T Nation

bench press

I just read the articles about reaching a 600 pound bench press (not that I’m anywhere near that) and now I’m completely confused about proper technique. The confusing part for me is the elbows. I always thought you were supposed to keep your upper arms perpendicular to your body while pressing, but he’s talking about tucking the elbows? What does tucking the elbows mean? Maybe someone can link to a picture that shows proper technique.

keeping your upper arms perpendicular is a great way to screw up your shoulders. Think of shoving someone. Would you hold your hands way out to the sides like you were an extra in Night of the Living dead? Or would you hold your hands lower on your torso and closer together for more power.

your elbows/upper arms are around 45 degrees (give or take, bit not 90 degree/perpendiclar) to your torso…the bar should hit just about your nipples and your arms will be appropriately bent

I’m glad I asked then. I was just doing it the way I was instructed in high school (if you can call what we did in PE instuction). Thanks for the help.

By tucking your elbows you’re able to get your triceps into it more.

Check out in the FAQ, Bench Press Blowouts. There is a photo of benching with arms in there.

I met Anthony Clark a few yrs ago and he told me that when you keep your elbows tucked you get less transitional load on the delts/rotator cuff when activating the pecs then triceps, taking out the weakest (for some) link in their bench. This is why he used to go reverse-grip - so it became a nearly pure tricep movement.