Lie back on a flat exercise bench with your knees bent and your feet flat on
the floor. Your back should maintain contact with the bench.
Have someone hand you the barbell, or lift
it off the rack at the head of the bench. Take a shoulder-width grip on the
bar, although grip width may vary from person to person. Hold the barbell over
your shoulders with your arms extended. Slowly lower the barbell to your chest.
Do not bounce at the bottom of the movement. Press the barbell upward to the
starting position without locking your elbow joints. Tense your chest muscles.
Repeat the exercise for the recommended
number of sets and repetitions.
Strict form is critical. Beginners
should practice the exercise with an empty bar to perfect proper
technique. Try not to let the bar bounce off your chest after the lowering
phase of the exercise. Bouncing could injure your chest and ribcage. Nor should
you arch your back during the lift. This action could put dangerous pressure on
your spine. To prevent arching, keep your feet flat on the floor and your back
pressed close to the bench.