The bench press has multiple phases within the movement, and in my latest YouTube video I break down every aspect of each phase to create the optimal bench press technique.
During the setup, I show how we should grip the bar to create better force transfer from the forearm through the wrist to the bar. I look at how elevation creates depression, and how cueing excessive depression can be of detriment. And unlike how we brace on squat and deadlift, I cover how we inhale to expand the ribcage on the bench press to create a “barrel chest” position. There’s even more with the setup though, and that includes the importance of the obliques and how they control the ribcage and increase serratus activation. As well as why you actually can lock your elbows no matter how much you say you can’t, and how over-retracting is leading to your soft elbow position.
For the descent, I break down how the bottom outside of our palm is the “mid foot” of our bench press, and how to control the bar through the proper center of gravity. I bust the myth of “bending the bar” and how we should keep a stacked forearm position under the bar instead through cues such as “break at the elbows” and “drop the elbows to the floor”. As well as explain why we want to bias away from the anterior deltoid as much as possible.
As we come to the pause, I explain how to use leg drive to elevate the rib cage and chest to “stop the bar”, rather than pulling the bar down to you. Soft touch vs. a sink method pause is a debate between many powerlifters, and I detail why I prefer a soft touch bench press and how that will lead to more control and faster press commands come competition time. And lastly, I explain how 3 of my lifters have torn their pecs prior to working with me, and how all 3 of these linked back to the sink and heave method on bench press.
We finish with the press, and honestly that is fairly simple. If everything prior was correct and we loaded tension on the primary movers, the press is just an expression of that built up tension. But, what about “pressing the bar back”? Unfortunately I think your coach yelling back, back, back, back during your 3rd attempt at a meet probably isn’t doing much, and rather you should fix the setup, descent, and pause instead.
And lastly, I cover some universal quick tips for bench press training that I believe will benefit any lifter in improving their training for the better.
Needless to say, I packed a lot of info into this video and hope to make you all better bench pressers because of it! Click the link above to watch!