A Guide to Bench Press Benches

By: Wesley Lee

If you are getting started getting into shape by building your own home gym, then perhaps the most important thing for you to learn is how to use the various equipment, what it all does, and how it will benefit you.

While there is much to learn here though, the most important thing of all to learn is arguably the bench press and how to use the bench itself. This bench will allow you to do bench presses as well as a number of other exercises such as pec flies and dumbbell presses, and it will serve as a cornerstone for your home gym. Here we will look into it in more detail.

First of all, what is a gym bench? Well essentially this is a simple rubber bench that you lie down on and which will offer you support while you lift your various weights. The most common exercise to do here is the bench press which is where you simply press a barbell directly up over your head and chest while lying flat on your back. This trains the pecs, the shoulders, the abs, the triceps and the traps and is known as a compound movement because of its multifunctional nature. This is one of the most important exercises in the gym, and it's highly important you make sure to do it regularly.

For this reason the average bench will normally also come with a stand attached. This is what will hold the barbell for you to lift and to put back down, meaning you don't need to struggle onto the bench while holding 100kg.

Often bench presses will also come with a hinge feature too though, which enables you to incline or recline the back. This is highly useful as it enables you to alter the angle at which you are lifting your weights. An incline bench press means you are upright and targeting your shoulders more, while a decline bench press means you are leaning back and addressing the lower pecs.

Benches though are not only useful for bench presses and variations, but are also highly useful for a range of other exercises. You can also press dumbbells for instance in what is known as a dumbbell press. The bench here is still necessary in order to allow your elbows to come down lower that your body. Likewise you can use a bench just to support yourself, while curling a weight in one hand for instance so that you don't end up throwing your back into it (and so focussing on your biceps less). It can also be used to lean on for bent over rows which address the lats, or for putting your hands or legs on during calisthenics such as incline press ups or tricep dips.

In short then a bench press is one of the most versatile and useful pieces of gym equipment, and if you only get one thing for your gym then it should be this - though of course you will also need the weights in order to lift while you are using the bench presses.

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