The bench is a fairly simple piece of equipment but it still offers a lot of options when it comes to performing exercises. In addition to building your chest, shoulders, and arms, the bench is a great tool for training your core.
There are so many exercises to choose from, how do you know where to start? Well, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll cover the top bench exercises and explain how to perform them safely.
Bench exercises should be done with proper technique and form so you can use them to increase your strength and size. It not only helps with strength and size gains but also helps build muscle mass and burn calories when you perform them correctly.
Best Bench Exercises
The bench is a great piece of equipment to use in a home gym because it allows you to train nearly every muscle group.
Here are some great exercises you can do using a bench.
The bench press is a strength training exercise which involves lying on a flat bench, pushing weight away from you against a resistance force.
Bench pressing requires the weight lifter to push up with stiff arms and little movement at the shoulder and elbow joints and lower back.
To do this exercise:
- Lie on your back on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
- Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the bar.
- arch your back and drive your heels into the floor.
- Lift the bar off the rack and lower it to your sternum, tucking your elbows about 45 degrees to your sides.
- When the bar touches your sternum, drive your feet into the floor and press the bar back up to the starting position.
The bench press exercise is one of the most beneficial upper body strength training exercises. The bench press can be done safely, with good form to avoid injury, and the right workout program will provide benefits for both men and women in their efforts to improve upper body strength.
Bench presses develop the chest muscles particularly well, while also adding benefits to the triceps muscles. Bench pressing can be combined with other chest exercises or with additional arm or shoulder training to add a more well-rounded workout routine.
Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press is used for strengthening the upper body. It works your chest, shoulders, triceps and core muscles. The incline bench press exercise targets all muscles in the shoulder girdle. If you want to increase your strength without additional injuries, this is one of your best options.
Let’s take a look at the steps needed to perform the incline bench press exercise properly:
- Lie down on your back on an incline bench, with your feet flat on the floor and your head and neck supported by the bench.
- Using a medium-width grip, grasp the barbell with your palms facing away from you.
- Press the barbell up above your chest, extending your arms.
- When your arms are extended, lower the barbell back to the starting position.
Incline Bench Press exercise works the same muscles as the flat dumbbell bench press, but this variation emphasizes the upper pectorals which tends to be a weak muscle group for many people.
The angle of incline increases the mechanical advantage making it possible to use more weight and therefore placing greater overload on the working muscles.
Making this exercise progressive by increasing resistance and progressing from flat to incline pressing position will produce the greatest strength and maximum size gains for this muscle group.
Barbell Close-Grip Bench Press
The close-grip bench press is a barbell exercise that recruits the pectoral (chest) muscles. It is a useful accessory movement for upper-body strength training and can be performed as part of a wider range of targeted and full-body exercises.
The close-grip bench press is commonly used in bodybuilding and also forms part of many weightlifting programs for other sports including tennis, tennis, wrestling, and rowing.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Lie back on a bench press with your feet planted firmly on the ground and your back straight.
- Grasp the barbell with your hands closer than shoulder-width apart.
- Drive the barbell up towards the ceiling, extending your arms fully.
- Lower the barbell back down to your chest, tucking your elbows in close to your body.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions
The Barbell Close-Grip Bench Press is one of the most efficient and effective movements you can do for your chest. It’s easier to perform than other pressing exercises, especially if you have limited space in your home gym, but you also need to make sure you know how to get the highest degree of muscular activation for the best results.
Single Arm Dumbbell Row
The Single Arm Dumbbell Row is a great exercise that can be used to develop your arms and shoulders. This exercise focuses on the rhomboids and middle back muscles.
The rhomboids help you lift your arms and pull them closer to your body. The middle trapezius helps you rotate your shoulders down and back up so that you don’t lose the tension in the biceps.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Start by holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
- Bend at the waist and place your right hand on your right thigh or a bench for support.
- Allow the dumbbell to hang down straight in front of you.
- Keeping your back straight, slowly row the dumbbell up to your chest by contracting your back muscles.
- Pause for a moment at the top of the movement and then lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions and then switch arms and repeat with the left arm.
The Single Arm Dumbbell Row is a useful exercise to include in your workout. It is used to target the posterior chain and can be done as a hybrid lift with compound movements.
This exercise can also help rehabilitate weaker or injured shoulders and for scapulothoracic strengthening. The move at the top of the rep, especially with heavier weight, can be used to integrate core stability.
Incline Dumbbell Row
The incline dumbbell row (IDR) is an isolation movement that builds back and biceps strength. It’s one of the best isolation movements you can do for your back and arms.
The incline dumbbell row will target the middle part of your back, specifically the lats and biceps muscles that work together to move the weight up and down.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Set an incline bench at a 30-45 degree angle and lay face down with your legs firmly on the ground behind you.
- Keep your neck neutral, shoulders back and abs and glutes tight.
- Row the weight up into your waist and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of each rep.
- Slowly lower the weight back down and repeat for anywhere from 5-10 reps.
For those that want to build the back, incline dumbbell rows can be a great exercise. The back is one of the most difficult muscles in the body to fully develop because it is one of the largest muscles in the body and has so many other muscles influencing isolation from it.
This exercise will help you target your upper and middle back as well as your biceps. Therefore, if you are looking for a compound movement for your back then this is a great choice for you.
Incline Chest flyes
The incline chest fly exercise is another great chest–training exercise, which helps strengthen and firm up those muscles that are often forgotten about when compared to the upper body’s more attention-grabbing muscle groups.
As with most chest–training exercises, one of the first things you will notice is the increase in blood flow toward your chest as well as improved circulation and oxygen levels throughout this area of your body.
This can also mean the greater expansion of tissues (especially connective tissue like collagen) giving some much-needed support to your rib cage.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Sit on an incline bench positioned at a 30- to a 45-degree angle and rest a dumbbell on top of each thigh. Use your legs to help you lift the weights directly over your chest.
- Hold the dumbbells close together with your arms extended and your palms facing each other.
- Your back should be slightly arched and your glutes stabilized on the bench. This is the starting position.
- Now, inhale as you lower the dumbbells to your sides with your elbows fixed in a slightly bent position until your chest muscles are fully stretched.
- Exhale as you use your upper pec muscles to pull your upper arms across your body to bring the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Make sure to keep your chest lifted and shoulder blades pinned to the bench throughout the entire exercise. The incline chest flies are an effective exercise for building muscle and burning body fat. It is also a good exercise for bench pressing as well.
Flat Chest flyes
Flat chest flyes are a great exercise when it comes to toning the chest area. They target the chest muscles and develop that muscle group while working out your back and shoulder muscles as well.
This will lead to a healthy-looking and strong back which can help with posture and alignment. It is an important exercise for people who have been diagnosed with scoliosis or curvature of the spine, back injuries, or arthritis as these conditions often result in flattening of the chest area.
Here is how you do proper flat chest flyes exercises:
- Start by lying on your back on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Keeping your palms facing each other, raise the dumbbells to the level of your chest.
- From here, slowly lower the dumbbells out to your sides in a controlled manner.
- Once your arms are parallel with your body, pause for a moment before slowly bringing the dumbbells back to the starting position
5.Sit on an incline bench positioned at a 30- to a 45-degree angle and rest a dumbbell.
Flat chest flyes are a great way to work the upper part of your chest. They work the pectorals and deltoids, plus focus on the front of your chest. Because flyes force your shoulders down and away from your neck, this makes for a fantastic workout for the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
Seated Shoulder Press
The seated shoulder press is one of the most important exercises for your shoulders. When done correctly, it’ll develop that all-important upper pec development as well as sculpt and tighten your deltoids.
The seated shoulder press is also a popular movement for those who need to work on their delt development, but don’t have access to full weight training or machines.
To do properly seated shoulder press:
- Sit down on a comfortable bench or chair, with your feet flat on the ground.
- Take a weight in each hand and raise them to shoulder level, with your palms facing forwards.
- From here, exhale and press the weights upwards until your arms are fully extended above your head.
- Inhale and slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position.
Keep your spine neutral, your elbows tucked in, and control the weight straight up and down directly over your shoulders.
The seated shoulder press exercise is an awesome way to prevent and improve your shoulder health. It is a great alternative to the usual sitting-on-the-desk- typing position which significantly impacts along with weakens the entire upper part of our body.
The seated shoulder press exercise targets the upper part of our body, especially the shoulders and spine. Exercise has been proven useful for preventing various disorders related to these areas, like high blood pressure and obesity, which can lead to serious health problems.
Dumbbell pullovers are one of the best upper body exercises. They build your back, arms, triceps, and chest muscles. It is also a very effective exercise to help burn fat and improve your posture. Dumbbell pullovers help you fix any weakness in your shoulders or arms that could be causing trouble with performing other exercises.
To do this exercise:
- For beginners, start by holding a dumbbell in both hands and lying down on a bench or other flat surfaces.
- Slowly move the dumbbell over your head and then behind it until your arms are parallel to the floor.
- Return the dumbbell to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
- You can also do this exercise with one arm at a time.
The dumbbell pullover is deceptively effective in developing a strong and muscular upper back. The muscle under development here is the latissimus dorsi, and the pullover exercise most appropriately mimics the function with which this muscle is used in sports such as swimming, tennis, and volleyball.
So if you’re serious about building a stronger back, there’s no better exercise than the dumbbell pullover!
Bench exercises are a fantastic way to keep your body healthy. If you’re looking for a way to get in shape or find a new way to work out, try taking advantage of the surfaces that are already available around you. There are many exercises that can be done at a bench.
There are also many variations of each exercise. Each exercise is excellent for certain muscle groups and it’s up to you to decide which exercises you want to do and how you want to do them.