Bench Press Guide: Benefits, Target Muscles, & Tutorial

Ah, the bench press. The universally loved upper body movement guaranteed to keep the gym crowded on Mondays. There shouldn’t be many surprises in this one.

man bench pressing

Bench Press Benefits

  • Great for improving pressing strength
  • Builds pecs, shoulders, and tricep muscles
  • For whatever reason it’s used as the gym bros measuring stick for fitness (benefit?)

What Muscles Do Bench Press Work?

The pecs do most of the work on the bench press, but are also aided by your shoulders and triceps which help flex the shoulder and extend the elbow.

In additional to these three primary targets your rotator cuff muscles and lats also help stabilize and decelerate the bar while you are lowering it to your chest.


bench press target muscles

How to Bench Press

Create a small arch in your back to help decrease the range of motion and protect your shoulders from being in a vulnerable position at the bottom of the press. If you have lower back problems or very limited spine mobility, this isn’t a necessity.

Place your hands a little outside shoulder-width apart. Closer in will emphasis triceps, and wider will emphasis pecs

Scoot your feet back a few inches with your toes slightly pointed out. We want to eternally rotate our hips in order to create a solid base to generate leg drive from without our butt coming off of the bench

Squeeze the bar as hard as you can to unrack where your arms are fully extended above your head

Lower the bar with your elbows slightly tucked until the bar reaches the lower part of your chest

You do not press straight back up from the bottom of the bench press. You press back and up towards your face to return to the starting position!

Bench Press Demonstration

Check Out Our Bench Press Alternatives

If you want to strengthen your chest, but need different bench pressing options, check out our guide below!