T Nation

Bench Press Leg Position


I’m not a competitive lifter, but I’m concentrating to build my strength in PL-lifts. I have a short question about my bench setup.

In my gym one experienced lifter (not the most experienced, nor really strong) always complains about my bench setup. I’m a long lifter and feel that only way to get my body tight is arch my back and to bring my legs quite “up”. To maintain the tightness, I’ll need to keep my legs in position where my heels are in the air. He refers this as cheating and unhealthy for the back.

I have understood, that lifting your heels is forbidden in many PL competitions, but one can find_a lot_strong people who benches like this.


  • should I drop my bench numbers and learn different technique, or continue like this?

  • Does this (or arching in general) have negative impact to my back in the long run?

Thanks in advance.

PS. I keep my ass in the bench when lifting. :stuck_out_tongue:

Politely thank him for his “help” and continue to bench the way you currently do if it is working for you.

Ya theres nothing wrong with that, people that tell you arching is dangerous or cheating are not people you want to take advice from.

Arching is fine. As to heels flat or raised, it depends on the Federation. If you plan to compete in a heels flat fed (such as USAPL or IPF) then train as such. If not, then it doesn’t matter.

Since your not competing, who cares? Lift how ever the hell you would like. As long as you are getting closer to whatever goal you have set (strength, size, athleticism) and not getting injured doing it, tell your gym friend to fuck off.

I would say the best position is whatever works best for you.

I’ve found my ideal position through trial and error, making minor adjustments and finding my bio mechanical sweet spot.

Now I have that, I have my little “set up for the lift” routine that I stick to and my numbers are increasing regularly.