Bench press are one of the most common exercises, and for good reason, since they target a ton of muscles in your body. But if you’re new to strength training, walking into the gym and grabbing a bench might be a bit intimidating.
According to Men’s Health Eight exercises from Workout 1, Stage 1 of our Beginner’s Guide to Strength Training that you can do in preparation for your first bench press that will not only work those same muscles, but give you that much-needed confidence boost.
These 8 Exercises Will Help You Master the Bench Press:
Planks and side planks strengthen your core, which is important when it comes to bench pressing. Core stability not only reduces your risk of injury, but allows your muscles to work together more efficiently.
Dumbbell sumo squats work your lower-body muscles like your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors. Why are these important? Bench presses done correctly are actually full-body exercises, not just upper-body ones. You want your feet locked into the ground to create stability, and if your legs are weak, it can be hard to maintain this position. Dumbbell step-ups also work these same lower-body muscles.
Dumbbell bench presses are an entry into bench presses with a bar. They work your chest, shoulders, and triceps, just like a regular bench press does. Dumbbell presses also place your muscles under more tension, meaning they’re working harder and getting stronger.
Dumbbell standing one-arm rows strengthen your back and shoulder muscles, which will help you be able to eventually lift heavier loads when you bench. These muscles help stabilize your arms to help when you bring the bar back to your chest. Kneeling lat pulldowns work these same muscles as well.
Pushups are a great exercise to do in preparation since they mimic the bench press. Standard pushups work your chest, shoulders, and triceps, which are the same muscles a bench press work. You can also do close-grip pushups and wide-grip pushups to prepare for close-grip bench presses and wide-grip bench presses when you’re ready to tackle them.