Five Tips For a Killer Bench Press

Lauren Chilcote

Mind Over Matter

Approach the bar with confidence, knowing you will crush this. This is the time to harness the power of positive thinking. Hype yourself up and verbalize your goals. Tell yourself, tell friends, write it in your training journal. Don't even think about saying "I'll try". You can, and you will.


Controlled breathing for a controlled lift. As you get set to attempt your lift, don't let the excitement overwhelm you. Practice breathing steadily as you warm up, and make sure you're syncing with the motion of the movement. Inhale at the top and hold it, as you get set to push the bar away from your chest, exhale.


Pin your shoulders back and squeeze your butt. Maintain an active body position from the moment you lay down on the bench. Engage your lats, pinning your shoulder blades back and down, and imagine yourself pulling the bar apart. Activate your glutes and make sure your feet are comfortably nailed into the ground.

Use Your Legs

Drive through your feet, using your legs to help push the bar up. The bench press is primarily an upper body movement, but you will get the most out of the lift when you remember to engage your whole body. Wear lifting shoes or stick plates under your feet, if necessary.

Push Your Body Away

Don't just push the bar up, push your body away from the bar. If 20-time World Record holder Stefi Cohen says so, it must be true. Similarly to when we pull ourselves under the bar as we're pulling it up during the clean, think about opposing forces during the bench.