T Nation

Questions on Bench Technique


#1

I just have a few questions on the little things when it comes to benching technique. And i'll be lifting RAW the whole time.

1) Does anyone ever experience sliding around on the bench. I get my shoulders tucked and get arched, but then when I unrack the weight I have a tendancy to slide back toward the supports. Im not sure if its that my shirt and the bench are just slick, or if its a tecynique problem.

(as a side note, I tried something I saw on another site and it seemed to help. Before I even touched the bar, I put my feet up on the bench and do a hip thrust. Then I just lower my feet but try to keep this position with my upper body. It seemed to help keep me very stable, but i'll have to try it when it comes time to max.)

2) Bench grip width - Ive been benching pretty narrow, because of past shoulder issues, and when I read the westside book of methods, Louie said that theyll usually have beginner bench narrow. I haven't had any real problems as far as shoulders lately, but am I cutting myself short for strength in the long run? I usually train with my index finger on the smooth part of the bar and then if I need to when maxing i'll go a couple inches wider.

3) Arch - I more always better, or are there different ideals for different techniques and different lifters?

Thank you.


#2

1) If it can keep you stable on the bench then do whatever you have to do.

2) You can move your grip out to Pinky on rings, it wont hurt you.

3) Do the suggestion you made in #1, drive your traps into the bench and keep that position.


#3

ive been having some issues with the bench lately too. not necessarily sliding around, but just feeling like i could get much more out of setting up than i have been. sent a Q to dave tate at elitefts.com, he referenced me to a recent T-Nation article which has about an 8 minute video of him talking about benching. im sorry, i dont know the exact name, but its something along the lines of "bench press cure" and within the past 2-3 months i believe. anyway, check out that video, and try setting up JUST as dave does in that video.

a short explanation would be to sit down with your butt about middle of the bench, swing your head under the bar so that basically your whole head is off the bench. then tuck your feet underneath your ass, then grab the bar underhand, and pull sort of up towards the bar while pushing your body down towards the end of the bench. your legs will end up basically super tucked, youll have your arch about as good as your current flexibility allows, and youll be pretty damn tight. i did this on friday. i cant say that it was the magic secret i was hoping it would be to blast my progress back to where id like it to be, but i gather it will take a few sessions to learn to utilize it. BUT, saturday my legs and hips were a bit sore, so i suppose that might be the key to "squatting the weight up" as you might have heard experienced powerlifters say. im going to stick with it for a bit and see what i can do with it.


#4

1) Do you mean after you hit your leg drive hard you are sliding? Or you mean you are sliding even without any type of drive?

2) Jim Wendler only benches narrow now, as do a lot of strongmen that are trying to build their overhead press, do what you feel comfortable with.

3) Arch is going to be different for everyone. There is such thing as arching too much and arching not enough, you really are just going to have to practice, practice, practice and keep watching different youtube videos of different lifters so you can see how diff people setup differently.


#5

Thx for the advice, ive seen that video, and am not flexibly enough at the moment to use that setup method.


#6

Ya, it seems as if my legs are pushing me back, instead of INTO the bench. But if I do that setup with my feet starting up on the bench and then going down, I dont have this problem, and I feel like I am "squatting" while benching. I'll stick with doing this setup until I can just go straight into it without doing it. Thanks.


#7

After all the practice ive done on my setup I have found what works best for me, is what dez said to do:

"a short explanation would be to sit down with your butt about middle of the bench, swing your head under the bar so that basically your whole head is off the bench. then tuck your feet underneath your ass, then grab the bar underhand, and pull sort of up towards the bar while pushing your body down towards the end of the bench. your legs will end up basically super tucked, youll have your arch about as good as your current flexibility allows, and youll be pretty damn tight. i did this on friday. i cant say that it was the magic secret i was hoping it would be to blast my progress back to where id like it to be, but i gather it will take a few sessions to learn to utilize it. BUT, saturday my legs and hips were a bit sore, so i suppose that might be the key to "squatting the weight up" as you might have heard experienced powerlifters say. im going to stick with it for a bit and see what i can do with it."

When it comes to tucking your feet, I have found that for me, I can easily overtuck as I do a shit ton of stretching and mobility work. The key here will be just trying a bunch of different foot positions and making mental notes of how it will feel during the set. Also as far as sliding off the bench, it may be something as simple as the bench material of your shirt. If the slide is due to your leg drive(not due to losing your arch and flattening out) then the issue of sliding will go away as you put more weight on the bar. Hope this helps.


#8

Try some chalk on on your shoulders. If your gym shit a brick about chalk but some "stick um spray" made by Mueller. You won't go anywhere with that stuff.


#9

+1


#10

This sounds like a good idea. I was sliding around quite a bit today doing speed bench.. I'll give it a try.


#11

Do you bench in a T-shirt, or some kind of jersey? cotton and reasonably fitting, not super loose might help. I sit behind the bar, set my grip, set my feet, the swing down the bench, finally setting my back. It takes a couple sets with the empty bar to feel comfortable and stretched out; stetching the hip flexors and the abs helps. I'm sure not massive on my bench, but it works for me.


#12

How's your scapular stability? I think lack of scap stability is probably one of the biggest causes of shoulder issues.

To almost anyone who has had shoulder issues, I would advise lots of scapular retraction and depression exercises. I bet replacing all of your pressing with pulling movements would do more for your bench than doing all of the bench training you're currently doing (which, if you have scapular issues, is just furthering the imbalance)...

Fixing your lingering shoulder issues would probably be very helpful for improving your bench press.

In fact, I know you REALLY don't want to hear this, but it needs to be said:
I'm curious why you're so enamoured with Westside and Louie Simmons. Training the way you currently are is only going to make matters worse for you if you have imbalances.
Believe me, I did an entire year of Westside with my former college's powerlifting team. I had some severe anterior pelvic tilt - my glutes weren't firing at all, I had no idea how to stabilize my lumbar area with my core, and my spinal erectors took over for absolutely every lift I did. Do you think I made ANY progress on the squat and deadlift in that entire year?
No. Absolutely none. I also injured my hip in the process.

Why do you think training Westside will help you improve your bench if you have shoulder issues? It won't.

I will give you a concise plan to help you with this.
1. Stop trolling. (This one is essential.)
2. Let go of your notion that advanced training methods like Westside and Shieko are right for you. Right now, they're not. I don't know where you got the idea, but you are SO in love with it that I'm absolutely blown away.
3. Go to the search bar, and type in scapular stability, and read all of the good articles by knowledgable authors like Michael Boyle, Eric Cressey, and Mike Robertson.
4. Figure out what's wrong with you and fix it.

Honestly dankid, it's not that hard. All you have to do is figure out what is wrong with yourself and fix it. It doesn't require endless forum trolling, advanced training techniques that you aren't ready for, and trying to convince yourself that you are a powerlifter. In fact, all of those things are getting in the way of you making any progress at all.


#13

Now this is what tough love is all about.


#14

Sheiko's about as simple as you can go... I wouldn't call it "advanced".

Fully agree on the scap issue tho. I literally went from taking 6 attempts and only getting one press with 190kg to doing 190,200,205 AND 210kg 2 weeks later becuase I sorted scap stability out.

I should note, the strength was pretty much "there" for the 200+ attempts the week I missed all the 190's, but because I couldn't keep my right scap surpressed I wasn't able to lock out my right arm.


#15

Thx for the advice, but sorry you are wrong.


#16

Denial.

Come on dankid. I've seen your "Westside to Sheiko" log where you do ONLY pressing. By the first day of the second week, you'd done 39 sets of horizontal pressing. 13 sets of isolated humeral adduction. No scapular retraction or depression to speak of. Absolutely zero.

You bench 230 at a bodyweight of 210 after 3 years of training... That's very mediocre. Most healthy male trainees should be able to reach the 1.1x bodyweight bench in about six months of proper training. You continue to try these advanced methods like purchasing monster mini bands, doing speed work, training pressing movements three times a week, and having days where you close-grip press, bench press, and do push-ups. Let me ask you, dankid, how much has your bench improved while doing all of this?

You're a "personal trainer" dankid. You should understand the concept of scapular stabiilty. Honestly. Go read some articles instead of continuing your relentless trolling. I'll even help you out (once again).

http://www.tmuscle.com/ALSAuthor.do?p=Eric%20Cressey&pageNo=1

There you go. Read them all, and you might have a better understanding of how your body actually works.


#17

I never heard of you KurtMondaugen... if what he is doing is not working for him, he'll figure it out on his own not working for him then he'll figure it out on his own, you dont need tto be a fucking dick, cuz what you said sure wasnt tough love.

I also 2nd the chalk on the shoulders.

1) as wendler says, if it dont hurt you aint tight, so you may not be tight enough

2)Cycle some grips, go a thumb length width on the knurling, then after a few weeks of that, go a little wider

3) like everyone else said, arch how you want to arch, but stick to a point where you always put your feet in the same spot, that might help also.

I would say dankind, IMO I think you shoild do less pressing movements, it might help, but I could be wrong....


#18

i know you're young, so im not going to attempt to rip into your self esteem, but NOTHING "KurtMondaugen" said in his post was out of line. i dont follow Dankid around on this site, so i dont know what the hell he does, but it sounds like 'Kurt' delivered him some sound advice. it wouldnt be smart to decide to discredit something someone on here says simply because youve never heard of them, or maybe theyre new to the site or whatever. if i remember correctly, as of a couple years ago there was something like 700,000 registered members on this site! i dont know about you, but if i sat thinking all day, i could maybe remember about 10-15 names of posters that i know are always giving solid advice when i see their posts. certainly, that does not mean that there are only 10-15 peeps on here worth of handing out advice.

there are also the internet warriors that i feel honestly dont ever lift, workout of any type, but sit on here and spew bullshit. anyone that doesnt have their head up their ass should be able to tell who they are when they come across them. from "Kurt's" post, it doesnt seem like he falls in the latter category, so even though youve never "heard of him" try just giving him the benefit of the doubt. (especially since you close your post by basically summarizing what Kurt wrote, in saying "stop pressing so damn much" [in relation to your other lifting])


#19

I'm pretty sure Type2B and Dankid are the same person, switching between strength sports or olympic lifting whenever they get tired of trolling the other one.


#20

Im not following this thread anymore really, because I fixed my problem. I pretty much use the method where I put my feet up on the bench and dig my upper back in on every set, and that has solved the problem.

I dont feel I need to justify my use of "advanced programs". If you think they are advanced, thats fine, but then that means you probably dont know what your talking about anyways.

My bench max is 255, and my natural bodyweight is around 190. I recently did a quick bulk and went up to 210 in about a month. Not all of this was muscle, but slowly its making a shift and pretty soon here, im gonna need to do a short cut followed by another bulk. If I wanted to right now, I could cut to 190 in a couple of weeks, and maintain 255 on bench. So thats not too bad IMO. And Ive been training for quite a while, but really only this last year have I been following strength based programs, and my results have been much better.

As for Kurt's advice. I already responded to that in my other thread.