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Leg Drive During Bench Press

Hi CT,

I’ve heard it often remarked that one should utilize a proper leg drive when benching. However, I find it very difficult to do so - the moment I unrack the weight, it’s all my upper body. Is there any coaching cue/aid that could help me in using a proper leg drive?

Thanks for your time!

[quote]darkmatter wrote:
Hi CT,

I’ve heard it often remarked that one should utilize a proper leg drive when benching. However, I find it very difficult to do so - the moment I unrack the weight, it’s all my upper body. Is there any coaching cue/aid that could help me in using a proper leg drive?

Thanks for your time![/quote]

focus on tensing the glutes, without raising them off of the bench.

they shoul remain tense throughout the set but focus on really squeezing them on the way up of the rep

hmmm, thanks Ilboro, I’ll give that a shot. Though I’ve already tried that, but not very consciously as you mention. Thanks!

Aloha,

I used so much leg drive in my last competition my legs cramped up. LMAO. I had trouble walking for three days. I bench with my feet firmly planted on the floor, squeeze the glutes, squeeze the bench with my upper thighs and dig my heels into the floor. If you’re going to compete work on the stance now and find the right width for your legs, making sure that your heels don’t touch the base underneath.

When the bar is handed off I always pause at the top to lock everything in, squeezing the bench with traps, glutes and thighs. I lower the weight and as I hear the PRESS command I dig into the floor as I press the weight to lockout.

I am no CT that is for sure. This is how it works best for me. Best of luck to you.

Thanks HT! I don’t plan to compete, just trying everything possible to not be a crap bencher :slight_smile:

I hear everything you say, the “dig my heels into the floor” is the part I have problems with. I am going to bench tomorrow, and I’ll try it out with just the bar, making an active effort to squeeze my glutes and dig my heels. Thanks for your time!

[quote]HawaiiTunya wrote:
Aloha,

I used so much leg drive in my last competition my legs cramped up. LMAO. I had trouble walking for three days. I bench with my feet firmly planted on the floor, squeeze the glutes, squeeze the bench with my upper thighs and dig my heels into the floor. If you’re going to compete work on the stance now and find the right width for your legs, making sure that your heels don’t touch the base underneath.

When the bar is handed off I always pause at the top to lock everything in, squeezing the bench with traps, glutes and thighs. I lower the weight and as I hear the PRESS command I dig into the floor as I press the weight to lockout.

I am no CT that is for sure. This is how it works best for me. Best of luck to you.[/quote]

Well, you almost got a new world record recently, so your opinion is at least decent :wink:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]HawaiiTunya wrote:
Aloha,

I used so much leg drive in my last competition my legs cramped up. LMAO. I had trouble walking for three days. I bench with my feet firmly planted on the floor, squeeze the glutes, squeeze the bench with my upper thighs and dig my heels into the floor. If you’re going to compete work on the stance now and find the right width for your legs, making sure that your heels don’t touch the base underneath.

When the bar is handed off I always pause at the top to lock everything in, squeezing the bench with traps, glutes and thighs. I lower the weight and as I hear the PRESS command I dig into the floor as I press the weight to lockout.

I am no CT that is for sure. This is how it works best for me. Best of luck to you.[/quote]

Well, you almost got a new world record recently, so your opinion is at least decent ;)[/quote]

hahahaha Coach. You’re funny. Mahalo. Who knew you had a sense of humor (I thought it was all brains) underneath all them there muscles! :slight_smile:

So, if you are benching for reps (say 5 reps) and not panning on competing in a power lifting meet how does this work? I have never gotten good at the leg drive. Probably because all my coaching has come from online videos without a real teacher. I find that I can keep tight and get some leg drive for the first rep but then I get all messed up and further and further out of position the more reps I do. If you are going for reps do you place less importance on the leg drive? I am to the point where I have given up trying leg drive. I just get into position with my back tight and solid, some arch and bench like that. I don’t really try to leg drive as it pushes me out of position after a rep or two.

Aloha Irfhdah,

I would say that even if you’re not going to compete that EACH rep should be a perfect rep. If locking your body onto the bench includes the glutes and legs (which it should) then each rep should have a little leg drive. Now mind you, if you’re not trying to max out all the time there won’t be as much leg drive needed when pressing.

I tend to have a one second pause at the chest for each rep to make sure I am locked in before pressing. I was doing this even before I started competing last year. Little trick I learned from the man (CT) himself.

I would say my leg drive really kicks in when I am trying to hit that max rep, which only happens once every 4-weeks. You might try doing floor or bench Barbell Hip Thrusts, Banded Pull Throughs or Cable Pull Throughs to help develop your Leg Drive. Not only did this really help rehab my torn ACL but also helped my Hip drive for Deadlifts and my Leg drive for Bench.

That’s my two cents worth again.

Great answer, HawaiiTunya. I can vouch for hip thrusts helping with leg drive-- That maximum contraction you get at the top of the rep most closely mimics what your glutes and hammies are doing on a rep of bench press, in my experience.

I also definitely don’t notice my legs kick in until I’m benching heavy. If I’m pressing something that I can handle for 10+ reps and try to use leg drive, I just end up scooting back on the bench. My theory is that there must be enough weight on the bar to “pin” my shoulders to the bench for my legs to “drive” against.

Mahalo JaggedG.

I am discovering a tremendous amount of info regarding our hip/pelvic area in how it correlates with our entire body. It blows my mind how much our day to day activities rely so heavily on this area. Just discovered I have a pelvic floor imbalance which was making my left arm significantly shorter than the right. Which we’re absolutely sure has had an impact in my training over the last few years. As I repair and stabilize this area it will interesting to see what happens to my lifts.

I cannot stress enough, from my own personal experience, how IMPORTANT training the pelvic/hip region is an ABSOLUTE must. Like you mentioned you don’t realize you’re using that area but it is active non-stop.

Mahalo for your feedback.

A hui ho.

[quote]JaggedG wrote:
Great answer, HawaiiTunya. I can vouch for hip thrusts helping with leg drive-- That maximum contraction you get at the top of the rep most closely mimics what your glutes and hammies are doing on a rep of bench press, in my experience.

I also definitely don’t notice my legs kick in until I’m benching heavy. If I’m pressing something that I can handle for 10+ reps and try to use leg drive, I just end up scooting back on the bench. My theory is that there must be enough weight on the bar to “pin” my shoulders to the bench for my legs to “drive” against.[/quote]