T Nation

Bench Question...

I just started training Westside style and just started week 2… Did ME bench day today and maxed out on pin presses. I’ve read that I should keep the bar vertical over my elbows all the way and push straight up, but today on my last set I did 340 for 1 rep and as it came up I found the bar naturally drifted back toward my eyeline as I pressed as hard as I could. I do all lifts raw and am wondering if the “pressing straight up” style applies to shirt benches only? I am training to get my raw bench up to 4 plates, thats my goal, then I may train for an actual comp and buy a shirt. So should I continue to press the bar back or should I drop the weight and practice pressing straight up, hoping my body gets stronger with the new technique? Thanks for any advice you guys can give:)

Triceps need to be stronger. The bar will go to the part of your body which is strongest, which is your shoulders right now.

I now train Metal Militia style where the bar will drift back during the press. This allows me to lockout more weight. But…

I think pressing westside style has it’s merit. I believe, if your tricep strength is lagging, this is the way to press.

Do what works best for you.

thanks guys, makes sense…

Maybe it isn’t your triceps at all. I had this problem as well when I first started westside, and it was my lats. Once I learned how to truly set them tight before I even gripped the bar the problem was solved.

Ericka, good point… I’ll focus on the lats next time, thanks!

Depending on the height your pins were set at, you lats probably weren’t even involved much. Typically elbows flare or the bar drifts over the head when your body wants to bring your delts and pecs into the movement. Assuming you are tight, in all likelihood your triceps are the weak link.

People get all jammed up about this but the reality of things is that the reason you train with an emphasis on a straight bar path is to keep your tris engaged as a primary mover. When you are reaching your limit (wether on a single or on a last rep) your body is going to shift emphasis to the stronger muscle groups. Ideally this would be the tris and the path would stay linear, but this isn’t always the case. There comes a time when you need to just get the weight up.

IMHO, your back should always be pulled into position for bench pressing movements. No matter if you are pressing Westside, MM or whatever. The shoulders are pulled back and down, chest is high and lats are pulled back and down. Once you feel the difference this makes, you will never press any other way. This sets you up in the proper biomechanical position for pressing and shortens the bar path. The best video I have ever seen for demonstrating this is Blakley’s ‘Building the Perfect Beast’.


Brian, I don’t know if you were responding in reference to my post or not, and frankly I was concerned when I wrote it that people would confuse what I meant for not having shoulders pulled back and down. What I was referring to is the role of the lats in actually pushing the bar off the chest. I am a lat bencher and actually bench less off a 2 board raw because I don’t get the momentun from my lats. In the last 4-5 inches of a press your lats help stabilize bar path but are not contrbuting much to the actual press. This is what I meant. Train gard!

Thanks a ton guys, I’ll be working on form more tomorrow for DE Bench day… I was acually doing a floor press but off the pins, elbows 1 inch off floor in starting position… I’ll really focus on bringing the lats into the movement and getting that explosiveness off the start. Thanks again,