the weights around. In my opinion, the bench press still has an important place in the fitness world today. 


“Why am I Having Pain in my Shoulder?”


One of the reasons this particular exercise sometimes gets a bad rap is that people seem to not be able to do the movement right. A lot of us, (Im guilty of it too) tend to put too much weight on the bar which leads to over compensation from the shoulders and push the bar back up. Over time, this can lead to an injury. Also, we tend to bring the bar down closer to our shoulders instead of bringing the bar down closer to the lower part of the chest. I know its a kick to our egos when we want to go higher in weight, but it's worth it in the long run. 


Proper Technique


It all starts from the floor ironically. The bench press itself is more than a chest dominant exercise. It requires the help from the lower body stabilizing too. So here's what we need to do:

  • Twist your feet into the ground to help lock down and stabilize the lower body

  • Squeeze the glutes

  • Have a little arch in the back (no candy cane back)

  • Bring those shoulders down and back 

  • Pinch the shoulder blades to help open chest up

  • Drop arms on the side then raise them up on the bar to have your hands in proper position

  • Bring bar down to lower part of the chest line and press it back up to its starting position. This movement will create a little angle while pressing it which is what you want. 



“How's it Transferable?”


Just like any muscle in the body, chest pressing will help lean up not only the chest muscles, but the triceps and a little bit of the front delts as well. What it also does mentally for us is help us feel stronger and more confident in the whole workout we are doing especially when we hit a new PR (personal record). It also will help with performing push ups with the same technique and movement applies. 

Athletic wise, mostly sports such as:

  • Football

  • Wrestling

  • Gymnastics

Will benefit more from doing strong chest work, however any sport you train for would benefit as well it just doesn't need to be completely focused around it as much as compared to these sports. So no matter what you train for, the bench press still has its place amongst the great exercises to incorporate in our programs. 



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