The best way to improve your bench pressing skill, yes I said SKILL.
The bench press is a technique as much as it is a grunt movement.
You need to be in a position so that when bench pressing you have a good foundation and that you can make progression and not injure yourself.
So you can make strength gains for years to come without getting a ruptured pectoral muscle or the dreaded bench press shoulder aka AC joint pain and inflammation.
- Foundation – Feet, Back
- Shoulders –
- Elbows –
- Wrist and Bar
- Hip Drive
You need to have your feet pressed hard against the floor so that your legs and but are flexed and your back is slightly arched. This will give you a strong “bow like” arch and foundation so that you can use leg drive. Without a rigid, flexed and taught foundation you will not feel strong.
Your shoulder blades need to be squeezed together during the bench press, this will assure that you do not injure your Acromioclavicular (AC joint). As you get under the bar, use your feet to press your body back underneath the bar, your body is entire flexed, your chest is up, your feet are pressed down hard, your butt is flexed and your shoulder blades are pressed together hard!
After you are under the bar and tight you need to unpack the bar, this is best done without pushing your shoulders out of their tight and pinched position. So don’t rack the bar too high where its hard to get off the rack and you need to stretch. You want the bar an inch lower rather than an inch too high where you have to struggle to get the bar off the rack.
Your elbows need to stay closer to your body, this allows to take the stress off of your pectorals and move the weight into your deltoids and triceps. This will keep you from rupturing a pec, ask me how I know. Also it takes the shearing affect off of your AC joint.
Wrist and Bar
Make sure the bar is centered before you unpack the bar, use your fingers to measure the gaps between the bar and the rack, make sure it is evenly spaced on both sides.
Wrist need to be straight, no bent wrist. Squeeze the bar as hard as you can, this allows your body to activate more muscle fibers and stimulate your nervous system for the maximum effort lift.
Try to bend the bar down towards your hips, this will allow for some lat activation which can be helpful.
You want to let the weight down fast but totally controlled, once the bar is on your chest you want to push with your legs and hips which will allow the momentum and energy to propel the bar up. This starts with a strong flexed and rigid foundation. Also make sure to keep your shoulders tight along with everything else in your body when pressing and using hip drive. Try to keep your butt on the bench at all times.
There are tons of great powerlifters who have tutorials on YouTube about how to set up for powerlifting bench press, so check them out and put two and two together!
The reason I recommend the powerlifting bench press is due to the high risk of injury people have from bench pressing the bodybuilding style which is great for your pecs but high risk of injury.
If you want to build your pecs stick with heavy dumbbell chest presses, dips, and cable flys for isolation.
Contact me below if you would like individualized help.