Bench Press Safety Guidelines: Protecting Your Shoulders

When it comes to bench press, ensuring proper form and technique is crucial to both your safety and the effectiveness of your workout. In this blog post, we will explore essential safety guidelines that every individual should follow during bench press exercises. From working with a personal trainer to understanding the importance of controlled movements and shoulder positioning, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to perform bench press safely and optimize your results.

Guided Arm Positioning: A Personal Trainer’s Role

One of the key elements of a safe bench press is understanding how far your arms should descend. Working with a knowledgeable personal trainer can provide invaluable guidance in this regard. By placing their hands at the line of your back, the personal trainer ensures that your elbows touch their hands as the stopping point. This approach guarantees the safety of your shoulders during bench press or dumbbell chest press exercises.

Controlling the Eccentric Phase: Avoiding Injury

bench press personal trainer

The bench press consists of two phases:

  • The downward (eccentric) phase
  • The upward (concentric) phase.

Injury often occurs during the eccentric phase, where quick, uncontrolled movements can lead to accidents. To minimize the risk, it is recommended to slow down the eccentric phase and take approximately three seconds to complete the descent. This controlled movement significantly reduces the chances of injury and promotes a safer bench press experience.

Learn more about eccentric and contric contraction

Shoulder Packing: Enhancing Stability and Preventing Injuries

Shoulder packing plays a vital role in protecting your shoulders during bench press exercises. By engaging your scapulae and actively squeezing them together, you achieve a stable and strong shoulder position. This not only reduces the risk of injury to the anterior capsule of your shoulders but also enhances overall shoulder stability.

Focusing on “depressing and retracting your scapulae” during any upper body strength training will provide an added layer of protection.

Adequate Rest: The Importance of Recovery


While the desire to push your limits and progress quickly is understandable, giving your body sufficient rest is crucial for preventing injuries and maximizing gains. The duration of rest between training sessions varies based on the type of training:

  • Endurance training: Allow 48 hours of rest when performing reps to fatigue of 12 or more.
  • Hypertrophy training: Provide 48-72 hours of rest when performing reps to fatigue of 6-12.
  • Strength training: Allocate 72 hours or more of rest when performing reps to fatigue of 6 or fewer.


Prioritizing safety and implementing proper techniques during bench press exercises are essential for optimal results and injury prevention. By working with a qualified personal trainer, focusing on controlled movements, maintaining proper shoulder packing, and allowing adequate rest, you can make the most of your bench press workouts while safeguarding your shoulders and overall well-being. Remember, a mindful approach to training leads to long-term success and sustainable progress.

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