Bar Drifts to the Right During Bench

Hi everyone,

a couple of days ago spotter told me when I bench press the bar kinda drifts to the right side when I am about to touch the chest. He said that it’s going straight down then just about inch or two from the chest it always drifts to the right side. He said that I press both sides at the same time so there’s no leaning of the bar but still I didn’t even realize that I’m doing it.

I’ve been benching like this all the time it seems. Never had any problems but still I wonder anyone had similar issues?

Post a video of it.

Post video but I bet its probably just your body structure. You’re not gonna find very many people who are perfectly symmetrical and thus the barbell will make you look a little of out alignment. For example; my right leg is shorter due to overpronation and my knee caving in, so when I squat the right side of the barbell points down a little.

Vids:

Normally I would say that your right side is stronger, and your body naturally shifts the weight to the path of least resistance. That happens to me from time to time.

But if you look at your wrists, even before you begin to press, they are uneven. The bar looks like its in a good position in your right hand, your left however looks like the bar is further back toward your fingers. That limits the range of motion in the wrist and changes the angle of your left arm.

Squeeze the shit out of the bar with both hands. Hope this helps.

The problem is that I don’t even realize that I’m doing it and from my POV both arms feel/look right to me.

I was thinking of just dropping the BB bench alltogether and switching to DB pressing?

I have a feeling you’ll probably end up doing something similar with DB bench too.

My guess is it probably has more to do with scapular positioning – e.g., from imbalances in the upper back. Stuff like spending a lot of time sitting at a desk with one arm up using a mouse can even throw that off. There could be some “tightness” or injury or something too that’s changing your positioning, at the upper back, shoulder, elbow or wrist.

I suppose you could try to figure out what it is, things like seeing if you generally stand with one shoulder slightly higher than another and try to adjust, and when you find something like that, trying to balance it.

Or you can talk to a PT or sports medicine doc and have them take a look. I imagine a good massage therapist or chiropractor could do the same.

But this just a guess from my end.

[quote]LoRez wrote:
I have a feeling you’ll probably end up doing something similar with DB bench too.

My guess is it probably has more to do with scapular positioning – e.g., from imbalances in the upper back. Stuff like spending a lot of time sitting at a desk with one arm up using a mouse can even throw that off. There could be some “tightness” or injury or something too that’s changing your positioning, at the upper back, shoulder, elbow or wrist.

I suppose you could try to figure out what it is, things like seeing if you generally stand with one shoulder slightly higher than another and try to adjust, and when you find something like that, trying to balance it.

Or you can talk to a PT or sports medicine doc and have them take a look. I imagine a good massage therapist or chiropractor could do the same.

But this just a guess from my end.[/quote]

I agree with LoRez. You can see your left arm / elbow track straight down during descent, and rotate properly back to the starting position. Your right arm seems stuck, very little rotation. Tight lat or scap possibly. Should be easily corrected with a little mobility work.

Actually, watch your hips during both of those videos when you lower the bar.

To me, it looks like you’re raising your right hip is slightly higher than your left, which you compensate for with your shoulders. Hips tilt to your left, shoulders tilt toward your right, and so the bar path adjusts to balance that out.

Maybe I’m just seeing things, but that’s what it looks like to me.

EDIT: the more important point though, is that even tightness/weakness/injury at the hips can affect the tracking of the bar. You pretty much just need to look at everything along your setup. Your leg drive can affect your shoulder positioning, and that can cause the bar to go up differently.

Well my right shoulder seems to bit a bit higher then the left and my left leg is a bit shorter then the right AFAIK.

Also for the last couple of weeks something around my scapula area just doesn’t feel right in the left side of the back. It’s like it’s moving around (I can sometimes feel it during bench press, never had any problems before). Also dull pain from time to time.

Thanks for all the feedback!

EDIT: any sources for mobility stuff?

All of the other suggestions will definitely help. Mobility work is always a good idea. Honestly though pause the video when your have the bar on your chest. Your right hand has a full grip on the bar, where your left hand the bar is back in your fingers and your thumb is not fully on the bar.

You can also see this by the angle of your knuckles at the bottom of the lift.
When the bar is back toward your fingers it changes the entire loading pattern and angle of the lift, and since your only doing it with one hand, it causes a noticeable shift. Get that barbell in the middle of your hand and squeeze like hell throughout the entire set.

For mobility for, check out Kelley Starret’s stuff, can’t really go wrong there.

Your grip is close as shit. Do you ever bench wider, and if so, have you noticed the same drift?

That’s the only grip I can bench with. Anything else (even inch apart) just irritates the hell out of my pecs/shoulders. Plus to quote Paul Carter:

"So obviously I’m going to preach benching with a closer grip, because unless you’re one of those t-rex short-armed-can’t-deadlift-shit-made-for-bench-pressing bench pressers, it’s probably a good idea to save your shoulders. Guys that are built for benching seem to be able to get away with that super wide grip shit I see. All that did/does is make my pec tendons and shoulders hurt. Plus let’s be honest, someone close gripping 550 like Konstantinovs is more badass than some fat t-rex armed bench only guy, gripping shit out to the collars, to belly press 600. "

I’m seeing a PT on Sunday. Will report back.

I had the same issue as you. In fact, mine was worse. I saw myself literally drifting to my right the moment I put on a weight that is anything close to heavy.

Did the diesel crew shoulder rehab (look it up on youtube) for a while and it magically fixed itself. I can actually bench now.

Try it.

Will check it out. Thanks.