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Benching -- Painful Arch


I find that when I arch during benching, I have one vertebrae that seems to be really sore afterward. It's weird because its only one. Any ways to keep the arch from hurting so much?


I have the same thing. While working out with WPO guys they helped me with the arch and everytime I get a wicked lock up in the middle of the back.
I have found that good back stretching before benching helps a little, BUT I cant bench with a big arch without getting it, so I stopped arching to extremes.
I know that you were looking for a remedy, I haven't found one yet all I hear is that it gets better with time.


Newsflash, dont arch your back, keep it on the pad, its a chest excercise not a back/leg excercise.



What a stupid post. You've said some good stuff recently but that was really moronic.

PLers (assuming the original poster is one) don't bench to "work their chest." They do it to put up the highest numbers, and arching helps that by shortening the distance the bar travels. Did you really not know that or were you just trying to irritate people?


newsflash this kid is clearly a powerlifter, NOT a bodybuilder. Powerlifters dont go in for this nonsensical "isolation" idiocy. The bench press is most certainly NOT a "chest exercise" it uses multiple body parts.

for the op, a lot of dynamic stretching for my hips, along with abdominal bracing (planks, etc) and glute activation stuff has helped me, (cressey's dvd is GREAT for this) along with just generally paying more attention to my posture throughout the day, (making sure my pelvis isnt anteriorly tilted, etc.) but then again, my arch never bothered me. still worth a shot tho - especially the planks.


Don't arch your back? That's stupid.

On topic...I'm not sure if this will help but have you tried putting two 45 pound plates on the floor and set your feet on top of them when benching. That helps with the leg drive when putting up some serious weight. Also it might help with the arch and drive your shoulders into the bench. Worth a shot?


There has been some good advice, so I won't repeat it. However, depending on what you describe as pain, it may be more than you think. I recommend going to a chiropractor to see if there might be more than just locking up going on. If you can, find one that specializes in sports rehabilitation so you won't have to hear the "you shouldn't do that" speech from the chriopractor.


I know you aint talking with your the pec is one muscle bs the other day.


Just messing with you Power Lifters a bit, haha. Ok seriously, I would like to learn more b/c I honestly dont know shit about it. What are the BP contest rules when it comes to arching your back? In other words, what makes a lift qualified?


Which verteba?

If it is in the lumbar vertebrae down by your pelvis, it could be one thing, up higher in the thoracic, another. Hell, it may even be the SI.

Much more specific info is required to be any help.

Google the spine and figure out the approximate level. Then get back to us.


the general rule of thumb is: shoulders and ass on the bench. of course, what constitutes your "ass" (is the glute-ham tie in at the bottom of your ass good enough or does it have to be the whole thing) and what constitutes your "shoulders" (same thing reversed, ie, what if only the tops are touching, is that good enough or does the entire shoulderblade need to be in contact) is interpreted differently by various organizations. Some feds let you bench with just your toes ont eh ground, others require teh entire sole of the foot. hands no further apart than pointer finger on teh power rings. that's about the extent of the rules on setting up, I think.


In the USAPL both feet have to be flat on the ground, ass and shoulders on bench.

As long as something north of your ass is touching it counts as shoulders, as long as your butt cheeks are touching it counts.

That's why you have to wear a singlet to bench in, so you can't obscure your ass leaving the bench.

widest grip allowed is index finger on the ring.

Any further and you'd get your hand smashed when the spotters helped you rack it.

I think that's most of it.

Arch=more weight and better leg drive.

When I learned to arch better I immediately started putting up better weight.

And are you sure it's a bone thing that's hurting? lots of people's backs just need time to acclimate to arching hard.

It might just be muscular. Your low back gets beaten to crap when powerlifting. Treat it right and listen to your body. Get it checked out if you think it's more than just minor muscle trauma or orthopedic in nature.

Powerlifting is a marathon, not a sprint.


very funny.


Sorry lost, it was right there, I had to do it :slight_smile:

Thanks for the info guys. I def learned something today. I imagine a weak lower back is not a plus when doing these arch bench presses? That is one reason I try to stay on the bench as much as possible. Also, I train as a BB, not as a PL.

So what do you say to these young kids that arch their back on the bench, not b/c they are PL'ers and are intentionally doing so but due to shitty form? I guess what I am asking is there such a thing as bad form with an arched back?


I'm guessing it's between T6 and T9, somewhere at the peak of my arch. It might just be some kind general back pain, but arching seems to aggravate it. I think part of it is also that I sit in crappy school desks all day, sleep in a really shitty bed (I'm in the dorms), and tend to slouch a bit. The combination of those, plus the stress of an arch is probably why it's worse. Haha, I may have answered my own question.

I'm also considering going to a chiropracter over the summer just to make sure things are okay.

It's good to hear that there are a few other people on here that powerlift. I've been using a conjugated template for about a 2 months now, and I LOVE it.

And there is nothing wrong with doing isolation exercises. To each his own.


Sounds like you and I have a lot in common, bud.

I powerlift, I'm 19, I live in the dorms, I spend a lot of time in class.

Work on standing up straight, correct your posture when sitting in desks (move your ass all the way to the back of the seat) keep your shoulders back and straight.

I find sleeping on my back is the best way to reduce tension in my back on the shitty dorm beds, I mean, I have a pad on the bed but it doesn't make up for shitty mattresses :D.

And make sure you STRETCH it.

If it doesn't improve you could seek professional help with it.

And hit up the dining halls often, pre-prepared food is awesome.

And Amsterdam, if they're arching because of shitty form they'll eventually stop or learn how to do it right.

I don't think arching while benching, even with crappy form, creates much chance for injury.

I mean, they might end up pinned under the weight because they're not stable (When you arch you pull your shoulder blades together to provide a stable surface from which to push) but in all probability, if they end up pinned it's probably just because they're weak.


Some good advice given so far. I just wanted to throw out that one could argue that you can get more growth in your chest by benching like a powerlifter due to the extra weight, even though it's going through a shorter range of motion, and even though you're getting more help from other muscle groups.

I also had some middle back pain when I started arching more. My arch sucked before, so I made a point to arch more.

The pain went away the more I did it. The only thing I can suggest is to keep arching, but try arching only a little more each time, or every other time you bench, instead of arching as much as possible right away.


One more thing I wanted to add is that when I was fixing my arch, I was (and still am) doing a Westside inspired routine, so I was getting a lot of set-up practice by benching twice a week (ME and DE days).

I worked up to a 3 or 1RM on ME days, so that would give me about 12 times to practicing setting up (including warm-up sets), then on DE day I would bench with a light weight for only 2 reps, but I'd do 8-10 sets.

Every time I get under the bench, no matter how light the weight, or if it's a warm-up set, I set up as if I'm competing.


Ghost: Even at only 225, I'm way too heavy for this bed (It gets even worse when there's a girl in it). There's a fat curve in it when I lay down. I used to sleep on my stomach a lot (my bed at home is VERY firm and fricken godly) but I rarely can now, cause it bends me backwards. Eating is a major problem, I've consistantly run out of the allotted "plus dollars" they give us to buy food with at least 3 weeks before each quarter ends. AND we don't have a buffet. Lame.

I'm going to try stretching out my back a lot more, I think that might help. I need a girlfriend for: 1. massages and 2: a consistent lay.

Thanks for all the help.


This can get to be a real bad issue....I was in a meet last August and one of my vertabrae (I want to say T3) shifted against a nerve in my back. Ended up in the hospital and with nerve damage in my right front thigh (apparently the nerve runs down the spine and wraps around the hips and into the front of the leg).

The pain was so bad that they had me on oral morphine and Vic's for over a month. The long and short of it is the chiropractor could not move the vert. off the nerve completely in 6 weeks of rehab. He suggested a surgeon to "shave down" the vert......fuck that noise.

I now have permanent numbness in my right front thigh. I can run/squat etc... without problems, but if you stick a knife into my thigh, it would have to go pretty deep for me to feel it.

I was only benching in the meet.....pretty screwed up huh. So, get it checked out.