T Nation

Frustrating Bench Press


#1

I've been powerlifting for about 9 months now. Unfortunately, I train alone 9 out of 10 times which has led me to do lot and lots of self assessment. Squat and deadlift have been and still are progressing well, but bench is simply frustrating the crap out of me. No matter if I try to flare more or tuck more, my left arm always seems to be more tucked than my right which results in a crooked horizontal bar angle. I also have checked my forearm angle from the front and both forearms remain parallel to each other so I'm not benching with added wrist and elbow torques. In case its important information, my left arm is also the arm to fail first when my RPE's begin to creep up.

My feet are as far back as they can go while still having my heels on the ground (planning to compete IPF) my butt stays on the bench while maintaining my arch, its just seems to be this one issue that is holding me back. Any feedback would be amazing! Don't know why my video didn't upload but a top view bench video is up under my videos on my HUB


#2

How is your back tightness? If you don’t keep the shoulder blades locked down tight together and the left creeps out and down, it’ll tuck the left elbow and destabilize the entire left side.

I can’t watch the video for some reason.


#3

Back tightness is always what I try to keep. I think it’s pretty good although last night I pinched like I would in bench while standing and my left scapula is back farther than my right bc my right arm is a few inches in front of my left. Could it just be that I’ve ingrained an incorrect tucking queue?


#4

[quote]Dazzo7991 wrote:
Back tightness is always what I try to keep. I think it’s pretty good although last night I pinched like I would in bench while standing and my left scapula is back farther than my right bc my right arm is a few inches in front of my left. Could it just be that I’ve ingrained an incorrect tucking queue? [/quote]

I suck at benching so take this with a grain of salt.

You may be over emphasizing pinching your shoulder blades, just like it’s possible to over emphasize arching the spine. Do it to a point that you can still feel your traps, erectors, lats and chest working throughout the entire range of motion. You should still be bracing your core and keeping your legs tight as well. There’s no point in getting into the most advantageous position possible if you can’t even use your muscles in that position, unless of course you have such a big arch that it no longer matters. If you overdo the scapula retraction and can’t use your chest, you may be moving your scapula into a position that allows you to better utilize your chest when starting the press up. At least that’s what happened to me. Now I pull my scapulae in and down while judging how much based on overall tightness. Does it feel like your chest is tight or relaxed at the bottom?

For normal people, getting an extra quarter inch of arch or scapula retraction doesn’t make much of a difference in leverages and it may be detrimental to muscle recruitment. Some people are just freaks and can get a huge arch while hitting heavy lifts but they aren’t normally asking for help.


#5

[quote]Dazzo7991 wrote:
Back tightness is always what I try to keep. I think it’s pretty good although last night I pinched like I would in bench while standing and my left scapula is back farther than my right bc my right arm is a few inches in front of my left. Could it just be that I’ve ingrained an incorrect tucking queue? [/quote]
If you can post a picture of you doing this, it would help. A relaxed back picture would help, too.


#6

Between last night and today I revisited all my old material like Starting Strength etc and found this issue to be a simple fix. I was making my arch so large from the start that I wasnt able to get a good pressing foundation on my scapulae but rather on my trap. This caused my to shrug more up than back leading to inconsitent tucking with each rep.

I also wasn’t pronating my hands and my grip was not even in the heel of either palm. Lastly, I wasn’t simply focusing on putting my shoulder DOWN and back and stare at the bar’s starting point on the ceiling. All today, I worked on all of these and it feel a billion times better not to mention left shoulder discomfort is virtually gone now. (that’s an understatement it feels like a new lift for me)

After reviewing it on camera my forearms are perpendicular with the bar, I hit the same place on my chest, bar is even in palms and I do not over bridge from the beginning so I don’t have trouble back tracking to get my butt to stay on the bench. Oh and I’m finally bracing my core (air into stomach and hold during lift). I forgot that one which was probably the biggest help for me. I do it on squat and dead don’t know why I wasn’t on bench. Anyway I appreciate the feedback so much! I even am getting better speed off my chest and feel more powerful in the new position.


#7

Awesome, brother. You got that sorted out quick. Keep on hittin it hard, and best of luck to you.


#8

Good job on figuring it out. Looks like we had the same problem, lol.