T Nation

Tate Style Bench Check


hi all, i try to understand where is my weak points on the bench, take a look on my last workout


Over all it doesn't look bad to me. I like your setup, you are very tight, you have a nice arch. But I think you are losing a lot of power because your back needs to be tighter, as does your grip on the bar. When you unrack the bar, your arms just look a little bit wobbly to me, and when you do reps you lose a lot of energy because you are not tight in your upper body. You bring the bar down, touch your chest, and there is a moment where it just wobbles out of a straight path. You need to squeeze your shoulder blades tighter when you set up, and SQUEEZE the bar as hard as you can That way, the power you are getting from driving your legs in and being arched hard and tight will be transferred into the bar. Right now, i feel like you are just too loose in your arms and back and it is making the lifts a lot harder.

Look at the third video especially. The first two reps are pretty easy, because the bar moves in a straight line. But on the third you touch your chest and it wobbles out of a straight path, and you loose a ton of energy correcting. Then the same thing happens on the 4th. You need to squeeze your back harder and try and crush the bar in your hands, and really focus on pressing it in a straight line. I actually find that pause benching helps a lot with this - you learn how to control the bar on the way down, and how to SQUEEZE into the bottom, maintaining tension, and then fire up hard and in a straight line. Learning how to pause bench properly makes touch n go feel so much easier.

So bottom line - tighter back, tighter grip on the bar, and focus on bringing it down and blasting it up in a straight bar path. You do those things, you will significantly improve the amount of energy you are putting into the bar, which will improve your bench.


thanks, i'll lower the weight by 10% and work harder on the things you said.
maybe even try with 1 sec pause for the time been

btw sometimes during the set(and shortly after) i feel a pain in the middle of the back, ideas what can cause that?


Arch envy.

The pain in your back is probably just cramps from having your back so tense throughout the lift.

Also, I don't know that I agree with the way "benching in a straight line" is being described here. Your first two reps worked because you pressed back towards your chin as you came of the chest. That allows for the most motor units to engage in a bench press. You don't want to flare too much, but pressing in an arc tends to be easier for most people than pressing straight up, even if you have to move the bar over a slightly greater distance.


This x1000


Let me add that the advice NK gave you is excellent advice for the eccentric portion of the lift.

I also think you could use more leg drive. It looks like it's there on the first rep of the third video, but just barely. If you really are getting good drive, your heels would be moving toward the ground on every rep.


@ heavy triple

I would agree with you. "straight line" isn't really the right way of describing it, because you are right, pressing back toward the rack makes for a stronger lift. That was a bad choice of words. I just meant that, when he touches his chest, he is loose and a little out of the groove, and that "wobble" as he starts pressing up is costing him a lot of energy. The bar path doesn't need to be straight, but it needs to be smoother and more consistent than it it is I think.


I thought that was what you meant...just wanted to make sure OP didn't get confused by that wording. They did used to preach against pressing back at Westside, after all.


Do they still? I was actually curious about that recently. If there were still two camps on bench press bar path or if everyone kinda does the press up in a "j" now.


never got the straight line thing, bc I'd NEVER see it. Here's WS and louie at the bench without straight lines http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVGJInBJoh0


I manage to apply all except one - after one rep i couldn't keep my shoulder blades together.
i guess it happens during the first push that the shoulder blades lose their distance.
even due the upper back remain tight.
is it something that the push cause it?