The story of the bench press starts in 1899 with a strongman and wrestler named George Hackenschmidt.
Also known as “The Russian Lion,” Hackenschmidt was known for inventing new exercises to help him prepare for wrestling matches.
One such exercise involved getting into a position known as the “wrestler’s bridge,” then gripping a barbell and pressing it over his chest.
Here’s what it looked like:
He modified the exercise slightly so that he was lying on his back instead of his neck (ouch), and then proceeded to press 362 pounds—a record that stood for 18 years.
Sooner or later someone decided to lay on a bench with the barbell suspended on pins overhead, and viola, the modern bench press was born.
“Hack,” as he was known, wasn’t just superbly strong, either. He also had one of the best physiques in the world at the time:
There’s a reason why every well-designed strength training program since then has included the bench press as one of its core exercises.
It’s one of the best all-around upper body exercises you can do, training the pectorals, lats, shoulders, triceps, and even the legs to a slight degree.
The bench press worked for George Hackenschmidt and now, a century later, the exercise he invented and evangelized is helping guys and gals everywhere get bigger, leaner, and stronger.
There’s just one problem.
While the bench press might seem like an artless, unsophisticated exercise, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.
Learning how to bench press with proper form is harder than you might think, but the rewards are well worth it.
In this article, you’re going to learn…
- What proper bench press form looks like
- How to do all of the best bench press variations
- What muscles the bench press works
- How to use a bench press calculator to decide how much weight you should use
- And more…
At the end, you’re going to get a proven, effective, and challenging bench press workout that you can start using right away.
Let’s get started.