The bench press is a compound exercise that involves the pectoralis major of the chest, the anterior deltoids of the shoulder, and the triceps brachii of the upper arm.It builds strength as well as encourages the growth of these muscles.

The bench press can help restore muscle balance for athletes that primarily use pulling muscles, such as in rock climbing & swimming.

Beginners and those lifting heavy weights should get the assistance of a “spotter” who stands behind the rack and assists with the bar when you have trouble lifting.

Here is a “How to” guide.

Lie on the bench under the rack that holds the bar. Your eyes should be approximately aligned with the front of the barbell rack uprights. Your backside, shoulders, and head should be flat on the bench with a slight. Arch your back drawing your shoulder blades back behind you to keep from pressing with rounded shoulders. Your feet should be flat on the floor and relatively wide apart.

Grasp the bar with your thumbs on the outside of a closed fist, using an overhand grip, with your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. The angle of your upper arms should be about 45 degrees to the body.

Remove the barbell from the rack and lock your elbows out before lowering the bar to your chest, at the nipple line. Don’t move the bar in an arc from the rack directly to the chest position.

Take a deep breath and raise the bar above your chest with your arms extended, exhaling while you push upward and aiming consistently at the same spot on the ceiling. Don’t watch the bar; focus on the ceiling.

To finish, place the bar on the rack from the locked-out position. Move the bar backward gradually until you feel the rack uprights, then lower the bar to the rack rest. Do not try to hit the rack rests directly. If you miss, you can lose control, which can be dangerous.