29 Aug Just Learn How To Bench – Part 2
Just Learn How to Bench – Part 2
In part 1, I explained each step to building a better bench press. Now, as promised, I’m going to show you video from my last competition and explain what I did right and what I did wrong.
I have one last point before I stir jealousy by showing you how good I look in a singlet.
Arching your back while benching is often frowned upon in some fitness/strength and conditioning circles. There are even some self- proclaimed “purist” weekend warriors who will say that “it’s cheating to arch your back because you don’t have to lower the bar as much.”
Assuming these critics even touch their chest when bench pressing, I would respectively respond by telling them to shut the hell up. My rebuttal, while admittedly not eloquently put, is based on two arguments.
1. My post was about increasing the weight on the bar. So I explained how to use all that is at your disposal in achieving this. That means using your entire body to complete the lift. If you find a more efficient way to leverage your body without arching your back to meet the bar with your chest/belly, by all means tell me.
2. If you are using the bench press to develop max upper body strength, which was the intent of the post, it does not matter if you are using full range of motion and proper mechanics. It is about hoisting the weight with as much force as possible.
These videos are of my competing in a bench press shirt. Does it change how you perform the lift? Short answer, yes. Despite this, the best raw bench pressers still use the technique that I have described.
This was my second attempt in my most recent competition:
Although I completed the lift, it did not count. If you look closely the bar starts going back down in the middle of the lift. It was slight and I reversed it but it was too late.
Why did this happen?
If you look closely, when I start to press the weight my chest caves in slightly. This affected the lift by changing my mechanics. Because I didn’t keep my chest up and meet the bar, I wasn’t able to drive my heels as effectively and “hoist” the weight up.
Now watch my third attempt:
From the very start I pushed my chest/belly up to meet the bar. I also was able to tuck my elbows better in this lift and use my heel drive to hoist the weight up.
This was my fourth attempt:
I did a couple of things wrong on this. The most obvious being that my chest caves before the bar even touches my chest. My elbows also flared out during the lift. I did do one thing right though. My legs were set very tight and I had good heel drive.
How do I know?
Well, because of the way I limp off and kick my leg back like a middle school girl doing a baton twirling routine. My hamstring cramped. If you are flexing your legs as hard as you should, sometimes it happens.
One more point I’d like to make. I lift my head off of the bench when I lower the bar to my chest. I would advise against this. You can strain your neck in the process.
Have any other tips for bench pressing or a story you want to share? Leave it in the comments.