Bench Press Warm Up: Improve Your Bench in Just 2 Minutes 

a vector image of two people doing a Bench Press Warm Up.

Looking for the perfect bench press warm up? Your not alone. Picture this: you step into the gym, eager to conquer the bench press. You load up the weights, position yourself on the bench, and prepare to push your limits. 

But wait! Before you dive into the heavy lifting, it’s crucial to warm up properly. In this article, we’ll delve into the essential warm-up routine for the bench press, discussing dynamic warm-ups, shoulder exercises, and the benefits of push-ups as a warm-up. 

We’ll also touch upon bench press form, mobility exercises, and the elevated scapula push-up. So, let’s get started on your journey to a stronger and safer bench press! 

Starting Low: The Best Way to Warm Up

When it comes to warming up for a bench press session, simplicity often reigns supreme. Rather than overcomplicating your warm-up routine with various exercises and stretches, the most effective approach can be as straightforward as starting with the bench press itself.

A lot of people use this bench press warm up method, including bodybuilders and powerlifters. It’s simple; the best way to warm up for a barbell bench press is by benching.

How It Works

Begin your warm-up by selecting a very light weight, such as an empty barbell or dumbbells, that allows you to perform the bench press with proper form and control. Aim for a high number of repetitions, typically around 10-15 reps, to increase blood flow to the muscles and activate the neuromuscular pathways involved in the bench press movement.

With each subsequent set, gradually increase the weight while decreasing the number of repetitions. This approach helps progressively challenge your muscles and nervous system while preparing them for the heavier loads you’ll be lifting during your working sets.

Benefits of Starting Low

Efficiency: This warm-up method can be completed in just a few minutes, making it ideal for individuals with limited time for their workout sessions.

Specificity: By starting with the bench press itself, you’re directly preparing the muscles and joints involved in the exercise for the upcoming workload.

Adaptation: Gradually increasing the weight allows your body to adapt to the increasing demands, reducing the risk of injury and improving performance during your working sets.

Mental Preparation: Starting with lighter weights can also help mentally prepare you for the heavier lifts ahead, building confidence and focus as you progress through your warm-up.

Dynamic Warm-Up for Bench Press  

Dynamic warm-ups are the key to priming your muscles and joints for the upcoming bench press session. 

Unlike static stretches, which involve holding a position for an extended period, dynamic warm-ups involve moving your body through a full range of motion. 

This helps increase blood flow, activates the nervous system, and improves muscle elasticity. 

Here are a few dynamic warm-up exercises to consider: 

Arm Circles: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms out to the sides. Make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles. Perform this movement for about 20 seconds in each direction. 

Shoulder Dislocations: Hold a resistance band or a broomstick with an overhand grip, hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Raise the band overhead and behind your back, then reverse the movement, bringing the band back to the starting position. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions, focusing on maintaining a smooth and controlled motion. 

Shoulder Warm-Up for Bench Press  

A proper shoulder warm-up is crucial for bench pressing safely and effectively. 

The bench press places significant stress on the shoulder joints, so it’s essential to ensure they are adequately prepared. 

Here are a couple of exercises that can help warm up your shoulders: 

Band Pull-Aparts: Hold a resistance band in front of you with your arms extended. Keep your palms facing down and pull the band apart by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions, focusing on the muscle activation in your upper back and shoulders. 

Shoulder Rotations: Stand with your arms relaxed at your sides. Slowly raise your arms, making circular motions with your shoulders. Perform 10 repetitions in each direction, gradually increasing the size of the circles. 

Are Push-Ups a Good Warm-Up for Bench Press for Bodybuilders?  

Push-ups are an excellent bench press warm up.

They engage the same muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps, making them an ideal pre-bench press activity. 

Push-ups not only activate the target muscles but also improve stability and increase core engagement. 

By performing push-ups, you’ll enhance your mind-muscle connection and promote better muscle recruitment during the bench press itself. 

Start with a set and rep range of 10 to 15 push-ups, focusing on maintaining good form and control. 

Bench Press Form and Mobility  

Once you have done your bench press warm up and ready to hit the bench, it’s crucial to focus on your form and mobility. Proper bench press form is essential for maximizing performance and minimizing the risk of injury. Here are a few key points to keep in mind: 

Grip Width: Your grip width will depend on your individual biomechanics and preferences. However, a standard grip is usually shoulder-width apart, allowing for optimal stability and muscle engagement. 

Elbow Position: Maintain a slight tuck with your elbows, around 45 degrees from your body. This position helps protect your shoulders and allows for a more efficient pressing motion. 

Arching Your Back: Arching your back slightly, while keeping your shoulder blades retracted and firmly in contact with the bench, creates a stable platform for pressing. However, be cautious not to excessively arch your lower back, which can lead to strain. 

Leg Drive: Utilize leg drive by driving your feet into the floor. This helps generate force and stability throughout your entire body, translating into a stronger bench press. 

Elevated Scapula Push-Up and Incline Bench Press  

To further enhance your bench press performance and address any potential mobility issues, consider incorporating the elevated scapula push-up and the incline bench press into your routine. 

Elevated Scapula Push-Up 

This exercise targets the muscles surrounding the scapula, promoting better scapular retraction and stability. 

Begin by placing your hands on elevated surfaces, such as yoga blocks or push-up handles. 

Assume the push-up position, and as you lower your body, focus on retracting and squeezing your shoulder blades together. 

Push back up to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement. Aim for 10 to 15 repetitions. 

Incline Bench Press For Repetitions

The incline bench press variation shifts the emphasis to the upper chest and shoulders. 

Set up an adjustable bench at an incline of around 30 to 45 degrees. Perform the bench press movement as usual, focusing on maintaining proper form and control. 

 This variation can help improve upper body strength and promote better overall chest development. 

Bench Press Warm Up – FAQs

How should I warm up for bench press?

Warming up for a bench press training session is crucial to prepare your body for the demands of the exercise and reduce the risk of injury.

Begin by increasing your core body temperature through light cardiovascular activity like jogging or cycling for 5-10 minutes.

Follow this with mobility drills focusing on shoulder mobility and thoracic spine mobility to ensure proper form during the bench press.

Incorporate dynamic stretching for the chest, shoulders, and arms to improve flexibility and range of motion. Gradually increase the intensity by performing light sets of bench press with an empty barbell or very light weight, focusing on proper form and activation of the prime movers.

Allow adequate rest between warm-up sets to recover and prepare for your main workout.

How do you warm-up for a 225 bench max?

Warming up for a heavy bench press max of 225 pounds requires a thorough warm-up routine to prepare your body for the intense lift.

Start with 5-10 minutes of light cardiovascular exercise to elevate your heart rate and increase core body temperature. Perform mobility drills and dynamic stretching targeting shoulder mobility, thoracic spine mobility, and chest flexibility.

Utilize a foam roller or lacrosse ball techniques to release tension in smaller muscle groups and the midline of your body.

Gradually increase the intensity with light sets of bench press, starting with an empty barbell and progressively adding weight.

Focus on activating the prime movers and stabilizing muscles to ensure readiness for your heavy lift, ensuring that your core temperature is raised and you have done a proper warm up. You should have a light sweat before starting.

How do you warm-up for chest day?

Warming up for a chest day training session involves a comprehensive approach to prepare your upper body for the exercises ahead.

Begin with 5-10 minutes of light cardiovascular activity on a stationary bike or rower to increase core body temperature and promote blood flow to the muscles.

Perform dynamic stretching and mobility drills focusing on shoulder mobility, thoracic spine mobility, and chest flexibility.

Use foam rolling or lacrosse ball techniques to target tight areas such as the lats and pec minor. Incorporate light sets of bench press or dumbbell presses to activate the chest muscles and prime movers.

Gradually increase the intensity and weight as you progress through your warm-up sets, ensuring proper form and muscle activation.

Are push ups a good warmup for bench press?

Push-ups can be a beneficial addition to your warm-up routine for bench press, especially for beginners or individuals with limited equipment access.

Push-ups help activate the chest, shoulders, and triceps while also engaging the core muscles. However, they may not fully prepare you for the specific movement pattern and demands of the bench press, especially if you’re lifting heavy weights.

Incorporating push-ups along with dynamic stretching, mobility drills, and light sets of bench press with an empty barbell or very light weight can provide a more comprehensive warm-up to prime your muscles and reduce the risk of injury during your bench press training session.

What’s a great bench press warm up?

A great bench press warm-up involves starting with light weights and gradually increasing to your working weight. This method efficiently primes your muscles, adapts your body to the upcoming workload, and mentally prepares you for heavier lifts, all in just a few minutes.

Warming up properly before bench pressing is essential for injury prevention and optimal performance. 

Incorporate dynamic warm-ups, shoulder exercises, and push-ups to activate the target muscles. 

Remember to prioritize proper bench press form, focus on mobility exercises like the elevated scapula push-up, and consider incorporating the incline bench press variation for a well-rounded routine. 

With a comprehensive bench press warm up, you’ll be well-equipped to take your bench press and overall strength to new heights! 

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