T Nation

The J Shape Bench Press Movement


I'm look for more information on arking in the press motion. The J shape press make more sense to me than a straight line like what happen when you are limited by a smith machine bench press. I would like more detail on the theory because I see it more as a D shape movement where one controls a straight drop of the wieght into the lats then press that J shape back over the eyes while flaring out like a bench fly/arnold pres. Maybe I will be able to transfer what I learned to a full body movement pattern.


I just think about pressing the weight back over my shoulders to lock out. It really has to happen to this way unless your elbows are completely flared, otherwise your arms won't be perpendicular to the floor at lockout (and that much more stress will be put on your front delt).

J, D, whatever. Just lockout over your shoulders.


A 'straight drop' of the weight is not ideal for most, because it can result in shoulder impingement and long-term problems. It also increases range of motion. I touch the bar much lower on my torso, which makes the J path more reasonable. Basically, I control the descent in an arc path down to my chest, then on the press, try to get the bar back in a path directly above my shoulder joint as quickly as possible. That's how you end up with the J.


As mentioned, the lower on your body you touch, the shorter the ROM (assuming you arch)

However, the further from vertical the movement the more inefficient it is.

The J shape is a balance of these things, a shortened ROM plus a straight as possible bar path.

Unless you're competing in bench and 10lbs is going to make a difference press however you press as long as it doesn't shag your shoulders.


I have never thought about this one bit while benching. Making a "j" shape seems dangerous to me ... and longer. I do, however, use a serious tuck and arch combo though, so I basically push the bar what feels like away - I try to plaster myself into the bench. The bar may in fact travel in a slight J motion - but I
can't see it in my meet vids and "letters in the alphabet" are the last thing on my mind with PR stuff on the bar. Just git that shit off of me. This is why practice is so important, so I don't have to think so much on game day.


Don't force your body to move one way or the other. Your specific leverages, strengths, and weaknesses will dictate the bar path for the most part, which is fine unless you are doing something totally wrong, e.g. touching extremely low like a geared lifter. Just get stronger.


I liked this article about pressing and the "J" curve. There were some good comments below the article, but those are no longer there, they might be on the facebook comments section, but not sure.

Anyways here it is.