Bench Press

The bench press has long been recognized as one of the most powerful components of a gym. By simply varying your grip and angle during the workout, you can target different muscle groups. The longest range of motion is produced, and the most muscles recruited, when a standard grip is used in which the forearms are vertical at the bottom of the movement. A wider grip shortens the range of motion at the top of the movement, lessening the contribution of the triceps. A narrower grip shortens the range of motion at the bottom, lessening the role of the deltoids and pectorals. A narrow grip is sometimes referred to as a close-grip bench press. Varied grip is a sound way to build overall upper body strength.

Incline Bench Press

Set the incline bench at about a 45 degree angle. Sit on the bench with your feet flat on the floor a little more than shoulder width apart. Position your back firmly against the bench. Using a grip slightly wider than shoulder width, hold the bar over your upper chest with your arms straight. Slowly lower the bar and make slight contact with your upper chest area. Drive the weight straight up over your chest until your elbows are locked, or close to it.

Decline Bench Press

Position yourself on a free weight decline bench press machine and grab the barbell above you with a grip that is slightly beyond shoulder width apart. Lift the barbell off of the rack and slowly lower it to your chest and then press the bar back to the start position. Because of the angle of this exercise, touching the bar to your chest is actually ok with this exercise as doing so does not cause unneeded stress on your shoulders nor does it take the emphasis away from having your pecs do the work. Be sure that when you are lowering the bar that you do so in a slow and controlled fashion. Conversely, when you press the bar upward, you want to do so in an explosive fashion. Repeat this movement for as many repetitions as you can until failure.