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Bench: Press Towards Feet or Rack?


Hey guys i read lastnight that Louie Simmons recommends pressing the bar straight up and almost towards the feet. Which i've been doing naturally. But after watching Tate's vid below i've been trying to press the bar towards the rack.

But in this vid Tate says to press it back some what towards the rack?


I followed Louie Simmon's approach for a good number of years and I think it has its' merits. A few years back I bought the Metal Militia Bench Press Seminar video and I believe it was Sebastian Burns talking about how when you press back towards the rack, it's almost like sliding the weight up a ramp rather than trying to lift it straight up. He said if you go straight up and start to miss, you have nowhere to go...but if you throw it back, you can keep inching it back little by little.

I've seen it first hand where guys start to miss and you give them a cue to throw it back and they are able to flare the elbows and slide the weight \ instead of |.

I suck at benching but I think I'd recommend you first learn to push in a straight line and once you have that figured out (shortest bar path), then worry about following that other path. Throwing the weight back towards the uprights is a little riskier (IMO), you have to be able to keep your elbows under the bar. It's most beneficial in a bench shirt (IMO).

-A non-expert.


You either press straight up or you don't. How can you press "almost" towards the feet? You would end up dumping the weight on your pelvis or stomach if you were to actually press towards your feet on a free-weight bench...

Your bar-path will depend on how you press and what feels comfortable. Obviously if you tuck your elbows at the bottom, and especially the closer you go with your grip, then you will end up pressing up in a "\" or inverted "J" motion. Otherwise you'd end up without your arms perpendicular to the floor/bell over shoulders at lockout, but angled towards your feet. That means the weight would be on your biceps instead of the triceps, as well as putting more strain on the front delts. With heavier weights that'd feel fucking awful.


In the vid, Tate tucks his elbows... You always want the bar to end over your shoulders at lockout for obvious reasons (i.e. arms perpendicular to the floor), and due to touching the bar down way below the shoulder line, you will not be pressing straight up in a line perpendicular to the floor.

Even with elbows mostly flared... As long as you touch lower than in line with your shoulders, you will have to move the bar horizontally as well as vertically on both the way up and down of course, just to a lesser degree with flared elbows and/or a wider grip vs. tucked elbows and/or a closer grip.




If you bench raw then definitely up and back towards the rack, finish over your clavicle give or take. Louie's advice is more focused on wearing a strong bench shirt.


Yeah, I push towards my feet when I'm in a high arch in a bench shirt, but that is just where the groove of my shirt is.


Funny but I never quite got the towards the feet thing until recently. I was playing around with a sling shot and was more naturally pushing towards my feet and it's taken a few inches off my stroke. I've tried it raw without the same success but can't wait to get back into a shirt to have a go. It takes me a while for the light to go on.


Thanks Tim, i have no gear but a belt.


I bench straight until I get into trouble, then I push back towards the rack.
I always have a plan B.