Why Is Bench Press So Hard? 16 Things To Consider For Steady Progress

L J Kudos
Why is bench press so hard?

Why Is Bench Press So Hard? 16 Things To Consider For Steady Progress

When it comes to the bench press, many people find it one of the most challenging exercises around. But what makes it so difficult?

It may be annoying trying to determine the root cause of your struggles, but it’s worth investigating so you can put an end to it.

And is there anything you can do to make it easier?

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why the bench press is so hard, and offer some tips on how to make it a little less daunting.

Why is bench press so hard?

The bench press is a compound exercise, which means it involves multiple joints and muscle groups. This can make the exercise more difficult than others that focus on a single muscle group. Another reason the bench press is tough is that people often go too heavy when they first start trying to lift weights, as this can lead to poor form and injuries. Making sure you are eating and drinking correctly is important, if your diet isn’t great you might find this is holding you back from any potential progress. Is your routine stale and needs injecting with some changes? Or maybe you have developed a mental barrier towards the exercise. Do you have a limited range of motion for any reason? which might make the exercise harder, or maybe you lack a certain amount of intensity when working out. And finally, the bench press can be difficult because it requires a lot of technique. If you don’t have the right form, you won’t be able to lift as much weight. This can make the exercise very frustrating.

Let’s now look more in-depth at some of the reasons above and look at ways you can get more out of the bench press to allow you to do the exercise with confidence.

Compound exercise

The bench press is a compound exercise, which means it involves multiple joints and muscle groups. This can make the exercise more difficult than others that focus on a single muscle group.

One of the benefits of compound exercises is that they can help you to build strength in multiple areas at once. However, this can also be a downside, as compound exercises can be more difficult to master than isolation exercises.

You may not realise, but there are quite a few things to consider when doing bench press, it’s not just a case of pressing the weight.

There is also the bar path, your grip and grip width, if you are bouncing the bar off your chest, positioning of your elbows, wrist extension and leg placement. All of these factors need to be considered to perform the bench press with good technique.

If you are struggling with the bench press, it might be worth focusing on some simpler exercises that target the same muscle groups.

This could help you to build up the strength and technique required to master the bench press.

Lack of strength

One of the reasons the bench press is so hard is that people often lack the necessary strength to do the exercise properly.

If you don’t have enough strength, you won’t be able to lift the weight correctly and this can lead to injuries. It is therefore important to make sure you are gradually increasing the weight you are lifting so that your muscles can adapt.

If you are new to lifting, you will more than likely lack the strength required to do the bench press correctly. In this case, it is worth starting with some basic exercises that target the same muscle groups.

This could include dumbbell presses, push-ups or flyes. Once you have built up enough strength, you can then start to focus on the bench press.

Even when you have built up some strength, the bench press can still be a difficult exercise. This is because you need to use multiple muscles at the same time, which can be tough, so make sure you get the exercise down before adding heavy weights to the bar.

Why is bench press so hard?

Going too heavy

Another reason the bench press is tough is that people often go too heavy when they first start trying to lift weights.

This can lead to poor form and injuries, as you won’t be able to lift the weight correctly if your form is poor. It is therefore important to make sure you are gradually increasing the weight you are lifting so that your muscles can adapt.

Looking at others who are lifting the kind of weights you would like to lift, doesn’t translate well, unfortunately.

It may sound ridiculous, but have you thought about doing push-ups to improve your strength before you attack the bench press?

It’s a basic exercise but a very good beginner’s alternative. If regular push-ups are too hard for you, try doing them off your knees, as you won’t be lifting as much weight and this is helpful to build strength and confidence in your pressing abilities.

If you are trying to lift a heavier weight than what you can do just because then you need to re-evaluate why you are doing this and if it’s really worth the risk.

Related: Why do your arms give out before your chest?

Poor form

One of the main reasons people struggle with the bench press is because of poor form.

If you don’t have good technique, you won’t be able to lift the weight correctly and this can lead to injuries. It is therefore important to make sure you are using good form before you start adding any weights to the bar.

Let’s look at some of the most common problems people face with their form and how they can improve it.

Bar path

One of the main things you need to focus on when doing the bench press is the bar path.

The bar should be pressed in a straight line from your shoulders to your hips. If you are pressing the bar in an arc, you will be using the incorrect form and this can lead to injuries.

To ensure you are pressing the bar in a straight line, focus on keeping your elbows close to your body and tucking them in as you lower the bar.

Grip and grip width

Another thing to focus on is your grip and grip width.

Your hands should be placed just outside shoulder-width apart, with your thumbs wrapped around the bar. This will help you to keep the bar under control and in the correct position.

If you grip the bar too narrow, you won’t be able to press as much weight and if you grip it too wide, you will put unnecessary strain on your shoulders and triceps.

A close grip bench press is a variation of the regular bench press and it can help to focus on your triceps more, but you might want to concentrate on the regular wide grip variation, to begin with.

Make sure you are adequately gripping the bar as well, having a limp grip won’t help you to keep the bar under control.

Bouncing bar

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing the bench press is bouncing the bar off their chest.

This is not only incorrect form, but it can also be dangerous as it puts unnecessary strain on your shoulders.

This also shows a lack of control and confidence in your ability to press the weight. If you are bouncing the bar, focus on slowing down the descent of the bar and getting a good

You should also use a spotter when doing the bench press, as they will be able to help you if you get stuck at the bottom and also help assist you with the last few reps of your set.

This also shows a lack of control and confidence in your ability to press the weight.

If you are bouncing the bar, focus on slowing down the descent of the bar and getting a good stretch in your chest before pressing the bar back up.

Elbows flared

Another common problem people face is flared elbows. This puts unnecessary strain on your shoulders and can lead to injuries.

This might also be one of the reasons you may have an incorrect bar path, as your elbows pointing in various positions can determine the direction the bar goes.

Flaring elbows are often another sign of trying to lift a weight that’s too heavy for you and your body is trying as hard as possible to lift the weight, by any means necessary.

To avoid this, focus on keeping your elbows close to your body and tucking them in as you lower the bar.

This will help to keep the bar in the correct position and also help to focus on your chest muscles.

Why is bench press so hard?

Wrist extension

Another common issue people face when doing the bench press is wrist extension.

This is where your wrists are extended too far back and this can lead to pain in the wrists and also elbows.

To avoid this, focus on keeping your wrists in line with your forearms and keeping them straight throughout the exercise.

You may also want to use wrist wraps to help support your wrists and prevent any injuries.

Once again, if you notice you have any kind of wrist extension it will be down to lifting a weight that’s too heavy for you and you aren’t able to sufficiently hold the bar without your wrists folding back.

This is very dangerous and can lead to serious injuries, so focus on using a weight you are able to control.

Related: Why Do I Only Feel Chest Exercises In The Front Of My Shoulders?

Poor leg placement

Your legs also play an important role in the bench press and where you place them can determine how much weight you are able to press.

If you place your feet too close to the bench, it will be harder to press the weight as you won’t have a solid base to drive the weight up from.

Your feet should be placed flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart, with your legs slightly bent. This will give you a solid base to press from and help you to keep the bar under control.

If your feet are too far away from the bench, it will be harder to keep your back flat against the bench and you also won’t have as much power to press the weight.

Lack of scapula movement

Another issue people face when bench pressing is not moving the scapula. The scapula is the bone that sits behind your shoulder blade and it’s important to move it when doing the bench press.

If you don’t move the scapula, it can lead to an impingement in the shoulder and also increase the chances of injury.

To ensure you are moving the scapula, focus on retracting (or pulling back) the scapula as you lower the bar.

As you press the bar up, focus on protracting (or pushing forward) the scapula. This will help to keep the bar in the correct position and also ensure you are using the correct muscles.

Not moving the scapula is often a sign of not using the correct muscles when bench pressing and this can lead to injuries and also reach a plateau sooner than you would like.

Limited range of motion

An additional issue people face when bench pressing is a restricted range of motion. This means not lowering the bar all the way to your chest and not pressing the bar all the way up.

This can be down to a number of things, such as using a weight that’s too heavy, using incorrect form, being injured around the shoulder area before or simply not being able to move the weight through a full range of motion.

If you are using a weight that’s too heavy, your body won’t be able to safely move the weight through a full range of motion and this can lead to injuries.

To ensure you are using a weight that’s suitable for you, focus on using a weight that you can control and moving through a full range of motion.

If you are using incorrect form, this can also restrict your range of motion and lead to injuries. Make sure you are using a weight that you can control and focus on using good form.

If you have been injured in the shoulder, arm or back area before, this can also restrict your range of motion. It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard if you are still recovering from an injury.

How is your diet?

Your diet is important when trying to improve your bench press and if you aren’t eating correctly, this can hold you back from any potential progress.

Make sure you are eating enough protein, as this will help to build muscle. Good sources of protein include chicken, fish, beef, tofu and lentils.

You should also focus on eating complex carbohydrates, as these will help to give you energy. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include wholegrain bread, rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes.

In addition to this, you should also make sure you are staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your muscles healthy and prevent injuries.

Sufficient recovery?

If you are training hard but not giving your body enough time to recover, this can lead to burnout and a decrease in performance. It’s important to make sure you are giving your body enough time to recover between workouts.

One way to do this is by ensuring you are getting enough sleep. aim for eight hours of sleep per night.

In addition to this, you should also focus on eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This will help to keep your body in peak condition and allow it to recover properly.

Finally, you should make sure you are using the correct supplements. Creatine is a popular supplement that can help to improve performance and recovery.

Why is bench press so hard?

Mental barrier 

A lot of people find the bench press to be a mental challenge as well as a physical one.

Another reason the bench press is tough is that people often go too heavy when they first start trying to lift weights, as this can lead to poor form and injuries.

Be honest with yourself about how much weight you can lift and don’t try to go too heavy too soon. Start with a weight that you can safely lift and focus on using good form.

As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the weight. But don’t try to lift a weight that’s too heavy for you, as this can lead to injuries.

In addition to this, focus on your breathing and make sure you are exhaling when you press the weight up. This will help to ensure you are using proper form and not holding your breath, which can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness.

Making sure you are mentally prepared for the challenge of the bench press is important if you want to be successful.

Related: Why is my bench press so inconsistent?

Set small goals to work towards

If you are finding the bench press to be tough, one way to stay motivated is to set small goals to work towards.

Start by focusing on improving your form and using a weight that you can safely lift. Once you have mastered these two things, you can start to focus on increasing the weight gradually over a period of time, with progressive overload.

In addition to this, focus on setting personal records. When you are able to lift more weight or do more reps than you have done before, this can be a great way to stay motivated and progress.

Final thoughts…

The bench press is a tough exercise, but it’s possible to improve with time and practice.

Start by focusing on improving your form and using a weight that you can safely lift. Once you have mastered these two things, you can start to focus on increasing the weight gradually over a period of time, with progressive overload.

In addition to this, focus on eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep and recovery. This will help to keep your body in peak condition and allow it to recover properly.

Finally, don’t forget to set small goals to work towards. When you are able to reach these goals, it can be a great way to stay motivated and progress.

Do you find bench press hard? Let me know in the comments below.

If you enjoy sport and use CBD to help with your recovery in between gruelling workouts, then you are in the right place. Here at Sport CBDs, we train hard and recover the best way possible…

We have regular workouts (check out the YouTube channel), CBD news and CBD products to help you gain that edge! 

If you wanted to check out the reputable CBD we have on offer here at the site, then please head to the Sport CBDs Store (CLICK HERE). We also do fitness clothing and yoga accessories too. 

Until next time, all the best…

Beginners Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Lee

Founder – Sport CBDs

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