I was recently watching some videos on bench press form and most of them told me that my elbows should not go pass my shoulders during the exercise. I don't get it, I see pro bodybuilders do it all the time and in dumbbell presses, your elbows go way back. Is this bad for your elbows to go past your shoulders during bench press. Plz help, I am about to start going to the gym in a few days.

  • 1
    Do you have a link to these videos? I suspect they mean past your shoulders in the frontal plane, but can't tell from your description.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 20:01
  • You are talking about whether to bench with your elbows at a 90 degree angle to your body? I presume you aren't talking about how far to drop your elbows? I like AthleanX's set of the bench press - its a pretty good overview: youtube.com/watch?v=vthMCtgVtFw Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


It depends on the style of bench press, everyone has a different style. If you have a wide grip, naturally your elbows won't be going past your shoulders as your chest is going to stop it. In general your bench press the bar should touch your chest and come straight back up in an up and down motion so don't worry about where your elbows go to and just touch your chest.

Some bodybuilders prefer to have smaller range of motion on the chest to activate less of the tricep and keep the tension on the chest so elbows going just below shoulders and then push up a few inches away from full lock so you don't activate the tricep as much to focus on the chest.

I wouldn't worry about the advice you're given in terms of where the bar goes because at the end of the day the bar can only go up and down. Its more about hand positioning, keeping your back and wrists in the correct positions and staying safe with a weight you can do.


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