5 Biggest Bench Press Mistakes.

There’s no doubt that the bench press is one of the most effective strength training exercises available. To make the most of your time on the bench, avoid these 5 common mistakes and pitfalls:

  1. Bad shoulder and/or back posture. When performing reps on a bench press, good form is paramount. Ensure that your shoulder blades are squeezed in and retracted. While your butt and shoulders will make contact with the bench, you should maintain a natural curve in your lower back.
  2. Improper grip. Gripping the bar properly can make a world of difference and prevent wrist injury. Grasp the bar in the lower part of your palm and ensure that your wrist is over your elbow and in straight alignment with your forearm.
  3. Negative self-talk. If you say, “I’m not going to be able to lift this,” then you probably won’t; you’ve defeated yourself before you even started. Replace doubt and negative self-talk with positive affirmations. You may still fall short – but you’re more likely to get that extra repetition in. “I think I can” will get you further than “I think I can’t.”
  4. Lifting feet off of ground. As I’ve mentioned before, elevating your feet while bench pressing is dangerous. If you’re looking to add extra challenge or variety to your workout, try drop sets, incline or decline benches, negative sets or adjusting your rest time.
  5. Lack of goals. A lot of people perform exercises like the bench press without considering the larger picture. Everything you do in the gym should be connected to a goal. Are you training for size? Strength? Endurance? Maintenance? Depending on your goal or goals, you’ll need to use the bench press differently. Spend time articulating your goals and figuring out how the bench press can help you get there.

Do you have any other bench press mistakes that you’ve noticed while at the gym? Share them in the comments below!

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  1. Not Paying attention and spending more time staring at the spotters box than on what your doing!

  2. I stopped doing bench press due a shap pain right between acromion and bursa. The pain happens only when I lift up. Even tried to downsize the weight [from 30 lb to 28] and same results. I think it’s about 2. Improper grip. I’ll check it out tomorrow evening.. if not I’ll seek for an alternative for bench press. Nice article, really.

  3. @ Fadrick: A lot of times people can experience an acute pain in the anterior aspect of the shoulder. The most common cause of this is a decrease in the space behind your acromion (placing pressure on the bursa/lig/tendons). To help increase this space thus reducing pressure and pain there are a couple things you can do. 1) Work on shoulder stabilization with rotator cuff exercises. 2) Stabilizing your scapulas will pull your shoulders back and also open this space (seated row/lat pul downs). You can experience this effect over dramatizing perfect posture (stand straight, shoulders back, chest out). and 3) Stretch… the “sleeper” stretch is good for this one http://goo.gl/d5yzt

  4. I find, and really don’t know if it’s wrong, that I feel more of the workout in my arms than in my chest where I think I should.

  5. @GAY COUNTRY WES ► yes, i have same concept.. yesterday, googling, I read an article where the writer [i don’t remember his name right now] wrote bench press is good for arms but doesn’t increase your chest size [wich is the goal for everyone doing bench press]. After last couple months I haven’t seen any differences anyway… I gonna stop using bench press for next 2 weeks until September and check it out by myself if it’s true.

  6. I cannot get my wrists straight and I have tried your tip. Do you have any more suggestions on how to fix this?

  7. Vasil Nikolov says:

    Try not to hit your chest with the bar,and try when drop down to line the bar with you niples roughly.
    Also don’t push to the very end means do not get your arms fully straight.this will damage the elbows.
    Last thing use same spid up and down.