Anatomy of the Bench Press

Power Bench PressA question often asked by novice lifters is what muscles are used in the Bench Press. The answer varies with the type of Bench Press being attempted, but for the purpose of this Blog I will look at the Powerlifting Competition style Bench Press.


Bench Press is classified as

Basic: A principal exercise that can place greater absolute intensity on muscles exercised relative to auxiliary exercises.

Compound: An exercise that involves two or more joint movements.

Push: Movement away from centre of body during the concentric contraction of the target muscle.

Muscles Used

Target Muscle: The primary muscle intended for exercise.

Pectoralis Major, Sternal

Synergistic Muscles: A muscle that assists another muscle to accomplish a movement.

Pectoralis Major, Clavicular
Deltoid, Anterior
Triceps Brachii
Latissimus Dorsi

Dynamic Stabiliser Muscles: A biarticulate muscle that simultaneously moves through the two joints with little change in length, in effect shortening through the target joint and lengthening through the adjacent joint.

Biceps Brachii, Short Head

Stabiliser Muscles: A muscle that contracts with no significant movement to maintain a posture or fixate a joint.

Erector Spinae
Gluteus Maximus


Was this post useful ? Take a look at –

Part 2: Anatomy of Powerlifting Squat
Part 3: Anatomy of the Sumo Deadlift

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6 Comments on "Anatomy of the Bench Press"

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I am usually not one for heavy lifting, however I feel like the next time I hang out with the guy part of my group, I might sound more knowledgeable. 🙂


I like it, very informative but short and to the point. A suggestion: Tell your reader more about the benefits of doing this exercise. 🙂

Garth Delikan

Some good solid facts here, be good for some further articles on diffrent bench press styles, including DB’ and KBs perhaps?


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[…] my post Anatomy of the Bench Press I was asked what the benefits were for this exercise. Powerlifters, Bodybuilders and many regular […]