T Nation

'Shrugging' During the Bench Press

Coach Thibs, I’ve watched your videos on how you advocate shrugging the shoulders while benching to activate the upper traps and promote stability in the shoulder girdle.

My question is wouldn’t depressing the scaps activate the lats, a larger muscle group than the upper traps, and therefore enhance the stability more than shrugging? And what grip works best for the bench if you do use the shrug method? Thanks!

If I’m not mistaken, CT advocated shrugging the traps if you were not using a bench shirt. Using a shirt changes the dynamic of the lift. Having used a shirt a few times, I can say that the bar tends to travel at a different path, requiring different stabilization muscles.

However, Jim Wendler and Dave Tate advocate total body tension, which would include the trap shrug AND lat activation. Both advocate being so tight its uncomfortable, even painful.

A part of the lats may attach to the lower medial border of the scap, but retracting the scapula is not really a function of the lats. In fact, in many people, the lats don’t connect with the scapulae at all!

That’s a good question and I’m actually depressing the scap… You know sometimes you do the right thing instinctively but cannot find the right words to explain it? Well that’s one of those things…

What I do when I set up is shrug the traps up, THEN depress the scapula while tightening the rhomboids… I’ll have to take pictures next week to explain what I mean.

Thanks!

Glad someone made this thread i was very curious about that too. so shrug to contract upper trap, then while contracting traps actively depress the scap with lats? does this apply to other angles like incline and decline too?

[quote]myosaurus wrote:
Glad someone made this thread i was very curious about that too. so shrug to contract upper trap, then while contracting traps actively depress the scap with lats? does this apply to other angles like incline and decline too?[/quote]

Depress the scraps and rock chest up (it will tense the lats).

I do not do regular steep decline and normal incline… I use a slight decline (a 4" block raising the hips-end of the bench) or a slight incline (4" blocks raising the head-end of the bench), so in my case the set-up is the same.

Meadows, when I saw him train seems to do the same on his regular inclines.

Did you had time to take the pictures to illustrate the way you set up?

Old thread but amazing. Lately I’ve done this with my BB Bench Press and it feels better on my shoulder than down and back as I’ve always been taught. My coach is a powerlifter but I am not.