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In weightlifting, the bench press is one of the most effective chest exercises, and a common gauge of progress. To perform the exercise, one lies flat on a bench with his/her feet firmly on the ground (optionally, the feet may lie on the end of the bench) to provide balance. An overhead bar, which usually weighs 45 pounds by itself, is loaded with weights and then lifted down onto the chest, and finally pushed back to its original position. The exact form of this motion takes several months to master, and is crucial to safely performing a bench press. In order to bench press more weight and to ensure safety, one may have a spotter on hand. A successful bench press will work your deltoids, your triceps, and the entirety of your chest.

The bench press is so common that the maximum amount of weight one can bench press is sometimes used as a general (though fairly inaccurate) gauge of progress in one's bodybuilding career (and, more often, a point to brag about).

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