Horizontal pushing basics with a barbell
When performing any type of horizontal pushing, we must consider the technique and form that is required to perform optimally. Just because an exercise can elicit a muscle building or muscle-strengthening effect doesn’t mean it automatically should be in your exercise catalog. This is why I want to bring up the topic and provide you these barbell press comparisons.
Working as a gym fitness attendant in college reminds me of the days where underclassmen would always run to the bench and begin ego pressing. I did my fair share of this as well and essentially it’s when you put just too much weight on the bar and your form collapses rep after rep. Putting yourself at risk for serious injuries can inhibit your chances of actually getting bigger and stronger.
So with that being said if your going to do any barbell pressing let’s start with the essentials
Belly breathing: Using your core during this movement is going to be important whether it’s 100lbs or 1000lbs. Breath from your belly, increasing your abdomen pressure as the distance between the bar and your chest decreases. As the bar travels upward exhale like your blowing into a balloon and try to not look into the eyes of who is spotting you.
Set your wings
Lat activation is one of the hardest things to learn because most people lack definition in their posterior chain, simply because we have become more concerned with how we look from our front side. The best way to learn this is to begin retracting your shoulder blades back and down. Once you have become proficient at this, you should feel muscle recruitment just under your armpits
Shoulders + wrists
Wrist control is essential and will prevent the bar from falling on top of you. Upon grabbing the bar, refrain from letting your wrists hyperextending. With a grip just outside shoulder width externally rotate shoulders to use a more favorable 45-degree angle. This will ensure your joints are in a safe position and prevent injuries such as shoulder dislocation.
Variation in your training
The floor press is a horizontal pushing exercise, which no one does because let’s face it, pressing from the ground is less impressive than the bench. The floor press variation is a safer accessory exercise that prevents your elbows from passing your ribcage. It’s is a great reference point that tells the elbows when to stop and the repetition commences. Putting more emphasis on your triceps is going to be key to improve your ability to finish those hard reps.
Flat Bench variation
The classic flat bench press is the most recognized, as a determinant of demonstrating maximal strength. This exercise allows for a greater range of motion and commences when the bar hits your chest at just about the nipple line. This exercise I would favor as a great strength builder. If you’re looking to put on size there are other less complex alternatives to use in order to build muscle, especially if you are a beginner.
Working your way up to the barbell can take significant practice with other measures of horizontal pressing like bodyweight presses and dumbbell presses. Building the necessary foundation to the bench will require an immense amount of mind-body connection; as it is much more complex than just targeting your chest or triceps.
If you are struggling to get results under the bar coaching is always a great way to expedite your gains. Do not hesitate in contacting us via email or Instagram, we will make sure in letting you know more about barbell press comparisons.