T Nation

Bench Press Technique?


#1

I am having problems getting my bench press technique down. I have read and looked at multiple articles and videos but I am still having trouble getting the proper form. My main sticking points are pushing with my legs, back arch, and bringing the bar to my upper abs. When I try to bring the bar down to my upper abs, it feels like I am working too much of my delts.

As it of right now, my max bench is still pretty good but I want to go that extra mile. Are there any good techniques to help to achieve this form?


#2

Staying tight is just something you have to concentrate on for a while.

Bringing the bar down to the upper abs may not be the best thing to do if you bench raw.


#3

Here are a few technique points that have helped me; maybe they'll help you too.

1) Try to align your heels so that they're directly underneath your hips. It will help you press your pelvis down into the bench for stability. It doesn't have to be perfect, but get 'em back as far as is comfortable. You may need to warm up your legs/hip flexors to achieve this.

2) Warm up and stretch your rotator cuffs. They'll help you keep your shoulders pinned down toward your hips and back against the bench.

3) Bringing the bar down to the upper abs seems too far. Aim for the nipple line.

4) When you're finished with your work sets and are feeling pumped in your chest, do a final set of 15-25 reps with light weight. I find that I'm able to establish a much better mind-muscle connection with a muscle that's already feeling pumped. Go slow, and concentrate intensely on your form. Try to feel what every fiber is doing, and if it's working where you want it to. This will help "teach" your body the best movement pattern for next time.


#4

Not to say that you're wrong but some of this depends on goals. If you want to get the most chest and muscular development out of bench, that's one thing, if he wants as big a bench as possible, that's another.

Nipples are different places on different people and going slow isn't critical for a big bench, especially on the concentric side of the lift.


#5

Totally agree--I mean go slower than usual if you're going to do a light "muscle memory" set at the end of your work sets. Last year when I needed to work on my range of motion I started doing that and it helped me a lot. Developing the ability to feel what's going on inside your body is critical for self-diagnosing future problems.

You're right about the nipple line, too--it's just a different (still subjective) reference point. Whatever your movement pattern, though, make sure your forearms stay perpendicular to the bar.


#6

Thanks for the input. I definitely think the upper ab point is probably geared toward lifting with a shirt. I was pretty much referencing Dave Tate's techniques. It just seems that I cannot get a good arch and push with my legs. Would having short legs prevent me from pushing off?