Name of Exercise—Free weight bench press
Type of Exercise—Multi-joint
Muscles Used—Chest and arms
During the upward phase of the movement, push your lower back into the bench, while focusing on contracting your chest muscles.
The number of repetitions (reps) and sets you should do depends on your strength goals. In general, muscle strength works to increase basic function of the muscle and is the typical workout choice. Muscle endurance is important to people who participate in endurance activities such as running or biking, and muscle power is beneficial for athletes who need to use sudden quick movements (eg, sprinting, playing basketball football). Beginners should begin with a basic routine and gradually move toward a strength, endurance, or power routine.
Beginner: 1 set of 8 to 10 reps
Muscle Strength: 1 to 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps
Muscle Endurance: 1 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
Muscle Power: 1 to 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps
Use a weight that is heavy enough to perform the desired number of reps and sets for your skill level using good form. Once you are able to perform more reps and sets than is outlined in your category, try to increase the weight you lift by 5% to 10%. Your strength goals may change as you progress.
Last reviewed May 2011 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 5/12/2011
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