Barbell Bench Press Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

Barbell Bench Press is a strength exercise that works your triceps, deltoids and pecs.

Barbell Bench Press is a great basic move. When done correctly, it can effectively target your arms, chest, shoulders, upper body and upper chest.

It requires barbell to do.

Barbell Bench Press

How to do Barbell Bench Press


Lay supine on bench. Dismount barbell from rack over upper chest utilizing broad oblique overhand grasp.


Lay flat on a bench with your feet on the ground. Place your hands on the barbell so that when the bar is at its lowest point your elbows are at 90 degree angles. Lower the barbell slowly and as low as possible. Push the bar back up keeping your back on the bench and feet still. This can also be done with dumbbells.


  • Range of motion will be compromised if grip is too wide.

  • Make sure to wrap your thumbs around the bar to ensure safety.

  • Competitive lifting requires bar to make contact with chest above bottom of the sternum with momentary pause. Gluteus Maximus, Erector Spinae, Quadriceps, and other muscles may be considered significant stabilizers during actual powerlift.

  • Chains provide increasing resistance as barbell moves away from floor. Chains can be used during either Powerlift-style Bench Press or Standard-style Bench Press.

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do barbell bench press from this step-by-step illustrations:

Barbell Bench Press 1
Barbell Bench Press 2
Barbell Bench Press 3
Barbell Bench Press 4

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for barbell bench press may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for barbell bench press are:

Primary Muscles

  • Triceps
  • Deltoids
  • Pecs

Synergyst Muscles

  • Front Deltoids

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Barbell Bench Press work?
Barbell Bench Press works triceps, deltoids, pecs.
What is Barbell Bench Press good for?
Barbell Bench Press is beneficial for conditioning and to strengthen. It works the best for arms, chest, shoulders, upper body and upper chest, as it works triceps, deltoids, pecs. Barbell Bench Pres is a great strength exercise for men and women.
Is Barbell Bench Pres a good exercise?
Barbell Bench Pres is a popular strength exercise for triceps, deltoids, pecs.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Barbell Bench Press faster?

Barbell Bench Press Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Barbell Bench Press and how should you?

Barbell Bench Press Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Barbell Bench Press Alternatives


Wonder how to make Barbell Bench Press either easier or more challenging?

Barbell Bench Press Variations

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Type(s) Strength, Compound
Muscles Worked Triceps Brachii, Deltoids, Pectorals, Anterior Deltoids
Difficulty Level(s) Basic, Challenging, Easy, Hard
Equipment Barbell, Weight Machine
Location At Gym

Muscles Worked

Target muscle(s) Triceps, Deltoids, Pecs
Synergyst muscle(s) Front Deltoids

Discover more