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What Muscles Does the Bench Press Work?

Expand your training knowledge.

What muscles does the Bench Press work? Generally, the Bench Press is seen as a chest exercise, but it is so much more than that.

The Barbell Bench Press is a Compound Exercise

The Barbell Bench Press is a compound exercise, meaning it works multiple muscle groups at once.

Compound exercises are more effective for building muscle than isolation exercises because they require more coordination and work the large muscle groups of the body.

The bench press primarily works your chest, shoulders, triceps and back. It’s a great exercise for increasing strength and size in all these areas.

What Muscles Does the Bench Press Work? Pectoralis Major

The pectoralis major is a large muscle that covers the anterior portion of the chest.

This muscle is mainly responsible for flexion and adduction, as well as internal rotation at both the shoulder joint and scapula (shoulder blade). The pectoralis major helps to stabilise your shoulders during pressing motions such as bench presses or push ups.

Bodybuilding chest workouts What Muscles Does the Bench Press Work?Source: Snoridge CrossFit

If you want to get stronger and avoid injury in any movement that involves your chest muscles, make sure you’re using good form when you do so.

What Muscles Does the Bench Press Work? Pectoralis Minor

In addition to the pectoralis major, you should also be aware of another muscle that is involved in the bench press: the pectoralis minor.

The pectoralis minor is a small muscle located underneath your pecs that attaches from your shoulder blade down to your ribs. This attachment allows the muscle to help rotate your shoulder blades inwardly and downwardly during an exercise such as a push-up or bench press.

What Muscles Does the Bench Press Work? Anterior Deltoids

Anterior deltoids, or the frontal shoulder muscles, are used when performing the bench press.

They assist in moving your arms forward to push or pull something. When you use this muscle to press weights during your exercise routine, it will make your chest muscles stronger and more defined.

The Anterior deltoids are not a chest muscle.

What Muscles Does the Bench Press Work? Coracobrachialis

The coracobrachialis is a small muscle located on the front of your shoulder joint.

It helps to raise your arm to the side of your body and is also used to rotate your arm inward.

The coracobrachialis is an important muscle for many different types of exercises, including bench press, shoulder press, and rows.

The exact function of this muscle depends on its position in relation to other muscles that surround it. When it’s short and tight, it will help you raise your arm up as well as rotate it inward toward your body.

When it’s lengthened or stretched out, this action becomes less effective because other muscles are able to take over so that they can do all three movements at once: upward rotation plus upward movement along with forward bending at the elbow joint itself.

What Muscles Does the Bench Press Work? Triceps

The triceps work eccentrically to control the motion of the barbell, especially in order to lock out each rep.

They also work isometrically to stabilise your shoulder joint and concentrically (pushing) to return the weight back up to starting position.

Serratus Anterior

The Serratus Anterior are a small muscle group that lies at the sides of your rib cage.

It plays an important role in lifting your ribs and shoulder blades up, as well as stabilizing the shoulder joint.

The serratus anterior is also responsible for breathing: when you inhale, it expands and contracts with each breath to help push air into the body; when you exhale, it relaxes again so oxygen can fill your lungs.

Grip Strength

Grip strength is important for many sports. For example, a football lineman needs to be able to hold onto the ball carrier while he tackles him. A baseball player must be able to grip and throw a baseball at high speeds over long distances, as well as hang onto it when hit by a pitch.

The bench press works grip strength because you must grip the barbell tightly, and control and balance the movement at all times when doing this exercise.

Grip strength is important in everyday life as well. All of us use our hands on a daily basis to open doors, lift objects and perform other tasks that require gripping power.

Triceps Work Eccentrically to Control the Bench Press Motion

As you lower the weight back down toward your chest, your triceps work eccentrically to control the motion.

The eccentric contraction is more intense than the concentric contraction because it’s the muscle lengthening rather than shortening.

This is why you feel sore after doing heavy bench presses for several sets: The muscles are being subjected to higher levels of stress and fatigue.

Get the Most Out of Your Bench Press

If you want to get the most out of your bench press, use it as a part of a comprehensive strength training program. A good program will not only help you build muscle mass and improve strength but also increase your flexibility, balance, and coordination.

When choosing exercises for your routine, choose compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once.

The bench press is an excellent example of this kind of exercise because it works all three major chest muscles: pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and sternocostal head (upper pecs).

It also works the triceps brachii muscles on both arms as well as other smaller muscles involved in stabilizing the shoulder joint as well as rotating it inwardly or outwardly.

Is the Bench Press a Good Way to Build Muscle?

The bench press is a great exercise for building muscle, especially in the chest and upper body.

It’s a relatively safe exercise with few risks of injury when you use proper form, technique, sensible loading and a spotter.

As a compound movement, the bench press activates a lot of different muscles at once: your pecs, triceps, shoulders and back all get worked out with this one movement.

Is the Bench Press an Effective Way to enhance Strength?

The bench press is one of the most effective ways to increase muscular strength because it works multiple muscles simultaneously.

It’s also an excellent exercise for building muscle mass or increasing lean body mass (LBM) because it enables you to lift heavy weight progressively over time.


Overall, the bench press is a great exercise for building muscle and strength.

It’s one of the most popular exercises for beginners because it targets so many different muscles in the upper body, making it easy to add into your workout routine.

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