T Nation

Long Arms...Crappy Bench

As I stated in earlier posts, I have long arms relative to my torso, so i feel that I’m have a leverage disadvantage. Do NOT equate that statement with an excuse. It’s just a matter of figuring out if long arm benchers bench different than others. Does anyone have experience overcoming this? My difficulty is the lift off the chest. Lockouts dont trouble me too much. I dont think my technique is much different than how Dave Tate describes it on his site, but we can always improve. Im 180 with a 300 bench.

Not too bad of a bench if raw. Keep looking at your form. If you have never seen it done ask a power lifter to critic you. Work your shoulders and triceps. I’m 6’3"…uh gain weight. Use your back! Like Dave Tate describes get your lats into it.

I wouldn’t be complaining with a 300 pound bench.

You know what I learned? The more you weigh, and the thicker your torso, the “shorter” your arms get (essentially)…So each more, work on building up your mass and your long arms at least won’t feel quite as disproportionate.

Im looking to compete in powerlifting, so the 300 bench is not enough. I think what might happen is that I’ll end up competing in the 198 when my upper body catches up to my legs.


An often-overlooked component of the bench press is the use and development of the muscles of the back and in particular the lats. Very few lifters utilize the strength of the lats in their bench press and when they are able to incorporate lat contraction into their exercises, an immediate increase is always achieved. Here is how you incorporate the lats into your bench press: Take an empty bar or even a wooden rod and assume the bench press position. Lower the bar to the chest and pause. Instead of driving the weight up with the arms, contract or ?flare? the lats in an outward direction. If you have decent lat development, you should see the bar move several inches off the chest. This takes practice to utilize the lats in this manner, but be persistent and practice over and over with an empty bar, gradually adding weight as you get used to the movement. The eventual goal is to use the lats as sort of a cushion or coiled spring when lowering the bar and then contracting them strongly on the initial drive at the same time you are pressing with the arms. DO NOT walk into the gym tomorrow and attempt this with your max poundage?if you do you will fail. I have worked with athletes who have increased their maximum bench press anywhere from 20-50lbs within 2 weeks as a result of using this technique. This also requires strong well-developed lats, which are developed by doing heavy barbell rows with ?near perfect? form and Kelso Shrugs done in a variety of positions.
Treat the barbell bent over row as if it were a “4th lift” and it will help all areas of your lifting.

Hope that helps, best of luck!


Once again, thanks.
I do work my back, but I havent tried what you suggested. Right now I can do 2 chinups with an extra 90lbs. hanging off me, and dumbbell row 110 around 10 times with each arm and strict form. Im not sure if that is very good though. I will try the technique out in my next bench work day. Good day to you.