Ah yes the Bench press...
The most revered upper body lift of them all, loved by everyone from Powerlifters, Bodybuilders, "Bros" and endorsed by Chuck Norris.
The Bench... It ain't about the chest.
There are better moves out there to recruit the chesticles (Pectorals Major)...
- Dumbbell Presses
...Take your pick!
The Bench Press is about raw upper body strength development.
...and whether I tell you the bench may not be the best move for pec recruitment or not, you know and I know you are still going to bench press.
Firstly, lets cover what a Bench Press isn't....
1. Its not a spotting technique for your bros biceps curls or shrugs - "all you braaaa"
2. Its not an R Kelly video - stop bump and grinding the bench - "i don't see nothing wroong"
3. Its not the irish jig - feet on the floor please
4. You ain't Bronson and it ain't deathwish 5 - bar to chest, not to neck!
5. Its not a wrist flexibility contest - elbows under wrists, no saggy wrists please.
6. Its not a sternum impact test - stop bouncing the weight off your chest!
So lets get the most out of the most revered upper body lift of them all.
Here are my top 3 tips for a better bench...
1. GET TIGHT!
That means everything - the bench is a full body move, and the whole body must be tight otherwise you will simply be leaking power like "trying to shoot a cannonball from a canoe". The reason we don't bench with the feet on the bench.
Getting tight starts with the set up:
- Shoulders are packed in tight to the bench
- Elbows slightly tucked
- Back has a nice tight arch throughout a set
- Legs are driven into the floor
- Glutes are super tight the whole time
Keeping tight from the floor to the Bar is essential for force transfer!
This tip ensures you remain tight right from the start by keeping the shoulders packed in.
- Pull the Bar to your Chest just as in a Barbell Row, don't let it fall - You must be in control.
- Pull the Bar out of the Rack like a Barbell Pull Over, don't shrug it out. A good spotter can help.
- Pull the bar apart,doing this cues us to recruit the upper back and delts and helps keep those shoulders packed.
- Pull the back together to create the arch, essentially this tactic reduces the bar path and sets the shoulders in a favourable position to press heavy loads.
3. GRIP RIGHT.
Wrists and Elbows must be in line too, as grabbing a bar with saggy wrists is another opportunity for
power leakage. If the bar sits behind the forearm (as in extended or "saggy wrists") then not only is there massive strain at the wrist but load sits in such a way that it almost becomes a triceps extension - not conducive to a strong bench.
If the bar sits too far forward of the forearms the shoulders have to work twice as hard to reign it in.
Elbow, wrist and bar need to align for proper force production into the bar.
Remember these tips next time your under the bar.
Place your focus on technique first and practice like any other skill, you cant blame a weak point if technique is array.
"Now go head' on and break em off a little preview of the remix......"