The Official Bench Press Check List (AVOID MISTAKES!)

  • Published: 11 January 2017
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    The bench press is one of the most classic powerlifting lifts you can add to your chest workout. That said, it is one of the most complex simply because there are so many places in the lift that you can go wrong. In this video, I created a check list to give your helpful reference for each of the most important places in the lift that you will want to get right so you can increase your gains and keep your joints safe in the process.

    As a physical therapist, one of my biggest concerns will always be the long term safety of a movement as well as the risk to reward ratio of performing the lift. In the case of the bench press, this is one of the most fundamental power moves that all athletes and novice lifters should master. There are plenty of things that can go wrong however, and the joints like the shoulders, wrists, elbows and even your back can become vulnerable if you don’t get it right.

    The first thing you need to note is where you are going to be doing the bench press in the first place. Ideally, you’ll have access to a power rack that you can set up a bench in and have the appropriate pins in place to catch the bar should you fail. If doing it here, you will also want to put the clips on the ends of the bar for added safety. If you are training at home however, the clips might be best left off the bar just in case you get stuck under the bar and need a way to dump the weights to get out from under it.

    Next the alignment of the bar in the rack and the bench on the bar is crucial to setting up a good lift. Simple enough, but make sure that everything is centered before laying back on the bench. Next look up at the bar and ensure that your eyes are at the same height as the bar itself. This will set you up for a good liftoff from the rack. Along the same lines, you want to be sure that your bar holders are not too high or too low. If you arms are fully extended as you reach up for the bar then you are set too high and will have no leverage when it comes to lifting the bar out of its resting position.

    Next focus on the position of your feet and your chest before initiating the liftoff. Your feet need to be under your knees in order to be able to contract the glutes during the movement and add to your pushing power on the bench press. If they are too far out in front of you, much of your pushing power will be lost before you even begin.

    Likewise your chest must be arched. This establishes a stable base of your shoulder blades pushing down and into the bench, which will act as a counterforce for the bar as you press it in the opposite direction. Lift the bar and tighten the abs as you lower it down to the chest. The bar path is crtiical. Make sure it is traveling down and forward and not just straight down. This will be more easily accomplished by keeping your elbows tucked closer to your sides, about 75 degrees away.

    At the end of your set, fully straighten the elbows and then slowly allow the bar to travel backwards towards the catches. From here, lower the bar once it has engaged the rack and you’re done. A perfectly executed bench press set. Let the chest gains begin, and let the healthy shoulders and joints continue!

    If you are looking for a complete training system that puts the science back in strength to help you get the most out of every lift while keeping the latest in sports medicine at the forefront of your workouts to ensure your gym longevity, head to and get your ATHLEAN-X Training System. Start training like an athlete so you can look like an athlete in the next 90 days and beyond.

    For more chest workouts and videos on how to do the bench press and the best bench press for your upper chest, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on RUclip at
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Comments • 4 191

  • MattSynyster
    MattSynyster  7 hours back

    i have small forearms, i highly doubt that i can do benchpress

    • Brad Greenan
      Brad Greenan  1 days back

      why would I take bench tips from a guy with no chest

      • santiago casado
        santiago casado  2 days back

        10 mins for 3 reps smd

        • Kenny Landmon
          Kenny Landmon  2 days back

          Thank you so much! So appreciate all that you share.

          • Nabeel Khan
            Nabeel Khan  3 days back

            what does it mean to bench 140. is it 140 pounds or kilograms? on one side of the bar or thr combined weight of both plates?

            • hashogkage
              hashogkage  3 days back

              It just made my Bench worse.

              • Willie Gribble
                Willie Gribble  3 days back

                Appreciate the tips. Just started watching your videos and see many mistakes that I've been making forever.

                • Eli Hal
                  Eli Hal  4 days back

                  FINALY!!! 8:15

                  • Zeeshan Memon
                    Zeeshan Memon  4 days back

                    the grip technique has improved my bench press drastically. Thanks Jeff!

                    • MEXIJUAN69
                      MEXIJUAN69  4 days back

                      I have an issue with my grip , when I bench my wrist like rolls back and it really hurts my wrists to bench

                      • Beqa Mikautadze
                        Beqa Mikautadze  4 days back

                        The video made me feel colorblind

                        • Demetrius Harris
                          Demetrius Harris  4 days back

                          lol i been doing it wrong for a long time but still i'm glad no injuries came of the wrong form i made it to lifting 250 with just pure arm and chest lifting without focusing on squeezing my core nor have i focus on digging my back in the bench let alone have my feet behind my knees i'm glad you displayed the way the bench is set up to. i can actual set this up at the gold gym im at for better safety know i can lift more alone..can't wait for tomorrow training gonna have fun

                          • Tamer Said
                            Tamer Said  4 days back


                            • roadrunnerz
                              roadrunnerz  4 days back

                              My high school football coach watch this and said.. LEFT THE FUCKING WEIGHTS ALREADY!!!

                              • 1977TA
                                1977TA  5 days back

                                Wow very informative video. I wish I had seen this before I started bench pressing. The equipment was old, bench was not aligned. Bar always looked crooked. On top of all that my form was shit. No wonder my left peck got slightly bigger than the right one smh.

                                • Zgjim Qollaku
                                  Zgjim Qollaku  6 days back

                                  Thankyou ATHLEAN-X.👍💪

                                  • Spoon Liver
                                    Spoon Liver  6 days back


                                    • Jim Nielsen
                                      Jim Nielsen  6 days back

                                      This guy's got fucking veins under his eyes.. I'm listening.

                                      • prikshit rajput
                                        prikshit rajput  6 days back

                                        This is awsome course i have take in my life it change my entire fitness and stress [email protected]

                                        • prikshit rajput
                                          prikshit rajput  6 days back

                                          This is awsome course i have take in my life it change my entire fitness and stress [email protected]

                                          • prikshit rajput
                                            prikshit rajput  6 days back

                                            This is awsome course i have take in my life it change my entire fitness and stress [email protected]

                                            • prikshit rajput
                                              prikshit rajput  6 days back

                                              This is awsome course i have take in my life it change my entire fitness and stress [email protected]

                                              • John Johansson
                                                John Johansson  7 days back

                                                Instructions unclear, my penis stuck under barbell.

                                                • Annas A Vlogs
                                                  Annas A Vlogs  7 days back

                                                  This is how many mistakes you made before watching the videos

                                                  • Raye Cufley
                                                    Raye Cufley  1 weeks back

                                                    So something that I can't figure out how to counter is what I guess is called 'tennis elbow'. I've never injured my left arm but every so often, I'll end up with a sharp pain in my left elbow while lifting. Anyone know what I might be doing wrong?

                                                    • DRITO_ 03
                                                      DRITO_ 03  1 weeks back

                                                      I know I might get made fun of but can this also apply to a smith machine ?

                                                      • Eddie Abraham
                                                        Eddie Abraham  1 weeks back

                                                        Yes sir, but the Smith machine helps with developing form.

                                                    • MR.MORPHEUS
                                                      MR.MORPHEUS  1 weeks back

                                                      I watched" ben pakman kapulski " and his mi40 approach is 100% different!!

                                                      • MR.MORPHEUS
                                                        MR.MORPHEUS  1 weeks back

                                                        Can you demonstrate the guillotine press please... I never seen you do it

                                                        • Corey Ferbrache
                                                          Corey Ferbrache  1 weeks back

                                                          Hi Jeff, What about people with muscular pain just to the right of the middle spine? I find arching my back can make it tense to the point were I could lose all strength and cause me pain/ dropping the weight but the doctor encouraged me to do deadlifts so I'm coming confused, any help?

                                                          • Kauila Acasio
                                                            Kauila Acasio  1 weeks back

                                                            I enjoying doing bench press but I always had a single problem with them. My hand placement was garbage and the next day my left wrist would be in so much pain to the point I couldn’t bend it fully. This video is mad helpful

                                                            • Stephen Danger
                                                              Stephen Danger  1 weeks back


                                                              • Greg D
                                                                Greg D  2 weeks back

                                                                Do you have advice on incline? I think im doing them to low & seen it suggested to come down towards the chin. Also what bench angle is best?

                                                                • FunMuslimBoy
                                                                  FunMuslimBoy  2 weeks back

                                                                  He is so Jeffed

                                                                  • Bryan Paul Garcia
                                                                    Bryan Paul Garcia  2 weeks back

                                                                    Thank you. You saved me. Haha

                                                                    • Greg Sieracki
                                                                      Greg Sieracki  2 weeks back

                                                                      10 minutes to explain a barbell bench press? This can be explained in 2-3 minutes! Was this for idiots or mentally impaired?

                                                                      • Quinn Gauthier
                                                                        Quinn Gauthier  2 weeks back

                                                                        I have a very weak bench for someone of
                                                                        My size and weight and I’ve never been able to figure out why :/ it’s definitely my weakest point of workout , are some people genetically just not built for
                                                                        Certain things or what could it be I’m 156 at 5ft8 and my max bench is only 155 and can barley lift that more then once but can dead lift 225-315 ..

                                                                        • Reapex
                                                                          Reapex  2 weeks back

                                                                          *It feels simple, It is simple its 135 pounds* im 150 pounds....

                                                                          • Sergiio Van Haren
                                                                            Sergiio Van Haren  2 weeks back

                                                                            Im 25 now and when i was like 18 i went to the gym alot im a skinny guy and i started bench presses with 10 kilo on each side and after 2 3 months i went to 15 and then 20 on each side. Years past and since today i started in the gym again i wanted to start with 7.50 but i couldn't even lift it up straight so i did 5 and got 4 sets of 15

                                                                            • Tyko Nurminen
                                                                              Tyko Nurminen  2 weeks back

                                                                              Should i listen to people who try to teach me more of a powerlifting bench where you don’t use your shoulders

                                                                              • Au Jun
                                                                                Au Jun  2 weeks back

                                                                                Is this the gym or body building heaven lot of stuffs love it.

                                                                              • Scott Brodie
                                                                                Scott Brodie  2 weeks back

                                                                                Jeff what about if I don’t have a bench but I have the bar and weights? What’s the correct technique given my elbows will only go so far down before hitting the floor. Can I still get reasonable results without the bench?

                                                                                • R.Garcia
                                                                                  R.Garcia  2 weeks back

                                                                                  Overhead press checklist please.

                                                                                  • mohamed mohamed
                                                                                    mohamed mohamed  2 weeks back

                                                                                    Thanks jeff

                                                                                    • Ron Smith
                                                                                      Ron Smith  2 weeks back

                                                                                      Love the Big Papi shirt !
                                                                                      YOUR VIDS ARE HELPFULL AS WELL

                                                                                      • Kevin Kim
                                                                                        Kevin Kim  2 weeks back

                                                                                        After watching this video, I think I know the right term for my shoulder injury. I assuming my right AC joint popped. How can I fix it? During my shoulder and chest workout, I get this weird pain in my shoulder.

                                                                                        • cloyd McKnight
                                                                                          cloyd McKnight  2 weeks back

                                                                                          Your video helped a lot helped me in correcting my mistakes in bench press.....keep the videos coming 💪

                                                                                          • Raghu Renganathan R.
                                                                                            Raghu Renganathan R.  2 weeks back

                                                                                            It's really useful for me. 👏👏👏

                                                                                            • Victor Ramiro
                                                                                              Victor Ramiro  2 weeks back

                                                                                              I Can barely lift the bar mate