Yes, Most Anytime Fitness clubs have bench press weights and exercises.
Basically, bench press refers to exercises taken under a weight bar of varying weights. The goal of the bench press is to enhance upper body muscle mass (specifically the chest, shoulders, and triceps), strength, and endurance.
Weight press is intimidating, to say the least, which is why most people try to avoid them for strength training. However, Anytime Fitness has trainers and classes dedicated to bench press, facilitating your confidence with the exercise.
How Much Does the Bench Press Bar Weigh at Anytime Fitness?
As a whole, Anytime Fitness clubs have two types of bench press bars, each with varying weights and weight ranges.
- The Olympic barbell weighs 45 pounds(unloaded). You can also load the bar from a minimum of 2.5 pounds plates to 45-pound weight plates. The Olympic bar is the standard bar size, with a length of 7 feet long.
- Next, there is a shorter bench press bar, between 4 and 6 feet. It is preloaded to between 20 and 120 pounds, depending on your preference and skill level. Due to the smaller weight option and the preloaded factor, this bench is the most convenient for beginners.
Types of Bench Press
Different modifications for the bench press allow you to target the different upper-body muscle groups. The modifications may also increase or decrease the weight of the bench press.
On top of that, your grip on the bench press bar as well as your form, will vary depending on the type of press.
A) Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press is perfect primarily for the shoulders and secondarily for the triceps. It involves adjusting the bench incline vertically, about 15 to 30 degrees at each incline.
Usually, it would help if you started with the lowest position, which is manageable and easier. However, as you progress with the incline, you will feel the weight heavier as you work the shoulders more.
The good news is that you can do the incline bench press with a set of dumbbells if you are not yet comfortable with the barbell or the barbell for a more strenuous exercise.
B) Decline Bench Press
The decline bench press works the lower pectoral muscles, giving you the coveted well-built chest region.
Basically, the press involves an adjustable bench, which you set in a reclining position. You work the pectoral muscles even more as you lower the decline angle, hence a greater impact.
C) Close Grip Bench Press
The close grip bench press requires that you bring your hands closer together during the bar lift. It targets working the triceps muscles of the arm.
Usually, you will place the barbell in the same position, then bring your hands to close proximity for the lift. Then, the shoulders are also in line with the palms for proper positioning. Finally, you will move your hands inwards during the lift.
The opposite of a close grip bench is a wide grip bench press. However, it is suitable for a different set of muscles, the pectoral muscles.
How to Use the Bench Press at Anytime Fitness
If you’re new to weightlifting or unfamiliar with the bench press, it’s best to start by practicing the technique with just the bar before adding weights. Once you feel comfortable, you can gradually increase the weight and follow these steps to perform a proper bench press using a barbell:
- Use a bench with a rack to hold the bar when you’re not lifting it. Load the barbell with the desired weight and secure each side with collars.
- Lie on the bench and position yourself so the barbell is directly above your eyes and nose.
- Plant your feet firmly on the ground and slightly arch your back, being careful not to overdo it. This will help you generate more power when pressing the bar.
- Grasp the bar with an overhand grip, placing your hands just outside your shoulders for a conventional bench press.
- Drive your feet firmly into the ground, brace your core, and lift the bar off the rack. Lock your elbows and position the bar directly above your chest.
- Lower the bar towards your chest in a controlled manner, pausing briefly once it touches your chest.
- Use your upper body to push the bar back up until your arms are fully extended, with your elbows slightly bent.
- Repeat the movement for three to ten reps before placing the barbell back on the rack.
If you’re hesitant about bench pressing for the first time or attempting a new weight, having someone stand behind you as a spotter is a good idea. This person can help you if you struggle or lose control of the bar during the lift.
How to Bench Press?
The Best Bench Press Form
One of the major things you should learn about any bench press is form. Without proper form, you may end up with injuries or a broken back, wrist, or even shoulders. Failure to concentrate on the form could also get you to drop the barbell on yourself, which is detrimental.
So, how do you perform a bench press in the proper form? Please follow the following simplified rules:
- Ensure that you have a firm grip on the bar once you lie under the barbell. Your hands should take an overhand position, whereby the thumbs are under the bar, and the fingers are over the bar. The thumb position will help stabilize the bar above you.
- Other than the close-grip bench press, the rest require that you position the hands slightly away from the shoulder width. This will further add to your stability and prevent shoulder blade injuries.
- The feet should be slightly apart, shoulder-width, and firmly set into the ground. Ensure that you don’t lift the bench until you are sure about your feet’ stability on the ground, which will save you from a backache or back injury.
- Your butt should be on the ground throughout the lifting process, though you will feel a slight arch in the small of your back. A slight bend could be helpful with an increased upper body challenge, but I would not recommend it for beginners.
Safety Notes to Consider When Taking a Bench Press
- Always ensure that the ball stays over your chest, not higher or lower. This will prevent the risk of injury, for instance, when placed over the neck.
- Ensure that you are in control of the barbell. It shouldn’t bounce off your chest but remain in controlled motion up and down.
- Your elbows should stay at a slight bend whenever you have the barbell. Thus, you can only lock them when putting the bar onto the rack.
- The neck should stay neutral and loose, relaxing the muscles and preventing injury from strain.
- Consider inhaling when bringing the barbell down on your chest and exhaling when pushing it up.
How Much Weight Should I Bench Press?
In general, your bench press weight will depend on your body weight and your lifting experience. As a rule of the thumb, a standard man should bench press a maximum of 90% of his weight. So, if you are 100 pounds, you should lift up to 90 pounds.
However, this number increases as you increase your weightlifting skills, confidence, and experience.
Also, it is recommended that one lifts minimum weight when they are a beginner. At Anytime Fitness, you can consider the preloaded barbell, which has a minimum weight of 20 pounds. Even if you feel you can manage more, the minimum weight allows you to learn form and build confidence with barbells before taking on real weight.
Therefore, you should always be in control of the weight you lift for beginners to avoid injury and accidents.
Last but not least, men tend to lift heavier weights than women, putting all other factors constant. Again, this is attributed to the differences in masculinity and femininity.
Anytime Fitness offers bench press exercises, which are a new advanced level of strength training. Some trainers facilitate a safe transition to the new exercise and even guide you on the best ways to start.