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How to Properly Bench Press for Muscle Growth

Improve your pecs!

The bench press is regarded as the king of chest exercises. Learn how to properly bench press for muscle growth.

If you want to have a bigger and stronger chest, you must do bench presses. That is not necessarily correct, as you could be doing many other chest exercises to grow your pecs. But one thing is right, the bench press will develop your chest in a well-rounded way.

But simply laying horizontally and pressing up the barbell is not as simple as it sounds. How to properly bench press for muscle growth? That is what Jeremy Ethier decided to explain in further detail.

Jeremy Ethier is a kinesiologist and fitness trainer, co-founder of Built With Science. His YouTube channel has over 5 million subscribers and he delivers clear information with sound background research.

This is how to properly bench press for muscle growth according to Ethier.

How to Properly Bench Press for Muscle GrowthSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

How to Properly Bench Press for Muscle Growth

Perhaps you know the benefits of the bench press and want to reap them, but don’t know exactly how to perform the movements. How to properly bench press for muscle growth? Here goes a checklist from Ethier.

Grip Width

The closer you grip, the more your triceps will take over the movement. What you want for chest development is to use a relatively wider grip than shoulder.

But don’t go too wide, as this decreases the range of motion and it increases the risk of shoulder injury.


To understand how to properly bench press for muscle growth, you need to know how to position yourself under the bar before you even attempt to lift the barbell.

For this, you want to position with your eyes directly under the barbell. Also, make sure you have a secure grip with your thumb around the bar. Walk your feet back under your knees and plant them on the ground firmly.

Body Tension

You need to activate a few muscles before you unrack the barbell to keep your body stable.

Use the quads to push your knees down into the ground and your glutes to drive your knees out. Bring your armpits down to your hips and activate your lats.

A slight arch in your back can feel a bit more comfortable in your shoulders and may help you recruit more of your chest fibres. Think about opening up your chest which should create the arch in your lower back.


male freeletics athlete bench pressing through training plateauSource: Freeletics
Bench Press time!

Unlike deadlifts and back squats, the barbell should not be going straight up and down in motion when bench pressing. So, how to properly bench press for muscle growth when we are talking about descending the bar? By bringing it down and forward.

Actively pull the bar down by using your back muscles to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Bring the bar to your lower chest.

Avoid tucking your elbows too close to your body or flaring them out. Aim for a 45-70 angle away from your body.


You should touch the barbell on your chest on descending, but don’t use the momentum to bounce it back up. Instead, use this time to let the barbell stay in touch with your lower chest for a second or so before pressing it up.

Remember to bring the bar back up towards your head, not straight up.

And that is basically how to properly bench press for muscle growth according to Jeremy Ethier. He gives a few extra tips on how to breathe and position that you can find out more about by clicking on the video below.

VIDEO – How to Properly Bench Press for Muscle Growth

If you want to understand more about bench press, variations and benefits, click on any of the links below to further your knowledge and continue making gains in your fitness journey.

Barbell Bench Press vs Dumbbell Bench Press – Which is Better?

How to Build a Bigger Chest at Home in 30 Days

4 Best Exercises to Improve Your Bench Press

5 Bench Press Chest Workouts To Build Strength and Muscular Endurance

Advanced Tips to Increase Your Bench Press Number

Best Bench Press Variations for Growing Your Chest Muscle

How to Force Muscle Growth – 5 Methods to Accomplish That

Best Training to Increase Muscle Development

Top Training Programs to Gain Size and Mass

Understanding Hypertrophy: How to Build a Better Physique and Improve Performance

How to Make Muscle Gains At Every Level

How to Get a Huge Bench Press With Perfect Technique

9 BEST Exercises for an Attractive Lower Chest

Can’t Lose Chest Fat? Just Do THIS

How to Increase Chest Size and Strength

Upper Chest Exercises Ranked (BEST TO WORSE)

Dumbbell Bench Press Benefits, Mistakes to Avoid and Workouts

How to Build a Huge Chest with the Reverse Grip Bench Press

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