T Nation

Stronger With Less of an Arch

I have been benching with an arch for the last 3 out of 4 years of my training. I always make my arch as big as possible, and squeeze my shoulder blades together as hard as I can, like a typical powerlifter would. The other night however, I only used a slight arch, and squeezed my shoulder blades together a moderate amount. It felt much more natural, and I was much much stronger.

Has anyone else experienced this?

I bench raw by the way.

If you have been lifting for a long time. You could be using different leverages depending on your set-up.

I have noticed that when at a lighter body weight if I do not arch my bench goes right too hell. However, if I am at a heavier bodyweight (about 20lbs more) then I generally do not have to arch as hard. Weak point? I think so…

Bench whichever way is the strongest, and remember what Dave Tate said… “You’re not purple enough” it shouldn’t be comfortable.

If you were much stronger doing it with less arch, then there you go. If you’re already experimenting, try moving your grip in or out a finger’s width each side and see if you can press more in a different position. Everyone has slightly different leverages.

My last meet I changed my arch to significantly less and I had a much easier time with things and was able to get a lot more leg drive. I also moved my grip in a few fingers with better results and between the two I’m thinking this is what will work for me, at least for now.

[quote]Brian14 wrote:
I have been benching with an arch for the last 3 out of 4 years of my training. I always make my arch as big as possible, and squeeze my shoulder blades together as hard as I can, like a typical powerlifter would. The other night however, I only used a slight arch, and squeezed my shoulder blades together a moderate amount. It felt much more natural, and I was much much stronger.

Has anyone else experienced this?[/quote]

I have always benched with only a slight arch, because I am benching to make my body stronger- as opposed to benching to take advantage of a loophole in powerlifting rules that lets you arch as much as possible as long as your ass and shoulder blades touch the bench. It’s interesting that you were stronger with only a slight arch. I’ll have to mention that to some of my friends who make themselves into U-shapes, thinking it gives them an edge. It seems like the arch takes away strength and then the short pressing distance makes up for it a little.

Also, I’ve sat in the audiences in meets and heard people who weren’t even weightlifters, say stuff to one another along the lines of “I bet that pussy couldn’t lift anything if he laid flat on the bench”. I wouldn’t want people saying that about me!

I raw bench 335 at 198 lbs., and I will be reaching 405 without looking like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. That’s a promise!

My arch is rather small. Neither unreasonable nor unheard of.

OP, do you have relatively short arms? IME the guys who seem to really use a ‘big’ arch are those with longer arms and aren’t very barrel chested. I’m just curious.

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
OP, do you have relatively short arms? IME the guys who seem to really use a ‘big’ arch are those with longer arms and aren’t very barrel chested. I’m just curious.[/quote]

I’m pretty thick and have stubby arms but I still love a huge arch. My ROM is like 7 inches as a result. No rule available cause everyone is individual!

[quote]arramzy wrote:

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
OP, do you have relatively short arms? IME the guys who seem to really use a ‘big’ arch are those with longer arms and aren’t very barrel chested. I’m just curious.[/quote]

I’m pretty thick and have stubby arms but I still love a huge arch. My ROM is like 7 inches as a result. No rule available cause everyone is individual![/quote]

Haha I knew when I posted this someone would immediately come and prove me wrong. lol

I’ve changed my foot position. Flat feet instead of on my toes. My arch is pretty much the same, maybe a little less than it was before, but I get a lot more leg drive out of it. I’ve also moved my grip in a finger, which feels better once the weights start getting heavier.

CS

If less arch works for you, sweet, do it.

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:

[quote]arramzy wrote:

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
OP, do you have relatively short arms? IME the guys who seem to really use a ‘big’ arch are those with longer arms and aren’t very barrel chested. I’m just curious.[/quote]

I’m pretty thick and have stubby arms but I still love a huge arch. My ROM is like 7 inches as a result. No rule available cause everyone is individual![/quote]

Haha I knew when I posted this someone would immediately come and prove me wrong. lol[/quote]

I will be the second dissenter and say that as a guy with ridicuously long arms (about 6’9" from finger tip to finger tip) I am a MUCH stronger bencher without an arch.

My partial movements are much less than my full ROM bench (pin presses for example) so I get nothing from taking away the ROM. Im actually pretty explosive off my chest due to years of playing real sports that actually require athleticism (sorry guys PL definitely doesn’t count as “athletic”). I thnk this explosiveness helps me get the bar moving fast enough that I can press through the midway sticking point, whereas with the shorter ROM i lose all of that.

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:
I’ve changed my foot position. Flat feet instead of on my toes. My arch is pretty much the same, maybe a little less than it was before, but I get a lot more leg drive out of it. I’ve also moved my grip in a finger, which feels better once the weights start getting heavier.

CS[/quote]

This. I used to bench pinky on the rings, on the toes and with a somewhat large arch (that I couldn’t keep for the life of me). All this did was tear my shoulder up and make my bench regress. I’m doing much better with thumbs from smooth, flat footed and a small, tight arch.

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:

[quote]arramzy wrote:

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
OP, do you have relatively short arms? IME the guys who seem to really use a ‘big’ arch are those with longer arms and aren’t very barrel chested. I’m just curious.[/quote]

I’m pretty thick and have stubby arms but I still love a huge arch. My ROM is like 7 inches as a result. No rule available cause everyone is individual![/quote]

Haha I knew when I posted this someone would immediately come and prove me wrong. lol[/quote]

I will be the second dissenter and say that as a guy with ridicuously long arms (about 6’9" from finger tip to finger tip) I am a MUCH stronger bencher without an arch.

My partial movements are much less than my full ROM bench (pin presses for example) so I get nothing from taking away the ROM. Im actually pretty explosive off my chest due to years of playing real sports that actually require athleticism (sorry guys PL definitely doesn’t count as “athletic”). I thnk this explosiveness helps me get the bar moving fast enough that I can press through the midway sticking point, whereas with the shorter ROM i lose all of that.[/quote]
LOL never really had problems off the chest either

[quote]gorangers0525 wrote:

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:
I’ve changed my foot position. Flat feet instead of on my toes. My arch is pretty much the same, maybe a little less than it was before, but I get a lot more leg drive out of it. I’ve also moved my grip in a finger, which feels better once the weights start getting heavier.

CS[/quote]

This. I used to bench pinky on the rings, on the toes and with a somewhat large arch (that I couldn’t keep for the life of me). All this did was tear my shoulder up and make my bench regress. I’m doing much better with thumbs from smooth, flat footed and a small, tight arch. [/quote]

I actually just made some more adjustments to my set up today. I went with my pinkies on the rings instead to see how it would feel on my bum shoulder. I hit a PR with no shoulder pain, so whatever works. I’m thinking that this will be my regular grip from now on. Also got a lot more tricep involvement out of it.

CS

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:

[quote]gorangers0525 wrote:

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:
I’ve changed my foot position. Flat feet instead of on my toes. My arch is pretty much the same, maybe a little less than it was before, but I get a lot more leg drive out of it. I’ve also moved my grip in a finger, which feels better once the weights start getting heavier.

CS[/quote]

This. I used to bench pinky on the rings, on the toes and with a somewhat large arch (that I couldn’t keep for the life of me). All this did was tear my shoulder up and make my bench regress. I’m doing much better with thumbs from smooth, flat footed and a small, tight arch. [/quote]

I actually just made some more adjustments to my set up today. I went with my pinkies on the rings instead to see how it would feel on my bum shoulder. I hit a PR with no shoulder pain, so whatever works. I’m thinking that this will be my regular grip from now on. Also got a lot more tricep involvement out of it.

CS[/quote]
slowly migrating towards CG I see

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:

[quote]gorangers0525 wrote:

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:
I’ve changed my foot position. Flat feet instead of on my toes. My arch is pretty much the same, maybe a little less than it was before, but I get a lot more leg drive out of it. I’ve also moved my grip in a finger, which feels better once the weights start getting heavier.

CS[/quote]

This. I used to bench pinky on the rings, on the toes and with a somewhat large arch (that I couldn’t keep for the life of me). All this did was tear my shoulder up and make my bench regress. I’m doing much better with thumbs from smooth, flat footed and a small, tight arch. [/quote]

I actually just made some more adjustments to my set up today. I went with my pinkies on the rings instead to see how it would feel on my bum shoulder. I hit a PR with no shoulder pain, so whatever works. I’m thinking that this will be my regular grip from now on. Also got a lot more tricep involvement out of it.

CS[/quote]
slowly migrating towards CG I see[/quote]

Lol Jeremy Hoornstra swagg.

CS

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:

[quote]gorangers0525 wrote:

[quote]CSEagles1694 wrote:
I’ve changed my foot position. Flat feet instead of on my toes. My arch is pretty much the same, maybe a little less than it was before, but I get a lot more leg drive out of it. I’ve also moved my grip in a finger, which feels better once the weights start getting heavier.

CS[/quote]

This. I used to bench pinky on the rings, on the toes and with a somewhat large arch (that I couldn’t keep for the life of me). All this did was tear my shoulder up and make my bench regress. I’m doing much better with thumbs from smooth, flat footed and a small, tight arch. [/quote]

I actually just made some more adjustments to my set up today. I went with my pinkies on the rings instead to see how it would feel on my bum shoulder. I hit a PR with no shoulder pain, so whatever works. I’m thinking that this will be my regular grip from now on. Also got a lot more tricep involvement out of it.

CS[/quote]
slowly migrating towards CG I see[/quote]

Lol Jeremy Hoornstra swagg.

CS[/quote]
I gotzit

Whenever I arch as much as possible, my back cramps up, so I tend to arch just enough to create a stable base, and stop it there.