T Nation

Bench Press Setup


Does anybody here set up their bench press like CT, shrugging the shoulders and what not? I've tried this but it feels very wrong and uncomfortable and hard for me to keep tight. I can't provide a video at the moment, but I'm just curious if anybody else benches like this (low incline or flat).

I usually just pull my shoulders blade back, arch my upper back, and push my traps into the bench, but not really shrugging them as I would with an actual shrug. With a flat bench press I use a bit less arch so I actually have a ROM.

Side note - decline bench. I have a hell of a time setting that up so any tips or cues would be helpful. It's rather difficult to set this up as if I was just doing a regular bench press.


I tried this out the day before yesterday after watching the vid. Normally I retract and depress my scaps when benching. I had the same problem as you, I just felt unstable and not as tight. My strength was ok though so I am going to give it a few more trys before reverting back.
Didnt really like the foot placment either.


Why spend all this time trying to do a movement if you don't like the way it feels?


I hate about half of the lifts in my program. They get me better results than the lifts I like to do.


@ Doyle, lemme know how that goes for you. I would like to know if it just takes a little bit getting use to. I didn't lose much strength either, but I felt very unstable and almost panicky (if you know what I mean).


I love it. I don't necessarily "shrug" my shoulders though. Standing or sitting, relaxed, retract your shoulders back and squeeze the traps together. Naturally, your shoulder will rise a bit and you will slightly shrug. That's where i keep my shoulders at when benching. Gives me a much more comfortable range of motion. Strength is great too


I do find that when I pull my shoulder blades back and roll back onto my traps (to pull the shoulder blades down) it seems as if I'm shrugging, but it's not near the same as the way CT does it. I think I'll just continue to do them the way I do them lol.

Can somebody point me in the direction of a good decline bench press set up video or picture or explanation? I am having trouble finding a good spot to lower the bar to (I take a super wide grip, index finger on the ring).


We're not talking a psychological pain, OP said he was experiencing physical discomfort when using that technique. Therefore if it doesn't yield results, continuing to pursue it would just be a waste of time.


Yep. I was also curious if anybody else had tried it.

How do you bench? Incline, flat, decline.


I don't, I've found my best development has come from either Incline Hammer Strength or Dumbbell movements. I've got extremely long limbs though so to each their own.


No, really. A lot of my lifts are physically uncomfortable. It's not just that I don't don't like them for no reason (psychological).

Discomfort is part of what we do. If it doesn't cause pain (injury), and gets you the progress you're looking for, you overlook the discomfort. Hell, if I was looking to be comfortable all the time, I'd just sit in my nice big comfy chair.


I just watched it, and I have to say that's a lot better than the Dave Tate video everyone is always directed to. Not coincidentally, it's almost exactly how I bench. The only difference I can think of is that I actively squeeze the shoulderblades on the way down. But I think that's kind of what he is getting at.

Decline: I don't see that you should set up any different. Just squeeze your shoulder blades on the way down and the bar will track to where it needs to go...probably closer to your stomach than you're used to.


I push my shoulder blades together pretty hard, pull my feet back so im on my tip toes( this may be a powerlifting technique). I also grab the bar really tight before i lift it off, somewhere i read that it takes away the "shock" of having heavy weigh on your hands, seems to work for me if using over 225 pounds. Thats about it, works best for me. I have a horrible memory so if i throw more shit in there i will just forget to do it.