The benefits of bench-pressing are numerous; there is a good reason why this move is considered one of the fundamental movements in any strength training workout. The bench-pressing benefits extend far beyond building an exquisite chest and impact the body in many ways, including benefiting your hormones. For those serious about their body and getting in shape, there is no reason to avoid bench pressing. From building a bigger chest and a pair of bulging pythons, regular bench-pressing results in stronger bones and better all-around body physiology.
It’s no accident that the bench press has attained that lofty position. Let’s investigate the 5 key benefits of bench press.
- What are the main bench pressing benefits?
- Final Word on the Real Bench Pressing Benefits
What are the main bench pressing benefits?
The bench press is one of the king movements that should be the cornerstone of any chest-building workout. The bench press is believed to have been created by the first-ever professional wrestling champion George Hackenscmidt. There are five core bench pressing benefits that prove its value as a move.
- Bench pressing gets you stronger
- Bench pressing gets you bigger!
- Bench pressing strengthens your bones
- Bench pressing boosts your testosterone
- Bench pressing improves functional strength
The only way to really gauge the extend of bench-pressing benefits is to incorporate regular bench press session into your gym routine and see the incredible results for yourself.
Bench Pressing Makes You Stronger
When it comes to upper body strength, the bench press has no parallel. It will get you quicker stronger than anything else. In fact, most newbies will be able to improve their bench press weight by about 40% in the first 6 months of training (1).
When you get stronger in the bench, you will not only be improving your ability to push a weight directly up from your body. You’ll also be getting stronger in the overhead press. In addition, your triceps, core, and lower back will strengthen up significantly.
Bench Pressing Makes You Bigger
The target muscle of the standard bench press is the chest. Of course, there are a whole lot of other chest exercises you can do, from push ups to cable cross-overs. But there is nothing that will allow you to place the amount of overload resistance on the pecs that you can achieve with the bench press. And, as you know, it’s overload that builds muscle.
The prime mover in the bench press is your pec major. As the name suggests, this slab of beef makes up the thick, meaty portion of your chest. Making it bigger will give a guy the look of thick, raw power. This is the muscle that is responsible for pushing the weight away from your body.
The bench press also hits the minor pec, which lies under the major pec. Building the minor pec will lift your chest and push it out. It will also increase your strength on moves that require scapular downward rotation.
Bench pressing will also give you crazy strong delts. As a result of the overload, you’ll be able to build impressive medial and anterior delt muscles. The combination of thicker chest and wider shoulders will stretch your T-shirt fabric to the breaking point.
It turns out that bench pressing, not barbell curling, will get you there faster. Two-thirds of the upper arm are comprised of the triceps, and the bench press directly hits all three heads (medial, long, and lateral). As a heavy bencher, you will naturally get bigger arms. In addition, you will be boosting your strength on all pressing exercises.
An often forgotten benefit of benching is that it develops and strengthens the serratus anterior muscles, located between the armpit and the ribs. Well developed serratus muscles not only look great, but they will also improve the functionality of your core and make you more powerful in twisting motions, such as when punching or whacking a baseball.
Bench Pressing Strengthens Your Bones
Who would’ve known that benching makes your bones stronger? But, that’s precisely what a 2014 study by Shanb, et al. revealed. The study, which was published in the Journal of Family and Community Medicine, showed that people who exercised with the bench press increased the bone mass density of the lumbar spine, the right neck femur, and the right distal radial head. The study authors recommended that elderly people with osteoporosis would do well to incorporate bench press training into their lifestyle (2).
Bench Pressing Boosts Your Testosterone Levels
When you force your body to lift an extremely heavy weight, such as you do when benching, your body’s natural production of testosterone goes into overdrive. That’s why guys who are intent on packing on mass simply must bench – along with squatting and deadlifting. The more testosterone floating around your system, the stronger you’ll be – and the more muscle you will build (3).
Bench Pressing Improves Your Functional Strength
As the ultimate free weight exercise, the bench press improves your body’s ability to move through a natural range of motion. Unlike machines, it recruits stabilizer muscle groups and allows the body to balance and resist gravity.
Some people have complained that the bench press is not a functional exercise because you hardly ever replicate the benching movement in real life. The truth is that strength in the upper body is relatable to any movement. And there is nothing that will develop that strength as efficiently as the bench.
If you are developing your body as a whole – as you will when doing the bench, along with squats and deadlifts – you will be able to transfer the power that you develop and utilize it in a functional way.
So, the fact that the bench press doesn’t precisely simulate the body positioning and directional force of the scrum in the game of rugby, doesn’t mean that the bench won’t make you a better scrummer.
It most definitely will.
Final Word on the Real Bench Pressing Benefits
The bench press is a fantastic move for those looking to pack on some impressive muscle and build a body they can be proud of. The bench pressing benefits don’t end there because they also help grow your arms, strengthen your bones and generally improve your well-being. Let’s be honest; nothing feels better than setting a new 1-rep max or pushing yourself through a rep plateau.
Where are you on your bench-pressing journey? Have you already started to reap the bench-pressing benefits? If not, don’t give up. Keep pushing, and focus on good form, and the weight will grow in due course. With each bench-press set you do, you’re one step closer to your body and fitness goals.
(1) Saeterbakken AH, Van Den Tillaar R, Fimland MS (2011). A comparison of muscle activity and 1-RM strength of three chest-press exercises with different stability requirements. J Sports Sci. 29(5):533–538.
Contreras B, Leahey S (2011). The Best Damn Bench Press Article Period. T-Nation.com
Duffey MJ (2008). A Biomechanical Analysis of the Bench Press. A Dissertation in Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University. 91.
Saeterbakken AH, Van Den Tillaar R, Fimland MS (2011). A comparison of muscle activity and 1-RM strength of three chest-press exercises with different stability requirements. J Sports Sci. 29(5):533–538.