The most dangerous exercise in the weight room is neither the squat nor the deadlift. It’s the good old chesticle builder – the barbell bench press.
While there are many ways to kill yourself when you lift weights, the bench press remains the most straightforward method. The reason is pretty obvious – you are holding a heavy barbell over your face. If you drop the weight, it will fall directly on your throat, ribcage or face. The end result could be lethal.
An additional factor, making the bench press even more dangerous is the never-ending desire to lift more on. Ego lifting and heavy bench pressing have killed many people.
One of fastest ways to kill yourself when doing the bench press would be to use the thumbless grip. When you don’t wrap your thumbs around the bar, you are basically attempting a form of iron seppuku without even knowing it. When the weight is heavy and you’re struggling to lift it, the bar could easily slip out of your hands and fall on your chest, throat or face.
Be a wise guy and wrap your thumbs around the bar to prolong your miserable life a little longer. To secure your grip, even more, use chalk to increase the friction.
Of course, even if you wrap your thumbs around the bar, there’s still a chance to hurt yourself when you bench press. That’s why you should always use a weight that you can handle and bench press with a competent spotter or in a power rack.
Many people mimic the technique of professional bodybuilders, but that’s not always good. Bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank McGrath are known for using the thumbless grip when they bench. The fact that they are getting away with it does not mean that it’s proper form. This technique is a liability.
The bench press will forever be one of the most dangerous exercises, and yet it could be done safely with minimal risks for your health. Use your thumbs and choose the weight wisely.