The most INCORRECT STATEMENT about the BENCH PRESS would be: "YOU HAVE TO KEEP YOUR BAR PATH IN A STRAIGHT LINE!"
For FEW people who have out of the ordinary leverages (typically heavy weight lifters with short ranges of motion) this can hold some truth! However, for the majority of you, you're not only making the lift harder on yourself, but also more dangerous!
Pushing slightly back towards your face will allow the angle of the upper arm with the torso to be lower (around 45 degrees). This puts less strain on your shoulders, and also improves your leverages, therefore making the lift EASIER and SAFER!
Most of the best bench pressers have a bar path that is up and back; not just straight up!
Some of the first bar paths ever examined were Bill Kazmaier and Mike Bridges.
Bill Kazmaier broke the 612 lb bench press world record in early 1979. Kazmaier moved the world record up to 617.3 lbs in July, to 622.8 lbs in November, to 633.8 lbs in May and finally to 661.4 lbs in 1980 at the USPF West Georgia Open Powerlifting Championships.
At only 18 years old, Mike Bridges set his first International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) world record with a 367 lb bench press in the 148 lb division! Later in his lifting career, he successfully benched 512 lbs in the 181 lb division; setting a new world record.
STAY SAFE!.......STAY STRONG........BENCH UP AND BACK! NOT IN A STRAIGHT LINE.