T Nation

How much ROM on BP?

Do you guys take the bar all the way down off the chest? Some psychos say to bounce it, although I’m pretty sure that’s not the greatest idea. However, I am wondering what significant differences are going to be made if I touch the chest, or if I stay a half inch to an inch off. I workout alone, so I usually shoot for a half inch off the chest or so when I’m working near my max. -2 points for bravery, but big bonus for all the times I’ve had to dump it and it hasn’t already been on top of me.

Am I killin myself? Should I bribe one of my fatass friends with pizza or something to get them to spot?

Don’t max out alone.

stopping it half an inch off the chest is harder than letting it touch and go because you have to use your muscles to bring it to a stop whereas your chest stops the bar on touch and go (even if its controlled).

if its not a flexibility issue and its just a bravery issue then do speed work with about half your max, it helps fire the bar off your chest

Get someone to spot any time you start a set you’re not 100% positive you can finish. In terms of ROM, go all the way down, but never bounce the bar off your chest. Touch it lightly to your chest, then try to explode the bar up.

Once I had to move the barbell down to my lower body to be able to get up. If you’re alone, it’s better that you stop benchpressing a couple of reps before failure. Perform then some dips in inclined position or some pushups with the feet on the bench.

Bench in a rack, set the pins right and you can get the full range of movement and still bail if you die at the bottom.

Bring it down to your chest. If you were in a competition it wouldn’t count if you didn’t bring it down all the way. I don’t know if you are ever thinking about competing though. Get a spotter. Like you said, bribe one of your friends with pizza or something.

ever watch a guy at the gym stop the bar a half inch above his chest? he might get the first rep right, but it seems to me that all the other reps creep higher and higher. there are really two issues here: 1. he should be using a lighter weight to control the bar better (i.e. lightly touching the chest) and 2. he needs more confidence to bring the bar down all the way to the chest. personally, i bring the bar and have it slightly touch my chest - and i always have a spotter when reaching my max. the full range of motion will tap all the muscles that should be incorporated in the bp, especially those when the bar is nearest the chest (including the upper back and anterior and medial delt), and for me, it signals when i want to explode the weight off my chest when performing dynamic bp. my suggestions? control the eccentric portion of the bp so that when you slightly touch (and not rest) the bar on your chest you are not bouncing the weight any. or, put a 1/2 inch towel on your sternum and when the bar touches the towel (which should not add any ‘bounce’ to the concentric portion) proceed to lift the weight. or, if you really want to exercise your ROM, bring down the weight (nothing near your max though), let it rest on the point the bar touches your chest for a few seconds, and then bring the weight up. in the last case, you have no eccentric elasticity or bounce and you are really practicing the start of the concentric portion.

If you train alone you should think about getting a bench with safety stands. New York Barbells makes safety stands for the MegaBench, and I’m sure other manufacturers have them as well. You can go as heavy as you like, and if you miss it, you can simply drop the bar onto the stands and crawl out from under the bar in shame (been there, done that).

I have a power rack/cage setup, it’s just that the way the different levels work out, I can either A.) have the safety things just above the level of my chest, limiting ROM or B.) just below, making them useless.


I use my power rack also for benching with the safety cath set below where the bar hits my chest. This doesn’t make it worthless, I find it a plus. The catch doesnt interfer with my lift. I can get the full ROM, but if I screw up and happen to fail the catch does stop the bar just high enough not to choke me, just above my neck. I can still turn my head sideways and get it out.

Hope that helps,


Try putting the saftey bars at just above chest level and put small plates under each the bench.