Execution Lie flat on the bench (supine) supporting your head and back, with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Position yourself and take hold of the bar, which should be directly above your eyes, with a symmetrical overhand grip (pronation), hands slightly beyond shoulder-width apart, preferably keeping your thumb below the bar. Inhale before taking the bar down from its supports and bring it into line with your chest. Lower your elbows away from trunk until the bar is just above the middle part of your chest, and then raise it vertically. Breathe in as you lower the bar and exhale as you complete the lift. Comments This is a basic exercise. It is heavy but simple; it requires concentration and, often, assistance. If the bench is high, it is a good idea to position the feet on a step to avoid excessive curvature of the lower back. However, the main thing is stability. You may arch your back (which provides greater power) to complete a set, but only if you have difficulty with the last repeat and you do not have the help of a fellow athlete. Be careful to leave the bar properly in its supports when you finish. Variations outside the trajectory described (e.g., lowering the bar toward the shoulders or the abdomen) are not recommended, and in any case, they do not provide any additional benefits. Though it is defined as an antagonistic muscle in this exercise, the biceps also takes the strain in the bench press. This is just one of the many examples where a muscle moves in one way but can also help its antagonist, depending on which part of the body is focused on and other factors. Common mistakes: arching the back (this means your feet are placed too low); bouncing the bar off the chest, lowering the bar toward the neck or abdomen; excessive or insufficient weight; locking the elbows at the apex of the movement; moving the feet, back or head.