T Nation

Feedback on Bench Press Form


#1

Hi, everyone. My bench press has been lagging and I'm looking to improve obviously. I have a video here of my bench press form that I humbly request some of you view and give me some feedback. Anything jump out at you? Any pointers? FYI I'm more interested in powerlifting and strength-training than body building

Looking myself with a critical eye, I think my back and lower body aren't tight enough, as you can see in the video I'm not still and drifting/shaking a bit on the bench. I think possibly to some extent that has to do with the fact that I had to use one of the adjustable benches as opposed to a flat bench, since there weren't any free at the gym.

Anyhow, very grateful if anyone can help me out. Thanks.


#2

Couldn’t view the video unfortunately.

However, just based on what you describe your best bet is working on your technique and also doing a lot of benching.

So, step one is to find the most optimal technique for you: grip width, flat/raised heel, setting up by pulling through or feet on the bench, etc.

Step two is to groove that technique with plenty of volume. Make sure most of it is light enough to allow proper execution but heavy to need effort. I’ve found around 75% for sets of five work well to start with. Add in some heavier sets but focus on those grooving sets and try to do them every day you train except heavy bench day.

Beyond that, without seeing the video (won’t come up on my phone) I can’t give you specifics.

Final note, with the back tightness it probably won’t hurt to do more upper and middle back work.


#3

Thanks for the reply. It’s weird, I can view the video on my laptop at home – but on my work pc it freezes after 10 seconds or so.

Anyhow, what you recommend is along the lines of what I’ve been doing for a bit and I have been improving, albeit slowly. What’s made the biggest difference so far has been focusing on the correct bar path. Consciously focusing on getting horizontal/backward movement on the concentric part of the lift has paid immediate dividends. Another thing I noticed in the video is that my lockout seemed kind of weak. I used to do floor presses, but stopped because I didn’t find them particularly challenging or that they were making a big difference. I might need to work them back in or find some other exercise that helps with lockout.

Anyone have suggestions?


#4

Do a lot of wide grip pullups or lat pulldowns, wide grip barbell rows and delt work. You can focus on bench work as much as you want but don’t forget your upper back and mid back are what keep you stable and helps in developing consistent technique.

Is there another bench you can use where the unrack isn’t so far from your start position? Doing some incline bench can help strengthen some weak areas.

Edit: After seeing the video on my laptop, it looks fine. Doing pause work will help you get ready for competition and learn to keep tight but it’s good to still keep in touch and go reps far from a meet when you’re mainly trying to get in volume. If you’re still not tight at the bottom, do spoto presses where you pause about an 1" from your chest.


#5

I like incline dumbbell presses for my pressing assistance.

I figure I’m not good enough to benefit from variations of the bench itself so I just do tons of competition bench to groove it and some incline db presses to shore up weak points.


#6

First thing i would suggest is not wrapping your legs so far back under yourself. Set up so you can get the maximum amount of push from your legs. I slowly went from being on my toes to getting my heels down while keeping my knees low. You seem to be a bit unstable and werent able to utilize leg drive very well. I had the same problem and it helped with tightness tremendously.

As you get more flexible youll be able to slowly pull them back further and get great drive. Also I widened my grip so i could tuck my elbows better, and bring up your back. It really is something people overlook on their bench.


#7

Yeah, I could probably stand to get in some more mid/upper-back volume. I do a heavy mid/upper back day every 9 days or so. On the other days, I usually throw in a few sets of pull-up’s or pull-downs, or occasionally some seated rows or inverted rows. Perhaps some extra work could help with my base on the bench press

Regarding the dumbbell suggestion, I have to say I haven’t quite gotten the “feel” for dumbbells yet. I started focusing on powerlifting/strength training about 3 1/2 years ago and was heavily influenced by starting-strength and stronglifts – both programs which are so barbell-dominated. So my job – as well it should have been – was to get down the core barbell moves as best I could.

Now that I feel I’m pretty solidly an intermediate-skill lifter I guess this is the point where assistance work becomes more important and I can get more out of dumbbell work. One dumbbell variation I have liked is the neutral-grip incline bench press with the pause at the bottom.


#8

[quote]mborop wrote:
First thing i would suggest is not wrapping your legs so far back under yourself. Set up so you can get the maximum amount of push from your legs. I slowly went from being on my toes to getting my heels down while keeping my knees low. You seem to be a bit unstable and werent able to utilize leg drive very well. I had the same problem and it helped with tightness tremendously.

As you get more flexible youll be able to slowly pull them back further and get great drive. Also I widened my grip so i could tuck my elbows better, and bring up your back. It really is something people overlook on their bench.[/quote]

Thanks for the suggestion. I have experimented with different leg stances. For some reason, putting my legs further underneath me seemed to effectuate better tightness (particularly in the glutes). But, yeah, watching this I did seem unstable, so I do need to experiment some more.


#9

I would say you need more triceps and back work. The other thing that I would suggest is fixing your descent - your wrists are bend backwards, which gives me the impression that you are not that strong lowering the bar below your sternum (you are touching too low).

Try going for a closer/wider grip and fixing your wrist possition.

Good luck, brother