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Speed of Bar Descent on Bench Press

I was just wondering if people could post up how fast/slow they lower the bar during a bench press, especially max effort. I am think that one of my weak points is that I lower the bar far too slow and all my effort is really put into doing a negative rep. Do people find that the bar speed dicates their ability to press the weight back up (which makes sense) or does it not seem to make a difference?
Cheers in advance

I’m especially interested about this for raw lifting. The most recent one that I have is from early September during a meet. I also just noticed this is 122.5kg and is my second attempt lol, not 115kg and my first like the video says.

To be honest, I don’t know if that is fast or slow. Will be interesting to compare.

Thats probably a bit faster than mine! As Dave said above (which I didnt mention) I am interested in this for raw lifting but obivously geared lifters opinions are wanted as well!

Im not a big bencher. Take my opinion for what you like.

I agree that if I lower the bar to slowly it becomes a negative rep. When I lower the bar under control but quickly, so that I can either pause if required or touch-n-go I can lift more. The strain of lowering slowly takes away some of my lifting strength. I dont drop the bar, but, move it under control.

For an overall reference, my best bench was 130kg to a one board, or 125kg touch and go.

I dont think anyones opinion/experience should be dimissed just because they dont bench huge numbers.

I think speed is something i need to add into my bench

this is actually something I have also been playing with in my training. My bench is terrible hahaha, and so I’ve sort of tried lots of different ways of training it to get it moving. Lately, I’ve been doing a ton of paused work, as well as some heavy touch and go. On both, I find that lowering the bar really fast works best for me. With paused work, you’re stopping on your chest anyways, so I feel that taking too much time and energy to control the path meticulously is just going to waste energy like you said. Bring it down fast while keeping tight, make sure you stop on the right spot on your chest, and blast it up.

With touch and go, I find it a little trickier to find the RIGHT speed. I feel better the faster I move it for the most part, but if I get a little too into it and lose focus at heavier weights or on tougher reps, a quick descent can easily turn into me losing tightness and getting “out of the groove” on the way up, which makes reps harder, OR can result in that “bouncing the bar of your chest” type press - which obviously isn’t a huge deal if it only happens on your 8th rep of an 8rm or something, but overall I want to be controlling the weight a little better than slamming it into my chest haha.

Either way though, those two problems are my individual weaknesses I need to work on - but personally, I feel that the faster I can lower the bar, the better, as long as I can maintain tightness and control.

A few things to consider here. If you lift in USAPL the bar has to be completely still on your chest before you will get the press command. That being said you need to get it there as fast as possible. I say that because if you bring it down too fast it will take longer to become motionless on your chest. Some people prefer a quick descent, and some prefer a slower descent. It’s important that you get the bar to your chest and MOTIONLESS as fast as possible.

I had the same problem when I started competing in powerlifting. It took me forever to get the bar to my chest. Here’s what helped me.

  1. Board Presses: Make sure you are bringing the weight down as fast as possible. My coaches would yell “bang the board” at me every set.

  2. Bench against band and chains: The chains and bands destabilize the bar and make it harder to control. When the bands and chains are not there you will have better command over the bar.

  3. Practice your technique: You need to get tight under the bar. If it helps have your friends and coaches call out ques when you are setting up. Grip the hell out of the bar, plant your feet, get your arch, and basically make yourself as stiff as a board.

Hopefully this helps.

[quote]Brett295 wrote:
Make sure you are bringing the weight down as fast as possible.
[/quote]
Interesting. I have found the exact opposite works better for me. I also lift USAPL and am truly the worst bencher. But my bench is slightly less worse if I bring the bar down in a very slow and controlled manner as though I am winding up, storing energy for the press.

To me, I feel a lot tighter when I have a slower descent. That being said I would love to bring it down faster if I could stay just as tight. Something to work on I suppose.

As well, a lot of huge lifters have some slow descents. Stan’s recent squat comes to mind.

I have been on both sides of the coin on this and have settled somewhere in the middle.

I will say this though, that you need to be STRONG ENOUGH to bring the bar down slowly regardless of whether or not you choose to do so.

My bench went up considerably once I grasped this concept. I really don’t think it is as important how fast you bring it down as it is being strong enough to actually control the descent.

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
I have been on both sides of the coin on this and have settled somewhere in the middle.

I will say this though, that you need to be STRONG ENOUGH to bring the bar down slowly regardless of whether or not you choose to do so.

My bench went up considerably once I grasped this concept. I really don’t think it is as important how fast you bring it down as it is being strong enough to actually control the descent.

[/quote]

Pretty much this. Find what works for you, but no matter how you do it, make sure you own that weight.

[quote]kpsnap wrote:

[quote]Brett295 wrote:
Make sure you are bringing the weight down as fast as possible.
[/quote]
Interesting. I have found the exact opposite works better for me. I also lift USAPL and am truly the worst bencher. But my bench is slightly less worse if I bring the bar down in a very slow and controlled manner as though I am winding up, storing energy for the press.[/quote]

That was a quote from my suggestions on how to increase the speed of the descent. If your goal is to teach yourself to bring the bar down faster then you have to “make sure you are bringing the bar down as fast as possible” That was a suggestion for board pressing which helped me get the bar to my chest and motionless faster.

My descent was way too slow when I started. It’s still not fast but I can get the press command much faster than I used to.

If a slow descent works for you that’s great. I was just giving suggestions for people that desire a quicker descent.

[quote]N.K. wrote:
Bring it down fast while keeping tight, make sure you stop on the right spot on your chest, and blast it up.

I feel better the faster I move it for the most part, but if I get a little too into it and lose focus at heavier weights or on tougher reps, a quick descent can easily turn into me losing tightness and getting “out of the groove” on the way up, which makes reps harder,

…but personally, I feel that the faster I can lower the bar, the better, as long as I can maintain tightness and control. [/quote]

Command over the load is the critical point.

I go slow. Bringing the bar down slowly keeps me tight and continually tightening, coiling up the spring so that I can explode at the bottom, going slowly and keeping my mind focused and my form good. That’s what goes through my head at least.