T Nation

Can't Arch with Bench

So I see all of these Westside guys which arches so huge that their bench goes up simply because their range of motion is at most 90 degrees for elbow flexion. I’m not the biggest guy in the gym, so for the bar to touch my chest, I’ve got to bend to way past 90 degrees, but I know that’s not the best for your shoulders.

So how do I develop that arch? No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get my chest to stick out…it also doesn’t help that I have a bit of posterior tilt. Any exercises / stretches / etc to work on it?

I would have posted this in strength sports. You’ll probably get more replies.

Strength Sports yes, but I do want to add quickly that you probably saw some pretty massive dudes benching, that right there will raise their chest level and make their arch appear more pronounced despite you having the same bend in your back/legs.

Practice, stretching, and maybe some foam rolling should help.

There was a video I was going to post that describes set up and ways to improve your arch, but it seems to have disappeared on youtube :frowning:

Anyway…
Be sure to warm up and stretch, especially your hip flexors.

People have used foam rollers and PVC pipes as a tool to arch over, stretch and learn to keep their arch up while benching. I don’t know exactly how extreme you’re trying to get your arch, but you kind of need to have a decent arch before you can do some of that work.

There seems to be 2 basic setups for arched benching and it seems that one is most popular among girls and smaller guys and the other is what the big guys tend to do.

This is the type of setup that I find produces the best arch; feet relatively close together, tucked under you. Setup the legs then lower your upper back onto the banch. Hannah Johnson’s setup requires a bit more skill and flexibility than other, similar ones, but is still a good example.

The other way more or less involves laying on the bench, arching, and setting your feet up. At least, thats how it seems. I don’t really have any experience with this setup.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqXDMaNR1sk&feature=channel_page

Not a topic I’m at all expert on, but just what I have done personally:

In ordinary training, every time you bench press or do a related bench exercise, do your best for the arch. Another way of looking at the arch is having your shoulders and hips scootched together as closely as possible. You can use your head (like doing a wrestler’s bridge) to scootch your shoulders down, then scooth your hips up, maybe scootch your shoulders down again. When you’re arched as well as you can, then do the set.

I have a suspicion that most with a really poor arch don’t train arching with near the volume that they do the bench press.

Foam rolling may help. The “Magnificent Mobility” DVD may help.

Here’s a good article on setting up your bench.

The discussion is also pretty good, not specifically on arch, but benching in general.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Not a topic I’m at all expert on, but just what I have done personally:

In ordinary training, every time you bench press or do a related bench exercise, do your best for the arch. Another way of looking at the arch is having your shoulders and hips scootched together as closely as possible.

You can use your head (like doing a wrestler’s bridge) to scootch your shoulders down, then scooth your hips up, maybe scootch your shoulders down again. When you’re arched as well as you can, then do the set.

I have a suspicion that most with a really poor arch don’t train arching with near the volume that they do the bench press.

Foam rolling may help. The “Magnificent Mobility” DVD may help.[/quote]

Spot on.

Buckeye’s post too.

Holy shit Hannah Johnson has a sick arch.

If your not doing this allready start this is the first step in arching,When you lay down on the bench press your head into the bench like a wrestlers bridge and lift your shoulders off the bench and pull them back,together and down.Then with your shoulders firmly on the bench under you push back with your feet and kind of roll back on them as if your on your traps.This will naturaly arch your back.

Last half of the video is my setup for bench, (shirt might be blocking).

I’m not the best archer (or bencher), but something I discovered was that if I stopped focusing on my arch and instead focused on how high I can get my sternum, arching gets a lot easier (and more effective at reducing ROM).

If you set some safeties up just above your arched chest, set a bar directly above your sternum, then try to touch the bar with your sternum you might discover an inch or so improvement. At least, I did.

setting an arch definitely takes practice and you wont get good at it immediately. Its like learning a new lift and you get better with it in time. I would recommend when u first start out wearing a shirt with some type of a picture or graphic on the upper back so that your back sticks to the bench more when you are getting into ur arch.

Sounds weird but the different texture is stickey and helps keep u from slipping out of the arch. When u get into the bench go further up than u normally would to the bar and set the arch in. I know some people that get their feet up in the bench and really set the arch hard before dropping their feet back down. The point is to get as high up on ur upper traps as u can and put ur feet underneath u to really withstand the arch.

I doubt flexibility is ur prob, just technique. as long as u really sit on ur upper traps almost so that u are supported by ur neck and u really lock urself in under the bar with ur feet underneath u, u should get it with some practice

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:

This is the type of setup that I find produces the best arch; feet relatively close together, tucked under you. Setup the legs then lower your upper back onto the banch. Hannah Johnson’s setup requires a bit more skill and flexibility than other, similar ones, but is still a good example.

[/quote]

Thank you for that… I watched her related vids. I like :wink:

This is going to sound really gay …

Start doing yoga twice a week

(not kidding)