Which Muscles Are Targeted When Doing Bench Presses?

It is possible to strengthen the muscles of the upper body, such as the pectorals, arms, and shoulders, by performing a bench press workout program. There are many various versions of bench presses that engage slightly different muscles, and your goals will determine which variation is best for you. For instance, a bench press with a tighter grip will provide an increased amount of focus on the triceps and forearms.

Other benefits of using bench presses in your weight training routine include building the strength of your upper body, boosting the muscular endurance of your upper body, and even preparing your upper body to perform exercises such as pushups. In addition, they are a useful form of strengthening workout for sports such as sprinting, hockey, and football.

Bench Press Workout Plan - bench press workout

The Bench Press Engages A Variety Of Muscles.

The chest, shoulders, and arms are some of the upper-body muscles that get worked when you perform bench presses.

Bench presses can be effective in targeting the following muscles, although the precise muscles that are targeted may vary significantly depending on the variant that you choose to perform:

  • Pectoralis Major..
  • Anterior Deltoid.
  • Triceps Brachii.
  • Biceps Brachii.
  • Serratus Anterior.

Continue reading to find out more information about bench presses and how to make the most out of this workout.

What Exactly Is Meant By “Bench Press”?

The bench press is a complex exercise that works the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and arms in the upper body.

During this exercise, the lifter reclines on a bench and presses a weight overhead using either a barbell or a set of dumbbells. When performing a bench press, you should begin by bringing the weight down to where your chest is located. After that, you should press the weight upward while extending your arms. This particular movement counts as one repeat, also known as a rep.

There are a number of distinct varieties of the bench press, and each one targets a different set of muscles. These may include reclining on your back, lying on an incline or decline, or bringing your hands closer together on the barbell. Other variations may also be possible.

What Kind Of An Effect Do Different Kinds Of Bench Presses Have On The Muscles?

Each form of the bench press works slightly different muscular groups in the body. According to a study that was conducted in 2017, variances include the following:

Traditional Bench Press.

Pressing a barbell up and down at chest height is the movement that makes up this exercise, which is performed by lying down on a flat bench. The chest, shoulders, and arms all get a workout from this movement.

Incline Bench Press.

This form of the exercise requires the bench to be tilted upward at an angle of between 45 and 60 degrees, so that you are leaning back somewhat. It focuses on strengthening the muscles in the upper chest as well as the shoulders.

Decline Bench Press.

If you want to try out this alternative, you’ll need to adjust the angle of the bench so that when you lie down, your feet will be in a better position than your head. Shoulder and chest muscles both get a workout from this exercise.

Narrow Grip Bench Press.

In this version, your hands will be closer together on the barbell than in the previous one. Both the triceps and the forearms get a workout.

It is not required that you perform each of these different exercises during the same session. It’s possible to injure a muscle group if you use it too much. This is especially important to keep in mind while you are lifting significant amounts of weight.

You can choose between two or more alternatives for each workout, which is great if you enjoy having options. Before moving between the different workout types, you should give yourself at least one or two days of rest so that your muscles can heal.

Instructions For Performing A Bench Press.

Traditional Flat Bench Press

Bench Press Workout Plan - Traditional Flat Bench Press

Equipment required includes a flat bench and either barbell or dumbbells (extra weights are optional).

  1. Place yourself face down on a table or bench. Holding a barbell with hands that are slightly broader than shoulder width will maximize your workout. The bar needs to be positioned so that it is directly over the shoulders.
  2. Maintain contact with the ground through the entirety of the exercise by driving your feet firmly into the ground and keeping your hips on the bench.
  3. Throughout the action, you should keep your core engaged and strive to maintain a neutral spine position. Try not to round out your back.
  4. If you are using the bar or dumbbells, carefully remove them from the rack. Bring the bar down to your chest until it is approximately at nipple level. At this point, allow your elbows to bend out to the side until they are approximately 45 degrees away from your body.
  5. When your elbows are at a level that is barely below the bench, you should stop lowering yourself. While pushing the bar back up to return to the beginning position, you should press your feet into the floor.
  6. Perform anywhere from 5 to 10 repetitions, depending on the weight you’re using. You should complete up to three sets.

Narrow Grip Bench Press

The following pieces of equipment are required: a barbell, a flat bench, and additional weights if desired.

Follow the instructions given above to perform a traditional bench press, but be sure to keep your hands shoulder-width apart throughout the movement.

Incline Bench Press.

Bench Press Workout Plan - Incline Bench Press

The following pieces of equipment are required: two dumbbells or a barbell, and an incline bench with an inclination ranging from 45 to 60 degrees.

  1. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and you should lean back slightly so that your back is resting against the bench. Your spine should be neutral in this position.
  2. To begin, bring a barbell or some dumbbells directly over your shoulders and hold them there. Turn your hands over so they are facing forward and wrap your thumb around the handle.
  3. You should press the weight up over your eyes or slightly higher while extending your elbows to a 45-degree angle.
  4. Inhale and lower the barbell or dumbbells gently and under control until they contact or come to rest just above the chest, keeping the elbows and wrists out to the sides throughout the movement.
  5. Press the weight again and complete approximately five or more repetitions. Keep in mind that the number of repetitions depends on the weight as well as your goals. When lifting weights, someone who is using larger weights might complete fewer repetitions than someone who is using lighter weights.

Decline Chest Press.

Bench Press Workout Plan - Decline Chest Press

Equipment required: a bench sloping downward at an inclination of 15 degrees as well as either dumbbells or a barbell.

  1. As you slowly lower yourself onto the decline bench, make sure to keep your back firmly pressed against the back of the bench the entire time. Your knees should be higher than your head. Put your feet in the stirrups that have been provided.
  2. If you are using dumbbells or a barbell, you should have a spotter assist you in lifting it off the rack. Maintain the weight directly over the shoulders, with the arms slightly spread apart and slightly below shoulder height.
  3. You should be able to raise the weight so that your arms are at a 45-degree angle when they are at the top.
  4. Reduce the weight gradually until it is at chest level while keeping the elbows out to the sides.
  5. Press the weight again and complete approximately five or more repetitions. Keep in mind that the number of repetitions depends on the weight as well as your goals. When lifting weights, someone who is using larger weights might complete fewer repetitions than someone who is using lighter weights.

Include Bench Presses As Part Of Your Regular Exercise Program.

If you want to incorporate bench presses into your weightlifting regimen, you should attempt to limit the number of times per week that you execute bench presses to between two and three. Allow at least one day of rest in between sets of bench presses to allow your muscles to recuperate and grow stronger.

Your fitness goals will determine how many repetitions you should accomplish during each session. If you are lifting extremely heavy weight, performing only three to five reps at a time may be sufficient to achieve the desired results. You are allowed to do up to three sets, with a few minutes of break in between each set. The number of sets required also is determined by the aim. A weightlifter who wants to enhance their strength might do anywhere from four to six sets, whereas someone who wants to improve their physical endurance might do anywhere from two to three sets.

Spend another day concentrating on your legs and shoulders by performing exercises such as squats, lunges, and overhead lifts in order to get a full-body workout. In addition, make sure that you incorporate cardiovascular exercises like jogging, swimming, and cycling into your weekly program.

It is essential to incorporate a variety of exercises into your regimen in order to ensure that you are training all parts of your body. You are able to take rest days with this type of weekly schedule, which is beneficial for allowing different muscles to recuperate.

Spot training, which consists of performing only one exercise at a time in an effort to grow a specific muscle group, may be less successful than performing full-body exercises. Keep in mind that your body will soon adapt to the exercises you perform, therefore it is essential to change up your routine in order to continue to push your body.

Frequently Asked Questions.

What Are The Benefits Of Doing A Bench Press?

Bench presses are a great way to tone the muscles of the upper body, including the chest, arms, and shoulders. They also help improve strength and endurance.

In addition, research conducted in 2018 reveals that including movements like bench presses into your fitness routine may bring other health benefits, including an increase in bone density.

What Is The Main Distinction Between Press And Bench Press?

There are many different types of exercises that might be referred to as “presses,” but they all have one thing in common: they all involve pressing movements. The leg press, chest press, floor press, and overhead press are all examples of possible exercises that fall within this category.

For example, you can perform the overhead press in either a seated or standing position. This is a very typical exercise. A barbell or a pair of dumbbells are pressed from the upper chest to the overhead position in this exercise.

The bench press, on the other hand, is an activity that works the muscles in the upper body by having the participant lie on a bench and press weights upward from their chests while performing the exercise.

Both of these exercises focus on the upper body, yet individual muscles are worked in quite different ways by each one. For example, a study conducted in the year 2020 found that the overhead press is more effective in stimulating the deltoids, whilst the bench press places more of an emphasis on the chest.

What Is The Optimal Number Of Times Per Week That I Should Perform The Bench Press?

Recent studies from 2018 have showed that strength development can be maximized by working out anywhere from once to three times each week.

However, how many times per week you should practice a bench press depends on the specific fitness goals you have set for yourself and the workout plan you follow.

There are many who believe that doing bench presses simply once per week is sufficient. Some people might discover that incorporating yoga into their regimen more frequently, say three to four times per week, yields better results for them than doing it less frequently.

Bench presses should be performed on days that are not consecutively one after the other for optimal results. This will provide your muscles sufficient time to recuperate between workouts.

How Much Weight Should You Be  Use  For Bench Press?

Your fitness level, size and shape, the amount of lifting experience you have, and your goals all play a role in determining how much weight you should bench press.

You should be able to obtain a good notion of how much weight you are capable of lifting with the help of the charts. After that, you can modify the weight as required to meet your specific fitness objectives.

For instance, if you want to improve your physical endurance, you might find it beneficial to reduce the amount of weight you lift and instead increase the number of repetitions you carry out. On the other hand, if your goal is to increase your strength, it may be more effective for you to perform fewer repetitions while lifting a heavier load.


The chest, arms, and shoulders can all be strengthened with the use of the powerful exercise known as the bench press. Work with a spotter if you are not experienced with the bench press. They are able to keep an eye on your form and ensure that you are lifting the appropriate amount of weight for your current level of fitness.

Consult with a qualified personal trainer if you lack the knowledge necessary to include bench presses into an efficient training plan. They are able to design a regimen for you that is focused on your objectives.

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