T Nation

Benching with Legs Up on Bench


#1

A friend of mine, who is a fitness instructor. He knows his shit about fitness (not bodybuilding). But he told me to put my feet up on the bench when im benching as it will focus all the weight on the chest and the legs wont be taking any of the load. What do u guys think of this? I've seen the odd guy do it over the years. Obviuosly u cant go heavy or it be dangerous but is he correct?


#2

the legs don't take any of the load either way.


#3

cool story bro


#4

Personally I think it makes you look very out of place in the gym. People will see you and think "What a clown"
However back to the point. When the legs are on the floor (where they should be), they do a little bit of work to stabilize your body, hence the reason why it is safer and thus gives the capability to go heavier. That is why no power-lifter ever puts his feet on the bench.

In terms of legs doing any work... Yest they work to stabilize, but they in no means whatsoever contribute to the vertical movement to the bar. So no, they do not divide effort put in by the delts tris and pecs.

Keep your feet on the ground. It is safer, you can go heavier, looks cooler and makes no real difference in terms of muscles worked


#5

Heres my take on it.

When you put your feet on the ground, your stabilizing muscles will have a more solid foundation. This will allow you to use more weight than if you had your feet up on the bench. Just because not having your feet on the ground makes you bench less, doesnt mean that your chest is any more worked than in the traditional exercise. In fact I would go to say that being stable will allow you to better overload the muscle to its full potential rather than short change the movement.

My understanding of the matter is that your posterior chain contributes to the movement ONLY WHEN YOUR GLUTES LEAVE THE BENCH, AND THAT IS DUE TO A CHANGE IN ANGLE OF YOUR CHEST AS WELL AS IN THE HEIGHT OF YOUR CHEST OFF THE BENCH, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE ACTUALLY LIFTING THE WEIGHT. (That is in bold to make it stand out.) Remember that muscles only contract/shorten. (Ever wonder why you can decline bench more than you can incline? The difference in angle is the reason. Why? I'm not one hundred percent, but that is a different matter.)

Arching is good (as it sets up the correct position for regular bench), bridging (lifting glutes) is not. In my opinion to alter this in any way would mean that you are moving toward either decline bench by lifting glutes, or incline bench by not maintaining your arch. (My point is that if you are not going to do the exercise as it was intended, then you are doing a different exercise.)

Remember, bench press is a compound lift, not and isolation lift. If you are worried about you pec development and you are iffy on bench press, you can always try dumbell bench.

Now if you said that you only had 225 lbs of weights that you can possibly use or have access to, and the only way you can make the exercise harder is to put your feet up, then I would think that would be reasonable (and also more dangerous because you cant control the weight as well). I think to do it "just because," withought any thought whatsoever, is not really great logic in my book, and that this kind of stuff is where a lot of bad weightlifting advice comes from.

I hope this helps. I can support it with literature if you are still confused.

-Zep


#6

FFS use your legs when your benching, i've never seen anyone use a respectable(315lbs+) weight for reps using this method.


#7

Why would you use that technique? I've only seen it from guys with serious lower back injuries. They lifted their legs in order to reduce the chance of straining their lower back.

While it definitely makes the excersise harder, it won't help you to recruit the chest more. Quite the opposite in my opinion, as you'd focus on not falling off the bench, you will only be able to cncentrate on your pecs to a lesser degree.

So, I'd say to stay away from benching like that. Dangerous, looks retarded etc. etc. If you aim to do stability work, then go with blast straps, fitball and do pushups. Challenge. But leave the bench press as it should be


#8

Does your current bench technique not work your chest very well?


#9

X2 and /thread


#10

Why is it that guys recommend pushing down into the floor with your feet?

I've seen a couple guys raise their legs off the floor. A friend of mine did that all the time but i never cared to ask him why.

He would lay on the bench, his quads would be perpendicular to the floor and his calves would be parallel to the floor with his legs crossed. He would do that while flat benching the 100lbs DB's. Not super heavy but he was a pretty thick dude.

Then again his chest really wasn't impressive at all.. come to think about it, it was his worst body part. Maybe he read somewhere it allowed the chest to take more of the load so he tried it to improve his chest....who knows...I've never tried it.


#11

Legs definitely add quite a bit to your bench numbers. They do more than stabilize.

Anyway. Bennching with legs up will disrupt the naturllal curve of the spine. Thats reason enough not to do it.

I find no merit in the claim that pecs are better recruited when the feet are off the floor. If someone can provide a logical reason, ill listen but this is more than likely just bro science


#12

Its a compound exercise. You use a lot of muscle. It is not meant to isolate the chest only.

This fitness expert probably told you that deadlifts are dangerous.

Legs up is called a floor press, btw.


#13

Accident waiting to happen. If you want to idolate the chest, do some db presses or db flyes or whatever i reckon


#14

totally broscience. it probably stems from vince gironda. he never recommended traditional bench except for the guillotine which required you to stick your feet in the air.

thanks Vince.


#15

You arent wrong. But this needs to be said.

Just because a particular movement is typicay known for one thing does t mean it cant accomplish somehing else. Just because an exercise has been labeled "compound" doesnt necessarily mean it cant hit one particular muscle group very well.

People would be a lot better off if they forgot the words compound and isolation exist as they have no relevance regarding the use or efficacy of a movement. Its a label, thats all, the label does not dictate the merits of an exercise for a particular goal


#16

seems like there isnt much else that needs to be said in here.

The fact that keeping your feet on the floor helps keep your spine in its more natural position and helps stabilize you on the bench (so that you dont get wonky and drop the bar on your neck) are good enough for me.

Besides, you look like a goof when you have your feet up in the air.


#17

You have answered your own question here. If you want to focus on bodybuilding, take advice from bodybuilders.


#18

It will only take one time of you almost tipping off the bench with 225+ in your hands (if you ever get that high with your legs on the bench) for you to see how stupid this is.

If you want to isolate the pecs (which is another argument all together) there are other exercises... The flat Bench Press was never meant to be an isolation exercise.


#19

You see a lot of guys do this at your gym dont you Greg? Anything you need to share?


#20

A floor press is a bench when you lie on the ground and your arms limit the ROM when they hit the floor, it's primarily done for triceps.

ex: