BP: Why Tuck Elbows & Squeeze Shoulder Blades?

Is bb bench press the only exercise that you squeeze shoulder blades together and keep your elbows close to your body?
Apparently its proper form to ease shoulder stress, but what other exercises are you supposed to keep elbows tucked close to body with shoulder blades squeezed together? (Ex. Incline bench, flies cgbp, pull ups, rows?)

The elbows tucked thing is individual, IMO you should let the bar go where it feels strongest and not conciously force your elbows any where. Think about rowing the weight down or trying to bend the bar out, this will put your elbows in the right spot. Personally I don’t think about the bar path I just feel where it’s comfortable and strong and keep in the groove. The scalp retraction should be on all chest presses to maintain shoulder health and stimulate the pecs properly if that’s what you’re after.

You do not have to get your elbows close to your body. The idea is to not have your elbows flared out the whole lift because it’s bad for your shoulders.

Other than that, different people are stronger with different amounts of “tuck”.

It’s really just a mental que, some guys like to use different ques like rowing the weight to accomplish the same thing.

Thanks for the input guys,
so the shoulder blades should be squeezed together (like your trying to hold a pencil with your shoulder blades) on inclines as well… I find it hard to get into position and keep my shoulder blades squeezed together during incline db bench, any tips?

[quote]eyegainweightbig wrote:
Thanks for the input guys,
so the shoulder blades should be squeezed together (like your trying to hold a pencil with your shoulder blades) on inclines as well… I find it hard to get into position and keep my shoulder blades squeezed together during incline db bench, any tips?

[/quote]

I usually lie down with the dbs on my stomach, then retract scalps and press them into position. The scalp retraction isn’t as crucial with db presses though.

Yea I do the same thing with flat db. I bb benched this weekend for the first time in a while and I kept my shoulders squeezes tight and my elbows almost touching my sides tucked in with a fairly close grip. It felt great and I got 155 4 times on my last set (up from repping 95 a few months ago, I guess db benching has had carryover) I’m going to do bb bench from now on chest day, felt so great better than db’s. Apparenly a lot of guys on here say barbell isn’t as good as db for pecs, but I actually felt barbell bench better. May have something to do with my long arms. didnt mean to get off topic lol

[quote]trav123456 wrote:

[quote]eyegainweightbig wrote:
Thanks for the input guys,
so the shoulder blades should be squeezed together (like your trying to hold a pencil with your shoulder blades) on inclines as well… I find it hard to get into position and keep my shoulder blades squeezed together during incline db bench, any tips?

[/quote]

I usually lie down with the dbs on my stomach, then retract scalps and press them into position. The scalp retraction isn’t as crucial with db presses though.[/quote]

I agree with this but you still dont want to go out of your way to push the weight up moving your shoulder blades. For someone that isnt conditioned to keep the scaps retracted it may not be so simple to grasp

there are four main shoulder girdle articulations

1 - elevation - same movement as a “shrug”

2 - depression - stand as tall as you can & reach down towards the floor, this downward motion of your shoulder girdle is a “depression” - if you hear someone talk about “anchoring” your shoulders with your lats they are referring to this position

3 - retraction - this is the “hold the pencil together with your shoulder blades” position

4 - protraction - the oposite of retraction, shoulder blades pulled apart

want to have an injury free lifting career?, learn how to keep a stable retraction & depression throughout all of your pressing movements, most lifters do not take the time to develop these positions with adequate control, myself included, as a younger lifter, 21 years old, i could bench 500 pounds for 3 reps, WITHOUT PROPER SCAPULAR DEPRESSION this paved the way to a couple of pretty nasty pec tears, trust me you DO NOT want to experience this!!

my point being there is a bit more to dialing in your bench form then squeezing your shoulder blades & keeping your elbows in, for big presses you need to learn Stable RETRACTION & DEPRESSION

imagine literally trying touch your hips with your shoulders as you are descending the bar towards your body, it is important to maintain that position as you press also

deep stretch isometric pushup holds with extreme depression work very well for training this method, work up you 3 minutes continous, don’t worry about how long you can hold the first few times you try them… just add 5-10 seconds of hold time as you progress

remember to concentrate on a NASTY contraction of both retraction & depression during your rowing exercises - even if your going heavy you should strive to acheive these positions even if for a fraction of a second, wrapping up a back workout with light bent over rows holding the contracted position for 5-8 seconds is also beneficial, do it right & your back will blow up! - do not mistake light for low intensity, your can perform this movement with extreme intensity. It will help you.

So what should the shoulder position be for back movements like rows and pull ups/lat pulldowns? This is rarely mentioned when form is described.

[quote]eyegainweightbig wrote:
So what should the shoulder position be for back movements like rows and pull ups/lat pulldowns? This is rarely mentioned when form is described.
[/quote]

Full controlled stretch. Explosive contraction intiated witht the target muscle.

Also, should the shoulder blades be squeezed together and down during barbell military press? I am thinking of starting to do overhead presses. (All I do for direct shoulder work is bent over lateral raises and standing lateral raises) I have a mental block thinking that overhead pressing is hard on and bad for the shoulders, but they are recommended for deltoid growth here)

Ok bones thanks, so when the arms are straightened then the shoulder blades are stretched apart, and as the weight is pulled they are squeezed together throughout the rep?

you should watch Dave Tate’s video. i think it is called the eight week bench press cure; the video is also on youtube

[quote]eyegainweightbig wrote:
Ok bones thanks, so when the arms are straightened then the shoulder blades are stretched apart, and as the weight is pulled they are squeezed together throughout the rep? [/quote]

Theyr’e squeezed together for the whole set.

How do you get a stretch if they are squeezed together the whole time?

[quote]eyegainweightbig wrote:
How do you get a stretch if they are squeezed together the whole time?[/quote]

for what exercise?

rows or pull ups or other back exercises

[quote]eyegainweightbig wrote:
rows or pull ups or other back exercises[/quote]

Woops I didn’t see that other post I thought you were still asking about presses.

Pullups/verticle pulls you can let your shoulders drift up to get a pull stretch definitely. For horizontal rows like Likewater says you’re going to want to focus more on retracting your scalps hard at the top to get the most benifite, but yeah you can let the shoulder move forward to stretch out the muscles on those also. Each movement is a little different in how much you want to do these things thoough.

Alright thanks trav!
Confused about overhead barbell military press though, what is the safe form for these?

[quote]eyegainweightbig wrote:
Is bb bench press the only exercise that you squeeze shoulder blades together and keep your elbows close to your body?
Apparently its proper form to ease shoulder stress, but what other exercises are you supposed to keep elbows tucked close to body with shoulder blades squeezed together? (Ex. Incline bench, flies cgbp, pull ups, rows?)[/quote]

seated, and bent over rows. drive elbows towards your ribs. and of course, during any tranverse press