The strongest, smartest lifters don't bench-press with their upper arms 90 degrees from their sides. They tuck their elbows in on the descent to get more power and reduce the risk of shoulder injury. Performing the neutral-grip bench press for eight to 12 weeks will help you get comfortable with the technique.
* Note: the main image above this article is NOT a neutral grip. See below for proper neutral grip form.
1) Grab dumbbells and lie back on a bench. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together and arch your lower back. Position the weights at the sides of your chest with palms facing each other.
2) Press the weights straight overhead, keeping your wrists in the same position.
Why It Works
Pressing with the palms facing each other, rather than pointed toward your feet, will naturally cause you to keep your elbows close. Soon, you'll do it with the barbell, too. This takes excess pressure off your shoulder joints and increases your mechanical advantage, allowing you to lift significantly more weight.