When you walk into just about any gym, it is likely that there are one or more people already doing bench presses.
They are an incredibly popular exercise and are done by gym regulars and by professional weightlifters and bodybuilders. There are many variations of the traditional bench press, one of which is the barbell bench press.
Pressing and Flexing
When just starting, it is recommended that men should begin by pressing 10 to 15-pound dumbbells and women by pressing 5 to 10-pound dumbbells. Many people who are looking to advance to barbell bench pressing start out with dumbbells, as they are easier to learn the form with. The dumbbell press can increase your range of motion because it allows you to extend your arms much longer than a barbell would. This increased range of motion can help prevent injury.
As this exercise can put a lot of strain on your shoulders and chest, it is necessary to ensure that both are appropriately stretched out and ready to go. For a simple and effective shoulder stretch, try putting your left arm to your right shoulder, while folding underneath your left arm. Then, use your right arm to press on your upper left arm for a sufficient stretch. Arm and shoulder circles are also useful when looking to stretch out both the pecs and shoulders.
To do the dumbbell press, start by laying on a sturdy bench. Your feet should be flat against the floor, and your dumbbells should be to the sides of your shoulders. When you begin, your palms should be facing down toward your lower body. Then, press the weights up. Extend your elbows until your arms are parallel and straight up. At the top, the weights should be closer together than where you started due to the natural trajectory of your arms. When you hit peak position, pause, then, lower the weights back down in a controlled fashion.
The Historical Press
The bench press in itself has a deep and complicated history. It has produced so many variations and has changed in many ways that it is difficult to trace its exact route linearly. The first type of press that emerged, however, was the floor press. This was invented by George Hackenshmidt. Since the press and its variations have been used for serious upper body weight-training. It is one of the most frequent exercises seen not only in person, but also in the media. When people think of weight lifting they frequently envision the dumbbell bench press.
The most common variation of this press is the barbell bench press. The barbell bench press is an incredibly effective exercise that allows people to push even more weight than with dumbbells by using the entirety of their body. However, the downside is that it lacks the same range of motion. You can also do this exercise in alternating fashion, lowering one dumbbell at a time while holding the other one. This can be good for those looking to key in on their control. Another variation involves putting the bench on an incline instead of flat. This targets a different area of your pectoral muscles and engages your shoulders a bit more. This variation is not recommended for those who have shoulder problems or pain, as it can worsen it.
The dumbbell bench press is undoubtedly an exercise that will continue to evolve. Since the floor press, it has proved a dynamic form and basis for a multitude of other exercises and lifts. It can target major muscle groups in your upper body, and effectively strengthen and improve your muscle health.