The bench press is a popular compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform the bench press with proper form:

1. Set Up:

  • Lie on your back on a flat bench.
  • Position your body so that your eyes are directly under the bar.
  • Place your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
  • Arch your back slightly and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

2. Grip:

  • Grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Your palms should be facing away from you (overhand grip).

3. Unrack the Bar:

  • Lift the bar off the rack, or have a spotter help you if needed.
  • Hold the barbell directly above your chest with your arms fully extended.

4. Lower the Bar:

  • Inhale and lower the bar in a controlled manner to the middle of your chest.
  • Keep your elbows at around a 90-degree angle, and ensure the bar touches your chest lightly.

5. Press the Bar:

  • Exhale and push the bar back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
  • Keep your wrists straight, and the bar should move in a straight line.

6. Repeat:

  • Repeat the lowering and pressing movements for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Maintain a stable body position throughout the movement.
  • Keep your elbows at a moderate angle to prevent excess stress on your shoulder joints.
  • Use a spotter, especially when lifting heavy weights, to ensure safety.
  • Warm up properly before attempting heavy lifts.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Arching your back too much.
  • Bouncing the bar off your chest.
  • Allowing your elbows to flare out excessively.
  • Using improper grip width.

It’s important to start with a weight that allows you to maintain proper form. As you become more comfortable and stronger, you can gradually increase the weight.

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