T Nation

Bench Press Form


I'm having some problems with my bench press form. I think my pressing is 'shoulder dominant'. My shoulders tend to get sore from heavy barbell pressing, but little on my chest. I used to bring the bar to mid chest, now I bring it to lower chest.

My problem is I still flare my elbows a tad, and I need to know some 'cues' on how to tuck my elbows. I have seen videos, but I guess it still feels awkward from years of doing it wrong.

And also, where is the ideal hand placement on the bar?? I usually put my ring finger on the circle on the bar grip (if that makes sense... it seems like this 'circle' is standard on all barbells).


"So you think you can bench" is a great series. 2 inches below base of sternum is the lowest most feds will allow the bar to go. Grip is different from person to person, but most feds won't allow wider than 31.7 inches between index fingers. Ring fingers on rings sounds like you're well within those limits. As long as you're elbows aren't way way out you're probably fine. Use bands to figure out how to squeeze your shoulder blades together.


Ideal hand placement on the bar is where your forearms are perfectly vertical at the bottom position. The point where the bar touches your chest is the point that allows your elbows to stay directly under the bar. So, the wider your grip is, the higher your contact point should be.

"Tucking your elbows" is the cue. Keeping your elbows under the bar will feel like they're tucked in, especially if you've been benching with them flared


Is the "So you think you can bench" is that a T-Nation article or a book?

I have tried to focus on keeping my elbows more pointed toward my feet. Is this a good thing??? I know when it comes to feel, the exercise I feel most in my chest is neutral grip dumbell press (decline/flat or incline all work good for me). With the neutral grip, Im able to keep the elbows right next to my ribcage.


EDIT: Found the 'So you think you can bench'


What is your reason for using barbell bench? I only ask, because if it's not for purely strength goals, then I would train it as an after thought. Looks like db bench is better suited for you.


The only reason I can think of is... I didnt think I had a "complete" program without bench, press, squat and deadlift. And my overhead press seems so much stronger than my bench proportionally, I want more of a balance.

I benched today and used a 'false grip' (i think thats it, with the thumb on the same side as the fingers) and my form felt MUCH better. Hopefully this will help, if not I will stick to the DBs.


ive switched to incline, bringing it to the neck area these last few weeks. I too feel most of flat in my shoulders so im doing incline and decline instead to mix things up :slight_smile: