T Nation

Bench, I Finally Learned


Yesterday for the first time ever I did a proper Bench Press. My feet were planted flat and spread apart, I had a tigh arch in my lower back, my shoulders were retracted and on the bench, my traps were firmly planted on the bench, I had my GI Joe kung fu grip on the bar, I was pulling it apart, and damn it just flew, my training partner was convinced that we had put on the wrong weight.
I would like to give special thanks
to Mr. Dave Tate, without his articles I would still not be able to bench.


Good job mate! You are well on your way to getting stronger/bigger. Now, just get down that squat and dead!



That is a great description. Dave Tate has done so much for so many. If you could find your way into a seminar of his, you wont be sorry.

Isn't it amazing what those little (and not so little) tweaks can do for performance? Like the above response, take the same mindset to the squat and deadlift and you are well on your way. And you certainly do not need to be a competitive PL-er to utilize these methods.

Actually that style of benching you described not only makes you a better bencher, it'll probably add years to your shoulder's longevity/health if you continue to bench heavy (if you don't avoid shoulder injuries altogether).


That's awesome--it must have felt really good. My bench has not broken through like that yet. My set up is getting a little better, but I can't get my leg drive timed right and I STILL forget to squeeze the bar hard and pull it apart as I press. Just gotta put some more time under the bar and keep practicing.


Please provide the link to the Tate article which describes this proper BP form.


The article in question is


If you want to keep benching in this way but get a little more stimulus to your pecs, trying squeezing your hands together, you should feel a much stronger chest contraction at the top.


ill be the first one to say...that no matter what i do as far as benching technique..it doesnt effect my max. Whether i bench with proper form or not my max is exactly the same..i dont get it.


Good job! I finally got my DL groove down (and does it feel great!). I still need to work on bench technique some more. I think my grip is a bit too close (roughly shoulder width, instead of a little outside of shoulder width), but that's because of the bench I use (standard bench/rack which is narrow, but I use an oly bar...DOH!).

BTW, am I the only one that finds it tough to "pull the bar apart" when doing bench with something like 85-90% of 1RM? It just feels weird to me... However, the leg drive/ass squeeze/arch/scapular retraction has certainly helped me (I think ass squeeze has helped me the most....pinch a penny in those buns!).


Is there any good videos of the proper way to bench press wondering around here some place?


ANyone know of any similar articles from Dave or his ilk on the squat and deadlift? Thanks


Dave also has a Squat 900lbs article.


Damn, when you get the form right its like benching in the smith machine, everything is so stable and smooth, but like alot of things at first it is akward but once you get it, it just works better


I've read the article, and have been using his technique for a little, my question is, when you drive your feet into the ground do you lift your ass in the air? I aways thought that you should keep your ass on the bench and that lifting it would "put too much strain on your back"


Do not lift your butt up. That can probably lead to back injuries. The key to driving with the legs is try to imagine you're doing a sort of leg extension that's attempting to slide you off of the bench, except it's not a leg extension, and you're trying to drive your upper back into the bench. So I guess you're taking a horizontal movement/motion and converting it to a vertical movement/motion. That's the only way I can describe it (sorry if it's a bad description, heh!).


There is "Squat 900" by Dave Tate, and Mike Robertson has a good bench press article as well. I actually prefer it for its description of the set-up. It's called "How Much Do Ya Bench?" (not to be confused by Charles Staley's article by the same name, which prescribes entirely different form!)

Robertson has excellent articles on the squat and deadlift: Precision Pulling, Flawless Squattin', and 6 Tips for a Sexy Squat.

Ian King also has a good bench press article for adding pounds onto your max, and he discusses the variables even more extensively than Tate or Robertson, e.g. softness of the bench, size of the bar, whether the bar is warped, etc.


holy crap, i think ive been benching wrong..... time to tear this apart at the gym tonight!


Amen brother!

I read the article and aplied it the next day. I experimented with the techniques on light weight and after some initial awkwardness, I seemed to settle into it kinda. When I thought I was warmed up I decided to give some serious weight a try.

BAM!, up went 315.

Couldn't believe how good it felt and was shocked so I tried it one more time. It went up again, this time not quite as easy as the first. Simply amazing.

It pisses me off almost that I was benching wrong all these years. So much I was never taught but lots more practice and maybe I'll be on my way. I just recently ordered the beginer's program manual from Elite Fitness Systems and I can't wait to get my hands on it. http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=114&pid=1079

Dave Tate kicks ass!!


Check out elitefts.com or west-sidebarbell.com for the westside bench tape/DVD.


Hit the Authors Locker Room and click on Dave Tate or go to his website www.elitefts.com