The bench press is one of the best-known and most popular exercises among strength athletes who want to develop a strong chest and bodybuilders looking to feed their egos. However, because some people don’t know how to perform this exercise properly, it results in injuries and even deaths of inexperienced lifters.
But all the injuries can be avoided if a person learns the primary bench press mistakes and avoids them at all costs. Also, by learning how to do this exercise properly, you’ll be able to avoid the risk of injury and increase muscle growth.
1. Bench Pressing Without a Power Rack/Spotter
This is one of the most dangerous things you can do while doing heavy bench presses. Of course, many people think they are able to take care of themselves while lifting a massive amount of weight, but sooner or later most people harm themselves and after that, they change their minds.
Don’t wait until a super heavy bar falls on you and crushes your face, throat, or rib cage. Instead, make sure you have an experienced lifter by your side or do bench presses inside the power rack. And most importantly, use the amount of weight you’re capable of lifting!
2. Raising Your Butt While Lifting
When you lie on the bench, make sure your head, upper back, and butt are in full contact with the pad. By doing so, you’ll avoid harming your back. While it’s easier to lift heavy weights with your butt raised, it’s considered to be cheating and is forbidden in competitions.
Yet, some people are too concerned about how much they can lift and forget about their safety. Avoid doing so by making sure your butt stays in the same position while bench pressing because it’ll allow you to perform the exercise fully and achieve the best training results.
3. Bench Pressing While Your Feet in The Air
Some people say it’s better to change your feet position to make bench pressing more rewarding. However, most of these variations are dangerous and have zero benefits. So, it’s better to avoid raising your feet in the air because while your feet stand firmly on the ground, you’re able to keep a balance while lifting.
Without this balance, it’s difficult to hold the bar and this may result in serious injuries. Moreover, if you keep your feet in the air, it’s a lot more difficult to use heavy weights because your shoulders might get overwhelmed. So, the safest way to bench press is to keep your feet on the ground — heels included.
4. Not Locking Your Elbows
Some people avoid locking their elbows at the top of the movement because it allows the working muscles to stay tensed which results in more hypertrophy. However, this a dangerous way of training.
This is because when you are tired and use heavy weights, there is a big possibility of losing the bar and harming oneself. On the other hand, locking your elbows at the top allows your skeleton to hold the weight and make this exercise a lot safer while giving your muscles a short break that allows completing more reps. However, it is not recommended to lockout at the elbows when benching heavy weights.
And most importantly, this exercise can be performed with a full range of motion when you keep your elbows locked, so there is no reason not to do so.
5. Using The Thumbless Grip to Bench Press
The thumbless grip means holding the bar while keeping the thumbs on the same side as all your other fingers. While it’s more comfortable to some people to do so, it’s a dangerous way of bench pressing because there is a huge chance of making the bar fall on you by having it roll out of your hands.
So, while using the thumbless grip might be more convenient by making it feel as if it causes less pain on the wrists, it’s a lot better than getting your body crushed.