Got 20 minutes to spare? Spending some time on your bench could be the answer. Bench pressing is the creme de la creme of upper body training. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, this exercise should be part of your programming. Let’s take a look at some of the awesome benefits bench pressing boasts.

The Benefits of Bench Pressing

1. It Boosts Your Overall Push Strength

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you bench press to get better only at bench pressing.

Push strength is an absolute must in the sports of functional fitness and Olympic weightlifting. Trying to get by without it is not only ineffective but dangerous. Even the simple act of holding a barbell overhead can’t safely happen without adequate push strength. Want to improve this in yourself? You should be benching.

This particular compound movement targets some of the major areas of your upper body and translates across many facets of both sports. That rock-solid power will come in handy when attacking push presses, push jerks, overhead squats and push-ups, just to name a few. Having a foundation built on pure strength and muscle mass will always make you a real force.

Bench pressing is for everyone.

2. It is an Efficient Compound Movement

Short on time? Tackle the compound movements! Like squats, the bench press works not one but multiple muscle groups. (In fact, some athletes refer to benching as squats for your upper body.) When you bench, you engage your pectorals, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, latissimus dorsi and even some of the muscles that wrap around your ribs. When it comes to upper body workouts, nothing else really compares.

To complete reps, these muscles need to work in sync, which gives you a challenging workout fast.

bench pressing

3. The Calorie-Burn is Extreme

Can we finally do away with the common exercise myth saying lifting weights will make you bulky? If you want to be lean, powerful and strong, weightlifting is nonnegotiable. Upper body lifts offer an extreme calorie-burn. That’s thanks to the simple fact that you’re engaging so many regions of your body at once. This is an intense exercise, which means you don’t need to spend a long time on it to make a serious impact. More muscle = a greater calorie expenditure = a leaner you.

4. It Promotes Bone Health

We’re not just doing this to look good, and not even just to get stronger. One study found including weightlifting movements like bench pressing in your training promotes bone health. It’s so good for you, it goes even deeper than your muscle tissues. Bench pressing will literally work you to your bones.

5. It’s an Opportunity to Improve Grip Strength

Benching often demands you squeeze the bar tightly to stay in control of the full movement. Aside from this giving you an even more intense burn in your arms (since it requires them to contract), a better grip is always a good idea in this sport. Want to up the challenge? Using a thick barbell will make it even harder.

One of the reasons functional fitness is so difficult to master is because there are countless movements to work on. Rest assured when you include a compound movement like bench pressing into your programming, you’re getting an all-encompassing monster workout in a short amount of time. Start spending time on the bench and watch as you improve elsewhere. Happy lifting!