The bench press is the foundational exercise of one’s bodybuilding career. It drastically improves and develops the upper body strength but if not executed using the proper form and technique, it can result in some of the worst injuries you could barely think of.
Though I can create a list of some very creative ways to get killed while lifting at the gym, bench press remains the Godfather of deadly exercises.
The exercise itself isn’t deadly but the people who simply don’t give a fu*k about the form and technique to properly execute it.
5 Bench Press Mistakes To Avoid
So, don’t be a jackass and try your best to avoid these bench press mistakes.
1. Using Thumbless Grip
Performing a bench press with a thumbless grip can be your first and last mistake. By thumbless, I mean grabbing the bar using the thumbs on the same side as your fingers are. This grip is also known as the ‘suicide grip’ and you are under a great risk of an injury holding a barbell over your face without properly wrapping the thumbs around the bar.
I know some of the big names in bodybuilding like Schwarzenegger and Coleman didn’t care about it but not everything pros do is applicable to every person.
2. Benching Without a Power Rack
One of the stupidest things you’ll do at the gym. Most of the guys, especially the newbies bench press without a power rack or spotter and even though many of the bros get away with it for many years but it only takes a moment for that mistake.
Just in case you fail to lift, either you’ll get pinned by it without being able to push it back up or it will drop on your face or rib cage and you’ll die – simple is that. Always bench inside a power rack or at least have someone to spot you while you do.
3. Flaring Your Elbows
Flaring your elbows at the bottom of the bench press come naturally but flaring them too much is a big mistake. Even if you keep the elbows flared at 90-degree angle, that would be a mistake since it’ll be vertical to your neck.
A proper bench press technique involves moving the bar diagonally from the mid-chest and over your shoulders instead of moving it in a vertical line. If you flare them too much, it can result in a nasty shoulder injury.
4. Raising Your Butt Up
Slightly arching your back or butt is ok but raising it like something’s gone inside it is something you shouldn’t do. If you feel like raising your butt too much, consider lowering the weight and then try again.
Raising the butt and back too high will result in a severe lower back injury, squeeze the spinal discs and can hurt your neck badly. Moreover, it is also considered as a cheating and is strictly prohibited in competitions. Always start with a low weight, gradually increase it and have a partner to assist you.
5. Not Locking The Elbows On The Top
Even though not locking the elbows on the top is beneficial as it creates a constant tension in your chest muscles and is great for hypertrophy but it can be very dangerous.
This gets even worse when you are benching heavy and lower the weight without locking the elbows on the top. You may end up with losing control and drop the barbell on your chest because your muscles are overly fatigued or tired.