The bench press is the most dangerous exercise among the popular lifts. A single slip and you could end up dead or seriously injured. Here are a few tips that will allow you to bench press safely when you are alone in the gym or at home.
1.Bench press in a power rack
The safest way to bench press is in a power rack with the safety pins ready to catch the barbell if something goes wrong. Benching in a power rack is safer than benching with incompetent spotters. Make sure that the safety pins are set at the right height. You should be able to bench press with a full range of motion while the pins protect your face and ribcage. In other words, they should not be too high or too low.
2.Use a bench press station with safety pins
There are many bench press stations with safety hooks. If your gym has one, use it. The set-up should be the same as with the power rack – not too high or low.
This option is not as safe as the power rack because the catchers are often too short. Be careful and evaluate the situation with caution. If it doesn’t feel safe, don’t do it. Never forget that you are the only one responsible for your body.
The implementation of weightlifting chalk is a great way to add safety to your bench press workout. During a heavy session, your hands will get sweaty. This adds instability to your lift, and the bar may even slip out of your hand. Weightlifting chalk helps the prevention of a similar scenario. As a bonus, you will also feel stronger because your grip will be tighter.
4.Don’t use thumbless grip when you bench press
One of the dumbest things that you can do is benching with a thumbless grip. Without your thumb around the bar, it’s easy to lose control and kill yourself. This topic is very important, and you can read a dedicated article here.
If you don’t have a competent spotter, a power rack or a special bench press station with safety hooks, you have no business doing heavy benching. Instead, you can try the good old dumbbell bench press which is much a safer version of the exercise for lonely lifters. However, don’t go too heavy. This is an assistance exercise and maxing out is not needed. Your face will appreciate it.
6.Control the bar the whole time
Control the bar during the execution of the whole movement. Re-rack the bar smoothly. Don’t just drop it on the hooks. If you do so, the bar may bounce back and fall on top of you.
7.Don’t train your ego. Train your muscles.
Never overestimate what you can do, especially when you are alone. Even if you have the equipment required to bench press safely, there is no reason to fail a rep. Avoid failure because it has a negative impact on your mindset.