T Nation

Bench Press Form Check

As promised, here it is. The last of the big three.

I was supposed to lift 60kg (132lbs) today on linear progression, but I dropped it to 50kg (110lbs) because I no longer want to be a disgrace to the powerlifting gods, powerlifting community, and strength athletes. Previously, I hardly let the bar touch my chest after the first rep, letting the bar float 1 or 2, even 3 inches off my chest, and this has to stop. As weak as by bench is, off the chest is my weakest link. Long ass arms and previous shoulder injury (rotator cuff impingement), whatever it is, no more excuses for not letting the bar touch my chest. So suggestions for supplementary exercises to get me stronger of the chest would be appreciated as well.

@chris_ottawa, @bulldog9899, @FlatsFarmer, @guineapig

Chris I’m sure will point out lack of tightness. And yeah, not tight at all. No leg drive as well. Really working hard on that. Trying to get into the most uncomfortable and tensed set up as much as I can. Obviously needs more practice. I start off with a bulldog grip but lose it after the second or even the first rep sometimes. Needs more focus to maintain it.
Bulldog will probably also mention gain more weight. Yes, trying to get up to 165. Just taking it slowly cause I’m gonna be skinny fat again if I overdo the carbs.

Sadly, despite the popularity of the bench press, I haven’t seen anyone in our gym whose form is worth emulating.

Thanks guys!

1 Like

Maintain whatever you are doing to keep your shoulders free moving and un-impinged. You don’t need to be king of shoulder mobility, but you don’t want to let your shoulder freeze back up.

Keep working your mid-back, upper back and rear delts.(The muscles around your scapula)l If your shoulders were an issue before, it’s likely these muscles are a little behind. Using them correctly can help with stability off the chest and keeping your forearms vertical.

Bulldog and chris are much (much) better bench pressers than me, they should have more specific, useful advice.

1 Like

Now for clarification… I advocate the focus on lean body weight gain for most.

I would advise you take @FlatsFarmer advice to heart.

To me your form looks pretty good at this point.
With your arm length and shoulder injury history I would suggest using a medium grip width.

1 Like

Yes, lagging indeed. Strict OHP is my weakest lift in terms of weight. Obviously the old injury is contributing because it’s my right shoulder that gives out first even though I’m right handed. But yeah, trying to keep them healthy now. Thanks!

@bulldog9899 Ok, I’ll take a video or pic from another viewpoint just to let you see gripwidth. Just to make sure we’re on the same page when you say medium. Thanks!

Also, Dave Tate mentioned something about never letting your elbows go lower than the top of the bench press pad. I may have taken this out of context when he said it, I’ll have to go back again and find it in the video. Any thoughts on this?

The descent is awkward too, try to make it more smooth and make each rep look the same, touch the same spot on your chest each time.

1 Like

Ok, will work on that as well. Thanks!

Any good supplemental exercises to help off the chest?

You probably don’t need anything too special at this point, just benching should help. You could do some flys, either with dumbbells or cables. You said that you weren’t touching all the reps to your chest, training like that will make you extra weak at the bottom.

Alright, thanks! So will just focus on good reps for now

@bulldog9899, Here’s where I grip the bar. Chose this grip because I was trying to aim for vertical arms at the bottom where the wrists are stacked directly over the elbow. Is it bordering on a little narrow? How should I adjust?

I would suggest you bring it out just a hair more… The main thing is to find a width you feel the strongest with and that feels natural to you at the moment. My main thing ( if I was training you in real life) is making sure that your scapula is back and down and everything is tight.

1 Like

Alright, will bring it out a little more. Funny thing is, I felt strongest when it was even narrower. I guess that meant that the triceps were really taking over. Time to change that.

Scapula feel really packed back and down since I started doing that bridge thing at the start. It’s everything below that’s problematic, core all the way down to the feet. Will continue to work on tightness. Thanks!

Well try it… if it feels off than dont do it. FYI… im not a big fan of giving out form advice by pics or video and I normally dont do it. ( so feel special … :wink: )

Of course I will try it! Pointless asking for advice and then not listening. Haha.

Is that so? Well thank you. I really appreciate it. Hope I can return the favor someday one way or another

No needs for thanks… Just hope that you get what you need to reach your goals. But yes I don’t like giving form advice unless I can actually study in person someone’s form.

1 Like

For what it’s worth is taken me a while but I’ve started feeling most comfy close grip and over time I’ve moved out slower now I’m comfy and strong near max grip width. Whatever works well for you now might change in future but give it time to get used to it.

I think vertical forearms so like elbows stacked over wrist gives you an efficient Press with load evenly distributed over the triceps front delt and pecs. Going wider shifts emphasis to the front delt and shoulders and shortens the range of motion. Closer than this we more in the triceps and ROM is extended. Injury of shoulder risk apparently is greater with wide grip.

There’s no best way. There’s pros and cons. Might be the best way for you.

1 Like

Yeah I’ve already advised him regarding going too wide

1 Like

I see. Alright, thanks! Yeah, just taking these mini adjustments slowly and with less weight. Thanks for the input!