Strength Training: Best Weight Bench Exercises
Strength training involves using resistance to increase your muscle mass and physical strength, increasing your overall fitness. Contrary to the popular misconception, this should not be limited to athletes. Since your muscle mass decreases as you grow older, going through a strength training program will help you maintain your ability to perform your daily tasks efficiently. At the same time, strength training can help you lose weight because muscles consume energy in order to move and having more of it means that you will burn more calories. As you can see, strength training will help you look great and feel great!
When your body exerts force against a resistance, the stress stimulates your body to build more muscles. For this reason, the weight or resistance should be increased as you go along. Otherwise, your body will get used to the resistance and it would not be stressed enough to build more muscles. You will end up with a plateau which doesn't produce any positive results. Of course, too much resistance can result to overtraining. This can make you prone to injuries and should be avoided.
There are three different types of strength training: body weight exercises, free weight exercises and machine exercises. In this hub, you will learn how to do some body weight and free weight exercises on an exercise bench.
Some Terms You Should Know
Pronated Grip Also known as the overhand grip, this is done by putting your hands over the bar with your palms down and your fingers pointing forward. Your thumbs, however, should remain pointing inwards as you grip the bar.
Supinated Grip Also known as the underhand or reverse grip, this is done by putting your hands under the bar with your palms up. You thumbs should be pointing outwards when you grip the bar.
Set This is the number of times you should do a series of repetitions. Resting is normally between sets.
Repetition This is equivalent to one full movement.
The Bench Press
This weight bench exercise takes care of your pectoral muscles. On a flat bench, this exercise will hit your general pectorals. An inclined bench will take care of your upper pectoral muscles while the declined bench press will strengthen your lower pectoral muscles. This fantastic exercise also strengthens your tricep muscles since you use them to push the barbell or dumbell all the way up.
- Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and your head, shoulders and buttocks flat on the bench.
- Now, position your head underneath the bar in such a way that your eyes are right below the edge of the shelf. Grab the bar with a pronated grip. Make sure that your hands are shoulder-width apart.
- Lift the bar from the shelf and slowly lower it to your chest.
- Lift the bar from your chest, fully extending your elbows. Slowly return it to your chest and repeat the lift until you've finished the number of repetitions required by your program.
- Don't arch your back when you lift the weight.
- If this is your first time to do this or you plan on increasing the weight that you are lifting, get a spotter.
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This is a more isolated form of chest exercise which can be done on an inclined or declined bench.
- Slowly lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor.
- Hold each dumbell with a pronated grip.
- Press dumbells upward, keeping your arms facing each other.
- Slightly bend your elbows and lower the dumbells to each side.
- With your elbows slightly bent, move the dumbells upward.
- Once the dumbells are slightly above your chest, pause and slowly move it downwards.
- Repeat the movement until you've finished the repetitions required by your program.
- If no one is assisting you, keep the dumbells close to your chest when you go on and off the bench.
Lying Tricep Extension
This weight bench exercise can strengthen and shape your triceps.
- Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor. Your head, shoulders and buttocks should be flat on the bench.
- Hold the bar with an overhand grip, keeping your hands 15 to 25 cm apart.
- Lift the bar above your chest with the bar parallel to the floor.
- Slowly lower the bar towards your forehead.
- When the bar is a few centimeters above your forehead, lift it until your elbowl are fully extended.
- Slowly lower the bar and repeat until you've finished all the repetitions indicated in your program.
- Get a spotter if this is the first time you're doing this or if you plan on lifting heavy weights.
The Barbell Behind Neck Press
This is great for shaping your deltoids. Your tricep also gets a workout during the lift.
- Sit on the bench, facing the rack.
- Hold the bar with a pronated grip and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your back straight and your stomach contracted, lift the bar and put it at the back of your neck.
- Keeping your elbows pointing outwards, lift the bar upwards until your elbows are fully extended.
- Slowly bring the bar down the back of your neck and repeat the lift until you've finshed your repetitions.
- If this is your first time to do this exercise, ask a spottet to lift the bar and put it on the back of your neck.
Inclined Dumbell Curls
This weight bench exercise is perfect for toning the biceps.
- Adjust the bench so that it is inclined at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees.
- Sit on the bench and lower the dumbells to your sides.
- Lift the dumbells, rotating your forearms in such a way that your palms are facing you.
Dumbell Bent Over Rows
Tone your back muscles with this weight bench exercise.
- Holding the dumbell with one hand, put the opposite hand and knee on the bench.
- Lower the dumbell such that your arm is extended.
- Pull the dumbell to your waist, pointing your elbow upwards.
- Slowly lower the dumbell and repeat the exercise until you've finished doing all the repetitions.
- Keep your abdominals contracted and your back straight when you do this exercise.
This bench exercise is used for toning your abdominals.
- Lie on the bench and hold on to the top of the bench.
- Lift both of your legs without bending your knees and keeping your legs together.
- Slowly lower your legs.
- Stop when your legs are a few centimeters above the bench.
- Lift your legs again. Keep on doing this after you've finished all the repetitions.
This is great for strengthening one's abdominals, especially the obliques. You may need to do other core strengthening exercises before you do this though. The degree of difficulty of this exercise is quite high.
- Lie on the bench ana hold on to the sides of the bench.
- Lift your legs without bending your knees and keeping them together.
- Move your legs to one side, creating an L with your body.
- Lift your legs and bring them to one side, drawing an arc with your feet.
- Lift your legs and return them to the other side. This is one repetition.
© 2008 Shanti Rose