How Much Should I Be Bench Pressing- A Comprehensive Guide

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how much should i be bench pressing

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what weight you should be bench pressing, and some people even say it doesn’t matter at all. However, the fact remains that if you want to get stronger and more muscular, then heavy weights are required for success.

If you’re just starting out in your fitness journey or have been lifting weights for years but never reached your desired goals, this article will give you everything you need to know when it comes to figuring out how much weight is right for YOU.

What is the bench press and how does it work?

How Much Should I Be Bench Pressing- A Comprehensive Guide 1
What is the bench press?

The bench press is a weight training exercise that works out your chest, shoulder and arm muscles. The movement begins by lying on your back with a barbell gripped in both hands above you at arms length from the ground.

To perform the lift, push up while extending your legs out until they are straightened underneath the torso or as close to being straight as possible without hyperextending them.

At this point of upper body extension, begin pushing down against the barpress using primarily your pectoralis major muscle (chest) for power and strength before lifting it off of its support again to complete one rep

When performing many repetitions in succession without adequate rest periods between sets, be mindful not only about how much weight you’re lifting but also about how much weight you’re putting on the barbells.

Why should I be doing the bench press, what are its benefits, and why is it important to do this exercise?

bench press benefits

The bench press is a heavy compound lift that works out your chest, shoulders and arms. The exercise provides high levels of stimulation for the major muscle groups in this area as well as beneficial effects on other body parts like metabolism, heart health and bone density.

Bench presses can be done either with dumbbells or barbells – it really doesn’t matter which you use because they are both going to provide an intense workout.

Chest muscles: When using heavier weights (a weight at 60% of one’s max load), doing sets between six-to-eight repetitions will stimulate growth hormones which help build more muscle mass in these areas.

Shoulders: Heavy bench pressing also stimulates production of strength-boosting testosterone hormone secretion from  the testes and testosterone from the adrenal glands, making it possible to build more muscle in these areas.

Arms: Like all weight training exercises for upper body muscles, bench pressing will provide a good workout for your arm muscles. The forearms are especially prone to suffer because this is where they have the weakest leverage.

Calves: Heavy weights can also be used during calf raises which helps develop more strength and endurance in these areas of leg muscles. This makes them better able to withstand high-intensity running or other sports movements requiring rapid starts such as sprints.

Metabolism: High levels of oxygen consumption after heavy lifting (greater than 75% max load) causes an increase in metabolism which leads to greater fat loss over time.

How much weight should I be lifting on the bench press?

How much weight should I be lifting on the bench press?
How much weight should I be lifting on the bench press?

#1- If you’re just starting out in your fitness journey then you should go for:

Weight: If you want a challenging workout that stimulates muscle growth and greater production of strength-boosting  hormones, then the bench press should be performed with a weight that is at 60% of your max load

Reps: When performing many repetitions in succession without adequate rest periods between sets, be mindful not only about how much weight you’re lifting but also about how much weight you’re putting on the barbells. It’s best to use lighter weights and do more reps (12-to-15) rather than heavier weights and fewer reps (less than six). However, it all depends on individual goals.

Rest Period: If one minute or less has passed since last repetitions were completed when starting out again with another set after an interval of no activity of over three minutes from any other exercise except for strict arm exercises like the bicep curl, the repetition counts as one rep.

Set: If your goal is to build bulk and strength – do sets between six-to-eight repetitions of bench pressing with a heavier weight. This will stimulate growth hormones which help build more muscle mass in these areas.

#2- If your goal is fat loss or endurance training – it’s best to do sets of 12-to-15 repetitions with a lighter weight. This will stimulate production of strength-boosting testosterone hormone secretion from the testes and testosterone from the adrenal glands, making it possible to build more muscle in these areas on an inclined surface like a smith machine rack.

For decline bench pressing, the barbell should be placed on a decline bench with one end of the bar touching the ground and your feet firmly planted in front. Dumbbell chest flys are done by lying on your back while holding weights at shoulder-level off to each side.

Form: As you know there are different variations for this exercise – incline bench presses, decline bench presses or dumbbell chest flys.

However if your goal is fat loss or endurance training (weights at 50% max load) then keep reps between six-to off eight so that you can still perform them correctly without fatigue.

The form for incline bench pressing should be done with a barbell on an inclined surface like a smith machine rack.

For decline bench pressing, the barbell should be placed on a decline bench with one end of the bar touching the ground and your feet firmly planted in front.

Dumbbell chest flys are done by lying on your back while holding weights at shoulder-level off to each side.

#3- If you’re looking for muscle growth or strength training (weights between 60%-75% max load):  then go heavy and use good form. If you want a challenging workout that stimulates muscle growth and greater production of strength-boosting hormones, then the bench press should be performed with a weight that is at 60% of your max load.

Perform sets consisting of six-to eight repetitions. The form for incline bench pressing can be done with a barbell on an inclined surface like a smith machine rack.

Tips for performing the bench press correctly

Tips for performing the bench press correctly
  • Position your feet at shoulder width or slightly wider to prevent arching of the back and flattening out of your lumbar spine
  • Keep a tight grip on the bar with hands that are about shoulder width apart, making sure not to lock elbows but allowing them to bend for full range of motion. Keep in mind… if you’re using a heavier weight than usual, make sure there is enough room between upper arm and chest so as not to compress lungs
  • Lower the barbell towards your torso by bending your arms/shoulders. Pause briefly before pressing up again through a straightened line (elbows extended!) until arms are fully contracted above head! There should be no pause during this movement – it’s all one.

Common mistakes people make when they’re doing a bench press

bench press mistakes
bench press mistakes
  • Reaching too far forward with the barbell, instead of staying in a comfortable position on your back
  • Positioning hands and feet incorrectly – this can cause an arch in your lower spine or for the elbows to lock
  • Letting shoulders roll inward (protraction) during execution. This will lead to shoulder injuries!
  • Bouncing the weight off your chest instead of pressing it up slowly and then lowering down. This can cause injury to your shoulder and spine!
  • Using a barbell that is too heavy for you – make sure it’s at around 60% of your max load
  • Hands on the bar are not gripping tightly enough, or elbows being locked during execution. The grip should always be tight.

The best way to increase your max weight on a bench press

If you are looking for a challenge or want to increase your max weight on the bench press, then sets consisting of six-to eight repetitions is ideal. The form should be done with a barbell on an inclined surface like a smith machine rack.

Bench Press Variations:

The bench press can be done with a barbell or dumbbells on an incline, decline or flat surface. Dumbbell chest flys are done by lying on your back while holding weights at shoulder-level.

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