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How to Bench Press Correctly

I must get 3-5 emails a day on this video that I posted a long time ago.  Here is the latest one:

Hello Smitty,

I found your bench press instructional video on youtube and it’s the best benching advice I’ve ever had!  My benching is more confident and feels much safer as well as the poundage increase!  I suffer from a slight shoulder problem, nothing serious but it’s enough to sometimes make my training joyless.  I have not had the flat bench press in my routine for over a year but I’m back benching and with no shoulder pain!


It has helped so many people I wanted to re-post it in case some people haven’t seen it.

Thank you all for your great feedback, I am very, very appreciative that is it helping so many people!



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5 Responses to “How to Bench Press Correctly”

  1. Allen Y Says:

    Great video, a lot of great information in a tiny amount of time.

  2. Jeff Says:


    This video certainly was excellent. But I have three questions I’d like to ask, since you’re such a wealth of knowledge.

    (1) You’ve clearly documented the set-up and technique to spare the shoulders as much as possible when using the bench press. Do you have any tips on doing so with DB bench pressing? Oftentimes you just see guys lay back, kick the bells up, and start pressing, which is decidedly different from the emphasis on pre-setting the scapulae with the barbell version and all of the other steps. I was just wondering what types of things should possibly be kept in mind when or would help with setting up for DB versions.

    (2) If working with competitors in bodybuilding, are there ever times when a moderate amount of elbows-flared barbell (not necessarily a full-fledged neck press though) or DB benching can still be used? I’m a big believer in doing the lion’s share of pressing as you outlined, so as to keep the taters healthy for the long haul. But if injury history is clear and no major inefficiencies are detected, can the more “risky” styles still be used sometimes. I ask t his not to be contrary but merely because the answer in training almost always seems to be “It depends” with few absolutes. Rather than chalk this up as an absolute, I wanted to ask if you see times if/when the other styles still have a place.

    (3) If the “bodybuilder style” lifts should be scrapped for good, what would be some of the best “safe” ways to maximally emphasize the pecs via pressing? Clearly the bench press itself should not be viewed as a major chest builder for most, so it would be great to get your take on this in the future.

    Keep up the phenomenal work, and thank you for sharing your time and talent with all of us.

  3. Jim Smith Says:

    1. DB bench pressing is the exact same. Keep your thoracic extension, form an inverted “V” angle with the dumbbells and tuck the elbows are about 45 degrees from your sides.

    2. It all depends. There are guys that bench their whole lives with the flared elbow position and never have problems. They are typically the 1/3 minority because of acromion type. I always recommend this safer position if you bench.

    3. Always go back to basics; push-ups, push-ups on rings.

    Thanks for coming to the site, tell your friends!

  4. Abi Says:

    Great video, I learnt a lot. I just have a quick question.

    I am an athlete and weight train quite heavily. I had always been taught to bend the knees and place my feet on the bench, chest up, abs in. Is this wrong- the whole knees on the bench action? I’ve also suffered from back injuries in the past so the arching you have demonstrated freaks me out a bit… I have even seen professional athletes at top leveles bench press this way (footballers, tennis, soccer etc…).

  5. Paul Says:

    Can’t thank Smitty and Brad enough.
    My 1RM is 135kg, and so, was doing 100kg for sets of 10 to 12. Then after doing bench wrong for all these years my left shoulder got so bad I couldn’t take 100kg down to my chest once without being in serious pain. Now after following the guys points, I’m back up to 7 reps with 100kg in 3 short weeks, and still getting used to a new technique. I know I’ll get stronger this CORRECT way.
    Guys I shake you by the hand. As anyone who trains will understand, not being able to bench was doing my head in. But now, thanks to this advice I can again. This is the best advice I have ever had in 30 years of training. CHEERS.

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