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The Basics of Bench Press

As you may have noticed, we've started our new 4-week, instructional bench press video series. During the series Dr. Kelsey Lynch will run you thorugh the basics and not so basics of bench press, advanced techniques, proper form and more. You've probably been to the gym and had to wait in line for a bench, that's because bench press is one of the most popular forms of exercise. With that popularity comes a lot of different ideas, techniques and opinions on what is right and what is wrong. Over the next 4 weeks Kelsey will confront controversies, correct common mistakes and dispel myths. Who knew there was so much to it!?

This week's video is to educate our readers in the basic set-up and techniques of bench press. Incorrect form is one of the many reasons people require physical therapy but it's okay, understanding correct form is difficult without guidance. That's why Arise Physical Therapy is here, to help you to be better. Let's get started!


In the video, Kelsey begins with setting yourself up for the perfect bench. The key steps are as follows:

1) When seated, plant your feet firmly on the ground and lay back ensuring your eyes are level with the bar

2) Find a grip that is most comfortable for you. A good start is to have one thumb-width off the knurling(rough part of the bar)

3) Tighten your back, squeeze your shoulders and bring them down

4) Drive your feet into the ground and lift the bar up and over your chest

While the set up may seem basic, it is commonly performed incorrectly and thus starting you off on the wrong foot. You may find it easier to see how Kelsey sets-up in the video. You can watch that by clicking (HERE)

"Proper set up in bench press is crucial for a safe and effective lift"

The Controversial Arch

The bench press arch has been a topic of controversy among lifters and trainers. While some argue that it is a necessary technique for maximizing strength and minimizing injury risk, others believe that it can lead to improper form and may not be suitable for all lifters. Ultimately, the decision to use an arch in the bench press should be based on individual factors such as body type, training goals, and personal preference, and should be approached with caution and proper instruction.

Kelsey describes in detail and to best perform the bench press with the arch. She asks you to think of the arch as a bridge, it is fully supported by your body as long as you can maintain a braced core. The arch can create stability and lessen the range of motion required to lift the weight.

When performing a bench press with an arch ensure your shoulders and glutes maintain contact with the bench. Simply tighten your back, engage your core and activate your shoulder blades by bringing them together, this should naturally create an arch. You'll find arching makes engaging your shoulders easier.

All that said, there is no problem performing the bench press without the arch too but don't be afraid to arch, just ensure that you maintain all that stability!

"Arching allows you to lift heavier weights with greater ease"

To Conclude....

The set up and arch in the bench press are important techniques that can help improve lifting performance and reduce the risk of injury. While the arch has been a topic of controversy, it can be a useful tool for lifters who are looking to increase their strength and stability during the lift.

It is important to approach these techniques with caution and seek proper instruction to ensure that they are being executed safely and effectively. The decision to use these techniques should be based on individual factors and personal preference, and should be approached with a focus on proper form and technique.

Check out week 1 of our bench press series below. You'll find all the information we've discussed in this blog and more!

If you're having issues with pain and discomfort as a result of improper form, come down and see us in the clinic. You can CLICK HERE to book an evaluation with us. Or, for some short instructional videos, follow our Instagram page byCLICKING HERE

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