What are some bench pressing mistakes you can make to sabotage your growth and cause injuries? There are several common bench press mistakes that lifters make which can hold them back from adding muscle. These mistakes can also increase their chance of sustaining injury. Most of these common mistakes are easily corrected.
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 allow you to maintain proper form throughout the movement.
- Incorrect hand placement. Many lifters who bench press don’t have the proper grip or hand placement on the bar. 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, your grip must be adjusted, as your hand placement is either too wide or too narrow. Your thumbs should also be wrapped around the bar to provide stability and safety. Make sure you are resting the bar on the lower part of your palm, and not too high up on your hand or too far down towards your wrist.
- 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.
The next three mistakes are simple fixes but can blow up your workout if you don’t get them right.
- Bouncing the bar off your 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 your reps, and make sure the movement is controlled throughout the lift.
- Lifting your butt off the bench when pushing the barbell upward. NEVER lift your butt off the bench when you are pressing the weight. This is a clear indication that you are attempting to bench press a weight you cannot control, and one of the easiest ways to injure your lower back.
- Performing the same workout over and over. Many lifters perform the same routine with the same amount of weight at every bench press workout. You are creating your own plateau: if you continue to work up to two plates on each side (225 pounds) and stop, you will never get big, or stronger than 225 pounds. Change it up: 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 new record lifts and new muscles forming.