T Nation

Leg Drive

in the competition benching, how much leg drive can you use? If you basically kick the ground to get so much momentum, wouldn’t that be a cheating? Is there any limit to this?

Which federation?

I would consider reading their rulebook to see what they say on the subject, and if in doubt, contact the meet director.

If the movement is excessive you might get called for a heave. Other than that, if your ass doesn’t leave the bench and the bar doesn’t sink into your chest after the press command is given I don’t see why it would get red lighted.

That being said, the above advice is spot on.

I thought leg drive was meant to drive you BACK, through your arch and into your traps, keeping your whole base tight and stable… In contrast to DOWN, which would shoot your butt into the air, and look like a hip-bucking motion.

So if you have really tight leg drive with no power leaks, you can’t really have “too much,” because you’re not leaving the bench at any point, right?

I’m not trying to speak authoritatively, I’m actually trying to figure this out myself.

Well, some part of your foot must remain on the ground throughout the lift, so that kind of limits how much “kicking” you can do, obviously. You can’t raise your foot and then slam in into the floor, if that’s what you mean.

Leg drive should really be renamed leg stability, in my opinion. You use the legs to give you a stable base to push from, not to physically launch the bar with your legs.

[quote]powerbuffman wrote:
in the competition benching, how much leg drive can you use? If you basically kick the ground to get so much momentum, wouldn’t that be a cheating? Is there any limit to this?[/quote]
You can’t “kick the ground”. Your feet have to stay in contact with the floor. You can push your feet down as hard as you can, activating your leg muscles, but you can’t like, pick your feet up and kick them back down into the ground. That wouldn’t even be helpful anyway, you’d just lose all your tightness.

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]powerbuffman wrote:
in the competition benching, how much leg drive can you use? If you basically kick the ground to get so much momentum, wouldn’t that be a cheating? Is there any limit to this?[/quote]
You can’t “kick the ground”. Your feet have to stay in contact with the floor. You can push your feet down as hard as you can, activating your leg muscles, but you can’t like, pick your feet up and kick them back down into the ground. That wouldn’t even be helpful anyway, you’d just lose all your tightness.[/quote]

Im picturing this and I really hope I see someone do that someday.

I’m a crappy bencher but I thought leg drive was to tighten your form and arch, and to get the effect of flexing unrelated muscles which inexplicably causes a greater output from the lifting muscles.

[quote]TheKraken wrote:
I’m a crappy bencher but I thought leg drive was to tighten your form and arch, and to get the effect of flexing unrelated muscles which inexplicably causes a greater output from the lifting muscles. [/quote]

INEXPLICABLY? The reason it works is well documented and people have been doing it for decades.

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:

[quote]TheKraken wrote:
I’m a crappy bencher but I thought leg drive was to tighten your form and arch, and to get the effect of flexing unrelated muscles which inexplicably causes a greater output from the lifting muscles. [/quote]

INEXPLICABLY? The reason it works is well documented and people have been doing it for decades. [/quote]

Thank you for your avatar. I thought that it works was well documented but exactly how/why was not, but I obviously not well read on the subject and can’t even remember where I read what I thought I read which makes my first step in every setup "grip bar with intension to strangle it into submission. "

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:

INEXPLICABLY? The reason it works is well documented and people have been doing it for decades. [/quote]

Actually I too am curious about how it works. I know THAT it works, I can feel it work, but I’m not sure exactly why… Just generalities like “Tight is good,” and “You’re using your whole body.”

Inexplicable is maybe a strong word… But unexplainable by ME is accurate :slight_smile:

[quote]JaggedG wrote:

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:

INEXPLICABLY? The reason it works is well documented and people have been doing it for decades. [/quote]

Actually I too am curious about how it works. I know THAT it works, I can feel it work, but I’m not sure exactly why… Just generalities like “Tight is good,” and “You’re using your whole body.”

Inexplicable is maybe a strong word… But unexplainable by ME is accurate :)[/quote]

If you look at the structure of a lifting tower you would see how strong and stable its base and core are even though the lifting motor is up high.

The same concept on the bench. If you don’t create a solid base and core, there will be losses in the system leading to instability so will start to wiggow and the force transmitted to the bar will be reduced.

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:

[quote]TheKraken wrote:
I’m a crappy bencher but I thought leg drive was to tighten your form and arch, and to get the effect of flexing unrelated muscles which inexplicably causes a greater output from the lifting muscles. [/quote]

INEXPLICABLY? The reason it works is well documented and people have been doing it for decades. [/quote]

Thank you for your avatar. I thought that it works was well documented but exactly how/why was not, but I obviously not well read on the subject and can’t even remember where I read what I thought I read which makes my first step in every setup "grip bar with intension to strangle it into submission. "

The best explanation I have for leg drive is that your body limits the force it creates when it senses an unstable situation. This is basically to prevent falling.

In the bench press, you naturally become less stable on the bench as the bar moves away from your chest. If your body senses that you are not in a stable position, it doesn’t allow your prime movers (pecs, shoulders, and tris in this case) to fire at 100%. It keeps a reserve to account for instability. Basically, if your body is already using the prime movers at 100%, it can’t do anything if the bar starts to tilt one way or the other due to instability. By keeping a reserve, your brain is confident that if the bar starts to tilt it can compensate by firing more on one side.

Your legs, core, and back, while not in a great position to push the weight directly, can make you more stable. Your brain senses this and feels more comfortable with less reserve of the prime movers. Thus, you can push more weight.

@Silyak:

Nice, that’s a convincing explanation. One question though: If stability is the key factor that makes leg drive work, why does it feel more powerful when you “drive” during the concentric phase, as opposed to holding a constant amount of tension?

(I will also accept “Because you’re benching wrong” as an answer, if applicable)

metastrength.com/utilizing-muscular-irradiation-to-maximize-gains
/ this phenomenon is what I was talking about.

[quote]JaggedG wrote:
@Silyak:

Nice, that’s a convincing explanation. One question though: If stability is the key factor that makes leg drive work, why does it feel more powerful when you “drive” during the concentric phase, as opposed to holding a constant amount of tension?

(I will also accept “Because you’re benching wrong” as an answer, if applicable)[/quote]

It’s when you’re pushing yourself the hardest into the bench and when you need the extra stability the most. That’s why I do almost a ‘kick’ when trying to get the bar off my chest. The reversal for me is when I’m most likely to get unstable so I have to try the hardest at that moment. If you watch a video of my bench that ‘kick’ is barely noticeable to not noticeable at all but I can definitely tell a difference.

so if I lift the hip by pushing torso toward to head to create momentum but hips still partially touching the bench, will it be accepted in the competition?

[quote]powerbuffman wrote:
so if I lift the hip by pushing torso toward to head to create momentum but hips still partially touching the bench, will it be accepted in the competition?[/quote]

Which federation? I think you missed this the first time I asked.