Let me clear about this: I’m not a strong bencher. It is really pretty pathetic compared to my squat and my dead lift, and I’m working on closing the gap to make it a bit more respectable.
One reason I suck so badly at benching is until recently, I didn’t like it - it was uncomfortable and made my chest feel like garbage. Since I wasn’t training to compete in power lifting I didn’t see any point in benching, so I didn’t.
Now I’m training for power lifting, of course it is a different story and for the last two and a bit months I’ve been working on my bench. I’m actually starting to enjoy it, and that’s mostly because it is now comfortable. I’m still nowhere near as comfortable with it as my squat or dead lift, but I’m getting there. The main thing is that it doesn’t make any part of me feel like garbage.
Now, I’ve had feedback from some friends who know their lifting pretty well that I lower the bar far too low onto my chest and that there is far too much horizontal movement. The thing is, this is as comfortable as benching has ever been for me, and its also comfortable when I approach my max. Hell, it actually gets MORE comfortable the heavier I go (in my case, heavy isn’t really the right word since my best is 220 at 187).
Anyway, today I had the nicest time benching yet. I tried a bigger arch and feet under the bench with heels raised. I went up to 203 or so, and as soon as I got the bar off my chest is just seemed to want to move all by itself, and FAST. A couple of times I almost got caught out because I didn’t expect it to move so fast.
My set up is currently: set my arch; sit the bar on the heels of my hands and squeeze; set my lats/break the bar; get big air and hold it; unrack and hold; pull the bar down to the base of my sternum all the while squeezing and trying to break the bar; sit on my chest/high stomach for a moment; and press. I try to keep bending the bar as I press and also visualise sliding the bar across my body towards my forehead rather than straight up. This seems to make it move much better.
Now, is this an okay way to bench for a raw lifter? I’m leaning towards yes because it feels so damn good, but I’d be grateful for some feedback.
Here’s the video: