T Nation

Bench Arch


#1

I have been told that when teaching regular gym goers (rather than aspiring powerlifters) to bench one should teach flat bench. I have been told that the reason for this is that arching for bench puts (bad) stress on the back.

I asked who had hurt their backs arching for bench press.

(I know people hurt their backs squatting and deadlifting and tear their pecs benching but I never heard of anyone hurting their back arching for bench).

They couldn't say.

So I figure the burden of proof is on them.

I wonder if it is like the foot... The arch helps to distribute the load so it is actually fairly safe to arch. Thoughts? Pertinent references?

Much appreciated.


#2

No. The back is in it’s strongest position when it’s arched.

CS


#3

thoughts, nothing with a tight back and a small arch can help queue that up. but an arch to minimize the ROM of the bench is not needed for most people. it shouldnt hurt them, but just not needed as much.


#4

I find arching takes a lot of stress off the shoulders and pecs and this helps prevent tears.


#5

Arching puts me in a position where I don’t have to flare my elbows as much (I’m pushing “out and down”, almost like on a decline press) and therefore takes the pressure off my shoulders. In my case, at least, this has alleviated a lot of injury potential.


#6

[quote]asooneyeonig wrote:
thoughts, nothing with a tight back and a small arch can help queue that up. but an arch to minimize the ROM of the bench is not needed for most people. it shouldnt hurt them, but just not needed as much.[/quote]

This.

The arch helps to support more weight and offers some leg drive. Like a bridge, an arch supports better weight compared to a flat bridge. That said, anyone who’s not a powerlifter doesn’t need a severe arch and doesn’t need to tuck their legs all the way back either.

My back has tightened up from failing a bench before, mostly in competition. Never injured though.


#7

You would have to have nonexistent glutes to lay on a bench without arching to some degree. This is one of the biggest Red Herrings in weightlifting; let me lay flat so that I can “protect” my spine, which is entirely capable of handling the “stress” of an arch and instead abduct and externally rotate my shoulders more under load, despite how easy it is to injure that particular joint. Idiots.


#8

People that think an arch is detrimental to the spine while bench pressing have zero grasp of physics.

People that think an arch does anything other than shorten the ROM of your bench also have zero grasp of physics.


#9

small arch is good for all…maintaining overall tightness is even better.


#10

I prefer the “big chest” cue rather than thinking of arching. Mark Bell suggested that in one of his videos, and I think it works rather well.


#11

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:
I prefer the “big chest” cue rather than thinking of arching. Mark Bell suggested that in one of his videos, and I think it works rather well.[/quote]

Good call, this cue automatically puts me in an advantageous spinal position and also prevents me from rolling my scapula forward (which, in turn, prevents elbow flare).

…Beach body posture all the way!