When it comes to maximizing your time in the gym there are a few exercises that in my opinion must dues and the barbell bench press is one of them an exercise like this is going to help you build foundational strength that will not only carry over into other exercises but help you increase your overall strength as well not to mention that if you want a big chest you need to learn how to bench correctly so that you can safely overload with as much weight as possible and my three golden rules will teach you everything you need to know.
all now golden rule number one learn how to pack your shoulders when bench pressing if your shoulders are not retracted and depressed you'll quickly learn what it means to plateau and have shoulder pain, in fact, this is the number one thing I see guys do wrong in the gym on a weekly basis packing your shoulders not only helps protect them but also changes the bypass the barbell moves through when benching allowing your chest to do the majority of the work to ensure you're trading the entire chest for example when your back is flat you'll bench more over your shoulders instead of your chest and you'll almost immediately stop flaring your elbows as well guys always remember that whatever push exercise you do you're always going to target the muscles that are in front the most so if you keep your back flat and shoulders unpacked which will cause them to slightly round forward a bit you're going to activate a lot more deltoids and fewer chests on every single rep so keep your shoulders packed throughout the entire movement and avoid shoulder pain to maximize your chest activations.
golden rule number two use the right grip width for your body type now I'm saying that the perfect grip with differs a lot from person to person, in fact, it's usually just a slight adjustment that's needed the majority of the time, however, your grip should always be about shoulder-width or a bit wide up a grip that's too close will shift the focus of the exercise to the triceps and if you're too wide this will bring more deltoids into the movement reduce the overall range of motion and contraction of the chest as well as raise the risk of a shoulder injury a good rule of thumb that's always worked for me is to put the tips of my thumb's on the edge of the knurling on the barbell and then from there get a super tight grip on the barbell this will get you in the optimal position that will help you keep your shoulders packed and elbows tuck throughout your entire set.
The final golden rule understand that the barbell bench press is a full-body movement guy if you can't feel the weight from the barbell from head to toe you're doing it wrong you should feel tension in your feet legs butt core back chest and arms on every single repetition whether by Bell or dumbbell bench pressing to lift as heavy as you can everything starts from having a solid base but what makes the barbell bench so great is that it's a lot easier to get into position and keep everything tight before and racking the weight with dumbbells you have to roll back and then fine-tune your starting position but with the barbell.
you can volt hands on the BAA plant your feet and then slide up the bench ensuring your shoulders are packed as tight as possible before unwrapping the weight in fact if you've never taken the time to really set up for a set of bench pressing once you try these tips I bet you almost immediately be able to add 5 to 10 pounds to your bench press now you can place your feet on the bench instead of on the ground if you want to make the push of the movement a lot more chest focus and not so much a full-body exercise but if the goal is to grow you want to be able to live this heavyweight as possible to overload your chest.
so if anything keep your feet on the ground for the majority of your sets and if you want to add in a few sets of your feet on the bench after your chest has already been fatigued that could be a good way to incorporate this alternative form into your training basically more as a burn outset than a true working set but no matter which variation you choose always remember to keep your core flexed and engaged on every repetition a loose cooler result at a massive decrease in your overall strength.
when benching now for those of you who've made it this far I have a bonus tip if you're still not quite feeling your chest activate while bench pressing this is what I want you to do once you get into position and unrack the barbell I want you to squeeze it as hot as you can while trying to push your hands together this will force a much hotter chest contraction on every single repetition just be careful you don't push your hands together so hard that they move and meet in the middle because that would be super embarrassing push them together just enough to feel that extra chest engagement.