T Nation

Bench Arch and the Average Person?


I know the arch reduces the stress on the lower back, but how do I explain it the average gym goer?


I'd just say that it lowers the range of motion for competitive lifting.


Shortens ROM, increases stability on heavy lifts. If anyone questions it have them look at any top benchers setup and see they arch.


I wouldn't explain shit to a gym rat..they won't listen anyways so don't waste your time..

If the person(s) are willing to actually listen SHOW them what an arch does. Get them to bench flat and then with an arch. They should feel the difference. Then it is up to the person to use the tool or not.

  1. it reduces the ROM
  2. It creates a bridge between your legs and your upper body
  3. allows you to dig your traps into the bench
  4. opens up your shoulders for uninhibited movement

Also, as previously stated the best benchers in the world use an arch.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something but that should suffice for the average gym rat.


You'd be surprised at all the youtube comments I get, calling me a cheater for arching. The shorter ROM isn't a good thing to the average person...even though the average person "benches" with a shorter ROM than my arched bench.


I think they're referring to you cheating cause you're a gear whore



Thanks for all the responses, but I want to really answer to the question of "doesn't that put a bigger stress on your lower back?". I've seen people saying that it actually reduces it, but can someone pleas explain how?


I'd say that for me, it doesn't seem to reduce it - indeed, I have been known to cramp and get back pumps from arching. Pathetic, I know. I think I read somewhere that when Priscilla Ribic tweaked her lower back last year-ish, she mentioned years of a super tight, high arch might have helped to cause the problem.


I don't see how it would reduce stress on the lower back. I have had one person tell me that I was going to get injured benching with an arch. My thoughts are that if you are squatting and deadlifting heavy, benching should be the least of your concerns in the back injury department.


I don't think there's much cause for concern when it comes to the lower back in a bench arch. I've certainly tweaked a sspinal erector here and there, but we're talking about less than a handful of times in 10+ years of training with an arch. I've never met anyone who has injured their spine benching...that is evidence enough for me that arching doesn't stress the lower back too much. Then again, my bench arch isn't much more than my natural back arch, so I guess that needs to be considered.


I used to cramp up and get lower back pain after arching, then I started using a belt and it completely went away.


It's impossible to get " tight" without taking some type of arch. Your arch might be small, but you'll feel more stable. This makes it safer on your shoulder btw.Maximal ROM isn't necessarily safer ROM.


Benching with an arch DEFINITELY does not take stress off of your low back. Personally, I don't have a great back and benching with a big arch is pretty much the #1 thing that irritates it, more so than squats, or deadlifts. I am forced to just keep a small arch so I don't injure my back. As said before, you must get some sort of arching to tighten up your whole body, "dig in" your scapula to the bench and flare your lats.


I don't think I'd injure my back benching but after a set with a really tight, high arch, I'm more inclined to roll off the bench than sit up. I've had a couple of times I've had to stop mid set from an erector cramp. Still not an injury though.

PMPM, whenever I want a laugh, I watch your Youtube bench videos and read the comments. Something about women benching seems to set some guys off.


the lulz is the only thing that makes allowing comments worthwhile


Agreed, I don't know how anyone could think it does.


Well, guess I was wrong, I thought I saw someone here defending that idea in another thread. Guess I'll just explain that the stress on the lower back isn't significant enough, as long as they don't have one of those contortionist arches.

BTW, is there any reason not to teach the average gym goer to bench powerlifting style? I know they don't giva a a flying fuck about pl, but I guess that if they bench anyway, might as well do it as best as possible. Am I wrong?


There's nothing wrong with it. Done properly it's safer on your shoulders.


Or, rather than trying to explain anything to anyone that has a preconceived notion about benching you could remind them that one of the worst, long term activities for their back is sitting at a desk for years. That's what aggravates my lower back.