The bench press is considered to be the best exercise for the upper body. It’s a classic and has been tested by time as a great weight lifting exercise used by powerlifters, strongmen and weightlifters. You get improved strength, increased muscle mass, and improved athletic function. There are many good reasons to include this exercise in your workout routine. So here is a list of 5 bench press benefits to help you understand what you can actually get out of it.
5 Bench Press Benefits
Upper Body Strength
The main benefit of the bench press is, of course, the increased upper body strength. However, it’s not only about the chest. The exercise activates several different muscle groups in your upper body.
First of all, it builds the pec major, which is the muscle that gives the pecs their large, strong appearance. This is also the muscle that helps you to push the weight away from your body.
The exercise also utilizes the pac minor, which is the muscle that lies deep under the pec major. This muscle works in movements that require scapular downward rotation.
The pressing movements of the bench press also strengthen the serratus anterior muscles. These are located between the armpits and the ribs, wrapping around the rib cage. Well developed serratus muscles can improve the functionality of your core, especially in twisting motions.
Bench pressing will also give you bigger arms. The different ranges of motion that are involved in the lift utilize directly all three heads of the tricep: medial, long and lateral. As a result, your arms will be getting bigger and stronger.
You also develop stronger anterior and medial deltoids, which is the shoulder muscle group. These are the muscle that surrounds your shoulders and give them the big and broad look.
As you can see, the bench press utilizes quite a few upper body muscle groups, giving you a chiseled chest and big triceps. And the more weight you bench press, the bigger and stronger those muscles will be.
Increased Bone Density
Bench pressing also makes your bones stronger and healthier. Being a weight-bearing exercise, meaning that it forces you to hold a lot of weight with your body’s structure, it has huge bone-building benefits. The process of bone building in bench press works the same way as doing aerobic exercises for a stronger heart.
The exercise causes your bone cells, known as osteoblasts, to deposit bone tissue in the bones. When you put the bones under the pressure of heavyweights, it forces the osteoblasts to start working. As a result, your bones become denser and stronger. And the heavier load you do, the more bone cells are spurred.
This benefit becomes especially important as you get older. A person reaches peak bone density in the late 20s. After that, the bones start laying less and less new bone mass. This can lead to degenerative bone diseases, such as osteoporosis. So including the bench press into your workout routine can help you avoid these diseases. Also, the stronger your bones will be, the harder it will be to cause an injury to them.
Increased Push Strength
Another great benefit of the bench press is the increased push strength. It improves the amount of weight we can push. It’s also a functional exercise, meaning that the motions and muscles you train can be used in your everyday life. Moreover, the bench press will also make you stronger for performing other push exercises, such as push-ups, barbell overhead press or dips.
The bench will also improve your ability to move through a natural range of motion. In addition to working your muscles, the exercise will also help to maintain and improve flexibility in your shoulder and elbow joints. Then, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of an improved range of motion in your everyday life and when performing other exercises in your workout.
Bench presses also benefit your joint health. As you get older, the cartilage in between your joints slowly deteriorates. It can lead to severe pain, limited motion and osteoarthritis. The reason behind that is that the cartilage acts like a sponge that keeps fluids with nourishing nutrients. However, the fluid needs to be regularly replaced in order to bring in new nutrients. And the bench press provides just that.
The weight bearing of the bench press exercise puts pressure on your joints and squeezes out the cartilage like a sponge, forcing out the water molecules. Then, as you lift the weight, the water molecules return, bringing in the nourishing oxygen and nutrients.
So if you want to prevent joint issues, such as osteoarthritis, bench pressing is definitely something you should start doing.
The last but not least benefit is that you will undeniably look and feel better. A big chest and triceps are a great way to show your strength. The big, bulging muscles will make you feel good about your self-image and will give you a good confidence boost. The simple fact of life is that our self-confidence is greatly influenced by the way we look.
In all, the bench press is an incredibly effective exercise for improving your strength and power. If done correctly, it will also improve your range of motion and bone health. On top of that, So, if you want to get a big and strong upper body, you should definitely include the bench press into your workout routine. As one study found, it can also predict upper body strength for a variety of other movements.
If you’re just starting out with the bench press, we recommend in the beginning using just the bar. Learn the proper form, which will help you to get maximum results out of the exercise and will also help to prevent injuries to the shoulders, wrists and back. Later, as you build more strength in the small muscles of the upper body and master the movement, you can add plates. To make even more difficult, you can also add variations. For example, you can incline or decline the bench.
If you want to build more muscle mass with the bench press, perform more repetitions (8-12). This will put more tension on the muscles and as a result, it will challenge them to build more muscle.