Mistake 1. Bouncing The Bar
So many guys make the classic mistake of bouncing the bar off their chest when benching.. this is essentially cheating as it creates momentum to make the barbell easier to lift. It should also be noted that bouncing the bar is also very dangerous as you can also hurt your ribcage if the weight is heavy enough.
You need to be realistic with the weight your pushing, if you have to bounce the barbell off your chest, chances are it’s too heavy for you. Try instead working on your form, reduce the weight and lightly touch the barbell on your chest, to further emphasize strength, you should pause the barbell on your chest before pushing. Having this sort of control over the weight is not only safer, but will also help you make incredible gains.
Mistake 2. Not Getting A Lift Off
Not getting a lift off can really affect your performance, you will almost certainly alter your posture and starting position in a negative way, this will then affect your overall stability throughout the lift.
To ensure you don’t alter your start position, get your training partner to give you a lift off. If you don’t have a training partner ask someone at the gym for a lift off, most guys will be happy to assist. In a worst case scenario and you can’t find a spotter, simply adjust the pins to the height where you don’t need to lose your posture to lift out the barbell. Be sure to ONLY lift a weight you are comfortable with. Bench press in the power rack, if necessary.
Mistake 3. Not Using Your Legs
Right I know this sounds a little weird using your legs for an upper body movement, but you would be surprised how much they assist your performance and overall stability when performing a bench press.
When setting up for the bench press, DO NOT tap your feet or flail your legs as you bench, this will provide you with no stability whatsoever. Instead you should focus on rooting your feet into the ground during the setup in order build a firm foundation and starting position. Your focus should be to create total-body tightness.
Mistake 4. Setting Up With The Wrong Grip
The way you grip the barbell plays a massive part in your overall bench press performance. When setting up you must ensure you don’t grip the barbell too high in your palm — or around your fingertips — as this in turn will cause your wrists to bend backwards and can potentially cause an injury as a heavy barbell will strain the joints and tendons. You will also lose strength as the line of force from your elbows and forearms will not go directly through the barbell.