T Nation

Bench Heavy on Decent

I have been doing a better job at staying tight on my bench press, but on my last max effort day I did 2 board presses, and on my last rep I got the weight down to the boards fine, but when I rested the bar on the board I lost the tightness. What muscle group is causing me to lose the tightness? Is it my back? or upper back?
Thanks
Will42

Sounds like you simply relaxed. You might try stopping just above the boards, or have a friend (spotter type person) tell you when to stop. Then hold the bar there like you normally would.

Another option is to use something soft (like styrofoam) on top of the boards. You get the feeling to stop, but there is no real support. Try using one 2x4 and one 1 1/2" peice of styrofoam. Keep some extras handy in the case you crush one, though.

-folly

I find if I press too high at the top I lose the scalpular retraction(pinching of my shoulder blades together) and my next press sucks ass. Could be a problem in your case too.

I actually had the same problem this week. I was doing 5 sets of 3 using 2 boards. My first set went up so fast it was scarry. On my second set I failed on my second rep and thought o fuck what the hell happened. I finished my next 3 sets getting all my reps after making an adjustment to tuck my elbows more and make sure I got the weight lower. It’s a little harder with boards. If I was doing flat bench I would know right away that I hit the wrong spot. Kind of sucks because it was the first time in about 2 months that I missed a lift. But atleast I hit all mmy other attempts that were the same weight. Something that keeps me tight is make sure my elbows are tucked and then also on the way down I am always trying to build up energy for the way up.

Sounds to me like you lost your air when you relaxed your arms while on the boards. You should let your arms relaxed at the bottom but u need to keep your air and keep your belly pushed out.

Board presses are supposed to be paused with a momentary relaxation of the triceps, at least. This makes them work because the tricep tendons get loaded from a relaxed pause.

Try actively pulling the bar down into the board at the touch for 1/2 second before reversing.

I would say this is a form issue not a muscle weakness issue.

I had a similier problem, doing paused bench with a slow eccentric fixed it even though the weight I could use wasnt that impressive. Got this tip from Latimer (not sure on the spelling, really fucking huge PL’er with a really huge bench)

[quote]Will42 wrote:
I have been doing a better job at staying tight on my bench press, but on my last max effort day I did 2 board presses, and on my last rep I got the weight down to the boards fine, but when I rested the bar on the board I lost the tightness. What muscle group is causing me to lose the tightness? Is it my back? or upper back?
Thanks
Will42[/quote]

I’ve found for myself and the guys I train, the key to successful crossover from board benching to actual flat benching is to mimic your groove. The position of the bar on the board should be in the same position it would be if you had no lumber on your chest. Maintain your groove and maintain your technique - especially tightness. It may be your upper back isn’t strong enough for your bench or you may just have lost your concentration (or air). Once you’re able to fully use your lats, you get to the point where you have to actually relax them (your lats) to get the bar to your chest…try this with close grips; its a great feedback exercise to monitor your control and the involvement of your lats and upper back. Good luck.