T Nation

Bench Press Conflicting Information

At 30 seconds into the video this guy talks about the powerlifting style bench press. He says if you lift raw you want to shrug your traps and a powerlifting style bench without a shirt is dangerous and less efficient. Do you think he is confused? I am? I have been tucking my elbows, closer grip(protect shoulders), drawing my shoulder blades down and together, and touching the bar low on my chest. If anyone has any comments on what the guy said on the video or my form, feel free

It is not so much tucking your elbows in a bench so much as not flaring them, let them sit at about a 45 degree angle or so. It will happen naturally if you activate your lats by trying to pull the bar apart (some like trying to bend the bar into an upside down U shape.) You look like you are coming down too low on your chest for the bar path you use, either push the bar in a straighter path, or touch a bit higher if you like to press in a J shape. You are not retracting your shoulder blades enough, try to touch them together and maintain that through the whole lift.

Only watched a portion of the video, but it doesn’t look like something I would recommend to watch. Check out this:

“This guy”.

max, that is none other than T-Nations own Christian Thibaudeau. He has a sub section here. I would pop over there and ask the man himself, as he is the only man here that can speak for his statements.

I’d go so far as to say you are barely retracting your shoulders at all. For me, the arch and shoulder retraction occurs at the moment I’m bringing the bar out. Simultaneously I’m driving my legs to help my chest rise to meet the bar and pulling my shoulders down and back. I disagree with Thibs in regards to contracting the traps. Proper scapular retraction helps take the shoulders out of the press, leaving the lats to act as the “brakes” when controlling the weight down, then the stretch reflex between the lats and pecs, along with leg drive, help BLAST the weight up.

Now, part of why you may not be able to retract properly is your bench. If your bench is anything like mine at home, it’s stiff as a board and all of an inch thick. You go and bench on a competition Forza bench, for example, and you have a thick, wide platform that is deep enough to “comfortably” retract your shoulders, and vinyl with a bit of grab to it so you don’t slide back off the top of the bench.

Part of my warm-up before benching is doing light weight lat tower work where I practice the shoulder retraction; it’s taken me 3 months to really learn what that feels like, because for damn near 20 years I was Bro benching, and it took its toll on my shoulders.

Pretty good bench advice right here.

Some more great benches to watch for inspiration and technique cues from the worlds all time greatest.