Bench Press

Lie faceup on a horizontal bench, with buttocks on the bench and feet flat on the ground:

  • Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip wider than shoulder width.
  • Inhale and lower the bar to the chest with a controlled movement.
  • Extend the arms and exhale at the end of the effort.

This exercise engages the complete pectoralis major muscle, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoid, serratus anterior, and coracobrachialis.


1. This movement may be performed while arching the back power-lifter style. This position brings the more powerful lower part of the pectoral muscle into play, allowing you to lift heavier weights.

2. Executing the extension with the elbows next to the body concentrates the work onto the anterior deltoid.

3. Varying the width of the hands isolates different parts of the muscle:

  • Hands closer together isolates the central part of the pectorals.
  • Hands wider apart isolates the lateral part of the pectorals.

4. Varying the angle of the barbell isolates different parts of the muscle:

  • Lowering the bar to the chondrocostal border of the rib cage isolates the lower part of the pectorals.
  • Lowering the barbell onto the middle part of the pectorals isolates the midline fibers.
  • Lowering the bar onto the sternal notch isolates the clavicular head of the muscle.

5. If you have back problems or want to isolate the pectorals, perform the extension with the legs raised.

6. Perform the extension at a frame that guides the bar.