The bench press is an iconic favourite for many gym-goers for obvious reasons! But all posturing and bravado aside, what do you actually get out of it? Here is a list of 8 Top Bench Press Benefits! Read on for what you can experience by performing this popular and effective exercise.
1. If you want to achieve maximum strength and muscle size, it`s a great idea to include the bench press in your routine. Most gym fanatics know that the bench press works the chest, shoulder and tricep muscles. Lifting heavier weights on the bench press also recruits muscles of the upper back and surprisingly perhaps, the legs, hips and glutes.
2. The pectoral (‘pecs’ for short or chest) muscles are composed of a larger amount of fast twitch muscle fibres than slow-twitch fibres.
Lifters who train with heavy weights and those who lift submaximal weights explosively will recruit the fast-twitch fibres which are essential for strength and size gains. Similarly, the triceps are a fast twitch dominant muscle which means they are well suited to heavy and explosive benching!
3. Benching heavy weights will give you increased grip strength. Heavy weights demand squeezing the bar tightly to gain control. Gripping tightly also causes the surrounding muscles of the arms to contract (this effect is known as irradiation), allowing you to lift heavier weights. Athletes who use thick barbells or ‘Fat Gripz’ for benching will improve their ability to squeeze the bar harder as well.
4. Bench pressing causes the body’s natural production and elevation of anabolic hormones testosterone and growth hormone. This stimulates testosterone which increases muscle strength and size. Benching with lighter weights with lower rest times between sets also promotes the release of growth hormone which aids in increasing muscle size and conduces to fat loss.
5. Sportsmen and women who chiefly use pulling muscles (such as the biceps and forearms) in their sport benefit from training the bench press to prevent or correct muscle imbalances. Muscle imbalances can cause strain on the joints. Wrestlers, rock climbers and arm wrestlers use predominantly the pulling muscles.
6. Some lifters train the bench press several times a week. This can be beneficial for improving technique, increasing neurological efficiency (the mind-muscle connection) and improving the ability to recover more quickly.
7. For gym-goers over 40 of years’ of age, compound movements like the bench press prevent age related loss of muscle (sarcopenia), increase bone density and prevent and relieve arthritis pains. Stronger muscles also prevent cartilage from wearing out.
8. Last but by no means least, (this can actually be a huge contributing reason for benching in the first place) owning big bench press poundages raises your status in the gym! Lifting heavy weights shows that you are a determined character with a hard work ethic.
Years of dedicated training rightfully earns you a lot of respect and admiration which is immediately noticeable by your physical stature, muscled posture and the sense of self- worth that you carry with it!
Why not include the barbell bench press in your training program and build a powerful chest into your growing muscular physique which will draw admiration and help you ooze confidence?