Why Is My Bench Press Uneven? Everything You Need To Know To Level The Bar

L J Kudos

Why Is My Bench Press Uneven? Everything You Need To Know To Level The Bar

While working out recently you may have noticed that when you bench press, something feels strange and you aren’t lifting the weight evenly.

After giving it some thought you might be wondering “why is my bench press uneven”.

There are a few reasons why this might be the case and the issue will need fixing so you can get back to an even bench press.

Why is my bench press uneven?

There are a few reasons why your bench press might be uneven. First, it could be due to muscle imbalances. If you have stronger muscles on one side of your body, they will tend to take over during exercises like the bench press, which can cause the weight to be lifted unevenly. Second, your form could be causing unevenness. If you are bench pressing with a narrow grip, for example, your triceps will have to work harder on one side to keep the bar stable. This can cause the bar to drift to one side or the other, resulting in an uneven press. Finally, it could simply be that you are stronger on one side than the other. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can make your bench press appear uneven. If you are concerned about your form or strength imbalances, speak to a certified personal trainer or coach who can help you correct them.

Poor form

Poor form is a common cause of an uneven bench press. There are quite a few different factors at play when doing bench press and we will look at those shortly.

Not having one of the many variables in the perfect position can lead to having the bar raised more on one side than the other, making your bench press appear uneven.

Bench positioning 

The way you position your torso can have a bearing on how even you bench press. If you are not laying in the centre of the bench your arms will have to reach further to the side to grip the bar.

Your body won’t also have anything to push off against, which may lead to an uneven bench press, as well as causing a potential injury.

This can make one arm work harder than the other and lead to an uneven press. Make sure you are laying central on the bench and have an even grip on the bar before starting your lift.

Why is my bench press uneven?

Weak chest and triceps muscles

Weak muscles can be a contributory factor to an uneven bench press. It’s more common to have one side weaker than the other, but not always to the same degree.

If you have particularly weak pec muscle, it can make the bench press appear uneven as your body tries to compensate for the imbalance.

The best way to combat this is to focus on strengthening your muscles with specific exercises.

If you have a very weak side, you may need to start with some basic exercises to get the muscle firing properly before progressing to the bench press.

The triceps are the muscles on the back of your upper arms and play a big part in the bench press.

If they are weak, it can cause the bar to drift to one side or the other, resulting in an uneven lift.

Again, the best way to combat this is with specific exercises that target the triceps.

Wrist problems

Another common cause of an uneven bench press is wrist problems. If you have weak wrists, they can give way during the exercise and cause the bar to drift to one side.

This is usually more of a problem with heavier weights but can happen with lighter weights too.

This can be a problem especially if you have recently sprained your wrist or are suffering from arthritis.

The best way to avoid this is to make sure your wrists are properly supported when doing the bench press.

You can do this by using wrist wraps or by holding the bar with a thumbless grip while reducing the weight considerably to enable you to complete the lift without any wrist issues.

Related: How Fast Should My Bench Press Be Increasing As A Beginner? All The Answers For Rapid Progress

Flaring elbows and narrow grip

If your elbows are flaring out in different directions instead of staying in a straight line directly under the bar, it can cause the bar to drift to one side during the bench press.

This also applies if you are using a narrow grip to bench press. The best way to avoid this is to make sure your grip is even and not too narrow when doing the bench press.

You can also try using a thumbless grip to help keep the bar more stable in your hands.

This is because your triceps muscles have to work harder to keep the bar stable, which can lead to one side working harder than the other and an uneven lift.

The best way to avoid this is to make sure your elbows are directly under the bar as you push it up in a straight line and not at any angle when doing the bench press and to focus on keeping them there throughout the exercise.

You can also try using a wider grip to bench press, which should help you keep your elbows in the correct position.

Scapula retraction

If one or both of your shoulder blades are not properly retracted when you lower the bar to your chest, it can cause the bar to shift to one side during the bench press.

This is because your triceps have to work to keep the bar stable, which can lead to one side working harder than the other and an uneven lift.

The best way to avoid this is to make sure your shoulder blades are retracted when you lower the bar to your chest and to focus on keeping them there throughout the exercise.

You can also try using a lighter weight to bench press while focusing on proper form to help you keep your shoulder blades retracted.

Retracting your scapula involves being aware of the movement and consciously pulling your shoulder blades back and down as you lower the bar.

It should be a smooth movement and not something that is forced or jerky.

You can also try doing some exercises that specifically target the muscles that help retract your scapulae, such as rows and pull-ups.

You can also practice retracting them without any weight, so you get used to the range of motion moving this part of your body, if you aren’t familiar with doing so can feel a little strange, to begin with.

Why is my bench press uneven?

Weak delts

If these muscles are weak or tired, it can cause problems when it comes to pressing the bar.

Don’t overwork your shoulders if you are going to be doing a bench press session the following day or two, plan your workouts a little differently.

Your delts can also be used more if you are trying to bench press too high up your chest. Doing so will cause the deltoids to be activated more to take the weight and press it.

This will put more strain on your shoulder joints and may cause injury if your form is off and you are lifting a heavy weight.

Make sure the bar is across the nipple line when you are bench pressing. This is generally considered to be the safest and most effective way to bench press.

You can try using a lighter weight to bench press while focusing on proper form to help you keep your deltoids retracted.

If you retract your shoulder blades, you will find that your shoulders will naturally pull back and not be rounded forward, which can help take some of the strain off your deltoids.

Related: Why is my bench press so inconsistent?

Feet placement

If your feet are not placed correctly it can affect the bar you are trying to lift, as your legs act to balance your torso.

If your feet are not flat on the ground, it can make it difficult to drive through your heels and legs to press the barbell up.

This can cause your weight to be unevenly distributed and make it difficult to press the bar in a straight line.

The same applies if you have your feet too close together, as they won’t be able to provide the same stability as if they were placed further apart.

Your feet should be placed hip-width apart with your toes pointing forward when you are bench pressing. This will give you a stable base to press from and help you keep the barbell moving in a straight line.

You can also try using a lighter weight to bench press while focusing on proper form to help you keep your feet in the correct position.

Having correct grip width

If you don’t have the barbell in the correct grip width, it can cause the bar to move unevenly as you press.

A grip that is too wide will make it difficult to keep control, due to the fact you won’t have enough leverage to press the barbell.

A grip that is too narrow, on the other hand, can put unnecessary strain on your wrists and elbows.

The ideal grip width is generally considered to be just outside shoulder width. This will give you enough leverage to press the barbell while keeping it under control.

I’m not suggesting you can or shouldn’t use other grip widths, but to stamp out any uneven pressing issues, it’s best to stick to a regular grip width first and foremost.

Muscle imbalances

One of the most common causes of an uneven bench press is muscle imbalances.

If you have stronger muscles on one side of your body, they will tend to take over during exercises like the bench press, which can cause the weight to be lifted unevenly.

This is why it’s important to focus on exercises that work both sides of the body equally. This will help to balance out the muscles and prevent one side from becoming too dominant.

One of the best ways to do this is by using dumbbells instead of a barbell for your bench press. This will force each side to work independently, which will help to even out the muscles.

Why is my bench press uneven?

Injuries and range of motion

If you have an injured muscle, it can cause the bench press to be uneven.

This is because the injured muscle will not be able to generate the same force as the other muscles, which can cause the bar to lean to one side.

It’s important to rest any injured muscles and let them recover before trying to bench press again.

If you have a limited range of motion, it can cause the bench press to be uneven.

This is because you will not be able to lower the bar all the way to your chest, which can cause it to lean to one side.

It’s important to focus on improving your range of motion before trying to bench press again.

One of the best ways to do this is by using a foam roller to help loosen up your muscles.

You can also try doing some stretching exercises to help improve your range of motion. Improving your flexibility will also help to improve your bench press.

Too heavy 

If you are trying to bench press too much weight, it can cause the bar to be lifted unevenly.

This is because your muscles will not be able to generate the same force, which can cause the bar to lean to one side.

Your more dominant side will be working its socks off to get you out of trouble, which will likely cause you to lose control of the bar and fail the lift.

It’s important to focus on using a weight that you can control. This will help you to keep the bar moving in a straight line and prevent it from veering off to one side.

Body symmetry

When it comes to your posture, try and make a conscious effort to get both sides of your body symmetrical.

If your shoulders are uneven, it can cause the bar to drift to one side or the other. The same goes for your hips and feet.

It’s important to keep your whole body in alignment when you are bench pressing. This will help to keep the bar moving in a straight line and prevent it from veering off to one side.

Use a spotter 

If you are still having trouble with an uneven bench press, it might be a good idea to use a spotter.

A spotter can help to keep the bar moving in a straight line and prevent it from veering off to one side.

It’s important to make sure that your spotter is someone you trust and who has experience in weightlifting.

Switch to dumbbells

One of the best exercises for building chest muscles is the dumbbell press. This can be done with one arm at a time or with both arms together.

If you are pressing with both arms, make sure the weights are even in each hand. This will help to keep your muscles balanced and prevent any imbalances from developing.

If you are pressing with one arm at a time, start with the weaker side first. This will help to even out your strength and prevent any further imbalances from developing.

Try incline press

The incline press is another great exercise for building chest muscles. It can be done with a barbell or dumbbells.

If you are using a barbell, make sure the weight is evenly distributed in each hand. If you are using dumbbells, start with the weaker side first.

As with the flat bench press, make sure you keep your muscles balanced by evenly distributing the weight in each hand.

Faulty equipment

One thing to check is that the barbell itself is level. If it’s not, it can cause the bar to drift to one side or the other, resulting in an uneven lift.

The easiest way to check this is to set the bar up on a flat surface before starting your lift.

If it’s not level, swap it for a straight bar and see how you go with that.

The same goes for the bench you are pushing off from, if it’s not stable or placed evenly on the ground, it can cause your lift to be uneven and is also potentially very dangerous.

Final Thoughts…

If you are still having trouble with an uneven bench press, there are a few things you can try. Focus on improving your range of motion and flexibility, and make sure you are using a weight that you can control.

Use a spotter to help keep the bar moving in a straight line and check that your equipment is level and stable before starting your lift.

Think about all the different form tweaks you need to be aware of to keep the barbell level as you bench press. Check if your grip is too narrow or wide, if your shoulders are uneven, or if your hips and feet are uneven.

If any of these are the case, it can cause the bar to drift to one side or the other and result in an uneven lift.

If all else fails, you can try switching to dumbbells or doing an incline press instead. These exercises are great for building chest muscles and can help to even out your strength.

Whatever you do, don’t give up! With a little practice and patience, you’ll be benching evenly in no time.

Have you noticed your bench press is uneven? If so, how did you stop the problem? 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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