T Nation

Slight Decline and Powerlifting Arch

Quick question, all:

Just read an older article about using a slight decline when benching in order to MINIMIZE shoulder involvement and pain. I have been utilizing the powerlifting arch in my bench for many months now, so my question is:

When using the SLIGHT decline, is it still necessary to get into that powerlifting arch?

Thank!

IMO it is never necessary to us an excessive arch in the bench unless you are competing in a powerlifting meet. I think that you should arch hard enough to remain stable and tight throughout the movement, but not in order to shorten the ROM. Personally, I set up by digging my traps into the bench while extending the thoracic spine slightly and then I push my heels into the ground (this will cause your glutes to flex and create a natural arch in the lumbar spine). I would set up the same with the slight decline if I used it. However, I have yet to encounter shoulder problems with the flat bench.

I agree regarding the excessive arch–too much actually hurts my back a bit; I use it mainly to remain stable and grounded to the floor, as you stated. Thanks for the comment, on my next benching day I’ll have to test this slight decline to see if it’ll be better for me in the long-run.

I love the flat bench. But I think the combination of the slight decline along with a higher than average incline press will give you basically everything you need in terms of chest and anterior delt development. Just make sure to stop 6-12 inches above the chest on the high incline presses (see Dave Tates ‘shoulder saver’ bar for an idea) if your goal is to avoid shoulder problems.

[quote]MikeMezz wrote:
I agree regarding the excessive arch–too much actually hurts my back a bit; I use it mainly to remain stable and grounded to the floor, as you stated. Thanks for the comment, on my next benching day I’ll have to test this slight decline to see if it’ll be better for me in the long-run.[/quote]

I was skeptical about using slight decline for the longest time but just started using it a few weeks ago and love it. Wish I had programmed them sooner. I just pop a 25lb plate at the foot of the bench. Seems to put more emphasis on pecs and tris, less on shoulders…which is a good thing. I’ve found I can actually get better numbers with SD surprisingly…that concern is why I delayed using it in the first place. Now glad I did…2 cents

That’s awesome to hear. I’m doing bench layers later today and can’t wait to implement the SD.