T Nation

Serious Bench Press Form Issue

I was benching an empty bar today and noticed, with the film, that my left elbow comes down at a crooked angle… It’s really severe from the side view. My pecs are also dissimilar in size(right one is bigger)…

Trainer at the gym says I should only use the smith machine for a while- what should I do??

Help would be much appreciated.

I don’t think using the smith machine will fix your issue, you need to focus on keeping your elbows in, it also looks like you are trying to have a completely straight bar path until you get close to lockout and then you snap the bar into place (well kinda but not really) rather and moving smoothly, its light so you can get away with it, but when the weight is heavy it won’t work, the bench press’s path is slightly angled (which is why you are archive your back, to minimize the length of the bar path/angle).

I recommend buying the book starting strength so you can about the mechanics of the bench press (and all your other primary movements) and you will have a better understanding of what good form is and why you should do it.

I think I must be missing something because personally I do not see a weird angle in your left elbow. Both arms are moving in a very similar position. But I could just be clearly missing it.

Dreadlocks- Hey man just so you know the bar is supposed to move in as straight a line as possible. The shortest distance between any two points is in a straight line. By pushing at an angle you are lengthening the distance the bar has to travel therefore your going to produce less force and move less weight.

bench form looks good

I am glad it was not just me I really thought I was missing something.

[quote]Reed wrote:
I think I must be missing something because personally I do not see a weird angle in your left elbow. Both arms are moving in a very similar position. But I could just be clearly missing it.

Dreadlocks- Hey man just so you know the bar is supposed to move in as straight a line as possible. The shortest distance between any two points is in a straight line. By pushing at an angle you are lengthening the distance the bar has to travel therefore your going to produce less force and move less weight. [/quote]

i think he means that towards the top of the movement the bar’s more towards your head and at the bottom more towards your feet. the movement of the bar still occurs in a straight line like you said but it’s slightly angled is what i think he’s saying. like maybe 5 or 10 degrees off of vertical.

correct me if i’m wrong dreads

You’re right that the bar is supposed to move in as straight of a line as possible, however in starting strength Riptoe says that when you keep your elbows in properly, there is a slight angle to the bar path (like 5- 10 degrees) which is why you arch your back (to decrease the length of the bar bath which minimizes the amount of work).

I am not sure every thing I have read and seen from Louie Simmons and Dave Tate’s video series so you think you can bench the bar moves in a complete straight line the J type of movement that is being describe is not efficient. I am not a pro bencher in any way but, I know when I bench I am in straight up and down the entire time if I start moving back towards my head I lose tons of tricep power.

everybody’s different, it helps me a little because i feel like I can get a little more help from delts by angling it that way, which are a strong point for me. but it’s still a pretty straight line. probably not too huge of a difference though when it comes down to it