Barbell bench press

USED IN: Hypertrophy II; Strength I, II, and III

SETUP: Set a barbell on the uprights of a bench designed for chest presses. If the uprights are adjustable, make sure they're set high if you have long arms, or low if you

have short arms. Lie on your back on the bench with your feet spread wide and flat on the floor. Grab the bar overhand with a "medium" grip—your hands just outside shoulder-width apart. If you're using an Olympic barbell, you should have your pinkies on the smooth rings cut into the knurled part of the bar. Lift it off the racks (or have a spotter lift it off) and hold it over your chest with your arms straight, including your wrists (don't allow your wrists to bend backward, in other words). Your back should be in its natural arch; if you're an advanced lifter, you can (and should) exaggerate this arch to bring your chest closer to the bar. (As explained in Chapter 8, we shot this on a bench without uprights to make it easier to see the exercise performed. We also used an incline bench for the main photographs here for further clarity.)

LOWERING: Lower the bar to your sternum, just below the bottom of your pectoral muscles.

LIFTING: Push straight up. Make sure you bring the bar down to the same point on your sternum each time.


^ Barbell incline bench press (shown in photos on page 139)

USED IN: Hypertrophy III

SAME AS ABOVE, EXCEPT . . . Set the bench at an incline between 15 and 30 degrees. Lower the bar to your middle chest instead of the base of your sternum. The higher the angle, the higher on your chest you'll bring the bar.

* Barbell close-grip bench press (not shown)

USED IN: Hypertrophy I

SAME AS ABOVE, EXCEPT . . . You'll start with your hands closer together; you want your thumbs about twelve inches apart.

VERY COOL VARIATION ON THE VARIATIONS: Try incline close-grip bench presses.

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