The bench press is the staple lift for your chest and triceps. It is a complex movement, which means it hits multiple joints and the muscles that work them. You always want to start each routine off with complex movements. Often enough, bench press is enough to give you an aesthetically pleasing chest and arms. And it is also a core lift for general upper body strength. The only time you should ever not be bench pressing is if you’re dumbbell pressing as an alternative.
So put your sports bra on to add support for your man-boobs, and let’s hit the bench.
Now my preferred method is an arched back. Some people criticize this form, but it’s actually the legit Olympic style lift. Full Range of Motion snobs will say that it shortens the distance traveled by the weight, which is true, but the purpose of the form is to minimize shoulder strain and center the stress on your chest and triceps, which is the goal. Indeed, I used to suffer shoulder injuries a few times a year until I adopted this form. But be careful not to over arch your back. You only need enough space to slide a 2×4 through.
Set your hands at a Mark just outside of shoulder width. This is called the power position. Another hand space out and it’s called wide-grip. Wide-grip is for more chest isolation. Another hand width in and you’re doing the tricep press, which nearly eliminates the chest altogether.
Lay back, get your arch by scooting your butt up. Pinch your shoulder blades back like you’re trying to hold a penny between them, and lift the bar from the cradles. Lower the weight to your nipples, making sure to let your elbows bend downward instead of outward. The Olympic standard gives you 2 inches from your chest, but it’s far too easy to lie to yourself and make 2 inches into 5 inches. Your best bet is to touch your chest by barely kissing it with the bar. Do not be one of those morons who bounce the weight off of your rib cage. Some of you bird chested fellows out there might die. Raise the weight by an explosive push up. Don’t go so far as to lock your elbows. This can also be dangerous with higher weights. Rinse and repeat.