Are you curious about the worst bench pressing mistakes that can sabotage your muscle growth and cause injuries? There are several standard bench press mistakes that lifters make, preventing them from adding chest size. Unfortunately, these mistakes can also increase your chance of sustaining an injury. However, most of these common mistakes you can easily correct.
Here are the top six bench pressing mistakes you need to watch out for:
- Your feet are not flat on the floor. This is one of the most common mistakes you will see in the gym. If your feet are not flat on the ground, you will not have a strong base, and you will put undue stress on your lower back. Keeping your feet flat and planted on the floor will give you a sturdy base and maintain proper form throughout the movement.
- Incorrect hand placement. Many lifters do not consider an improper grip or hand placement on the bar as a bench pressing mistake. Grip the bar with your forearms perpendicular to the flat bench when the bar reaches your chest. If your forearms are not straight up and down, adjust your grip, as your hand placement is too wide or narrow. It would be best if you also wrapped your thumbs around the bar to provide stability and safety. Ensure you are resting the bar on the lower part of your palm, not too high up on your hand or too far down towards your wrist.
- You are lifting without a spotter. Do NOT bench press without a spotter. As you progress to heavier weights, a spotter will become necessary, so get in the habit of ALWAYS bench pressing with a spotter, regardless of the weight you are using. You will leave your best gains on the table by not using a spotter. Muscle growth and power come from pushing muscles to the limit.
The following three mistakes are simple fixes but can blow up your workout if you don’t get them right.
- Another typical bench pressing mistake that people make is to bounce the bar off their chest. Remember, you are bench pressing to improve your muscular strength and develop your upper body, not to see how much momentum you can get while bouncing the bar off your chest. Don’t cheat on your reps, and make sure you control the movement throughout the lift.
- Many inexperienced lifters make this bench pressing mistake: lift their butt off the bench when pushing the barbell upward. However, NEVER lift your butt off the bench when pressing the weight. This shows that you are attempting to bench press a weight you cannot control and is one of the easiest ways to injure your lower back.
- This bench pressing mistake stops muscle growth in its tracks: performing the same workout repeatedly. Many lifters perform the same routine with the same weight at every bench press workout. By constantly completing the same training, you violate the progressive overload principle. In addition, you are creating your plateau: if you continue to work up to two plates on each side (225 pounds) and stop, you will never get more muscular than 225 pounds. Also, change it with a periodization plan: start changing your weights, repetitions, and rest periods between sets. Add those tiny weight plates to each side of the bar as you perform your last lift of each workout, and you will see record lifts and new muscles forming.
The last word on bench pressing mistakes
To get the best results, focus on your form and volume. Lift as much as you can correctly. You will see better results by pushing yourself a little more with each workout. Finally, live in the moment. Most people look to the next lift, rep, or set. Slow it down and concentrate on each part of the lift. Doing this will emphasize mind-muscle control, which will give you the best results. What has been your experience with the bench press? Please share your responses in the comment section below.