Bench form check

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by DrBdan, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    Hey folks, here is my bench. Comments are appreciated.

    - how's my arch?
    - foot position and leg drive - I don't think I'm getting much (if any) leg drive, should my feet be further back beneath me?
    - just how much does my gym's music suck?

    175x1, 195x1


    145x5


    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  2. cheez whiz

    cheez whiz Brown Belt

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    Nice PR!

    I'm not a bench expert by any means, and I'm fine with anyone contradicting me on this, but one thing I noticed that you did that I had to work on was that your feet weren't flat on the floor. I'm not sure that there's a major disadvantage to being up on the balls of your feet like you were, but in raw competition, feet must be flat, and watching Dave Tate bench, his feet were flat to the floor.

    That's my two cents.
     
  3. toonie

    toonie Tuesday

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    I am no expert on the bench and I am currently working on trying to incorporate more leg drive. However, the other day at the gym, I was given some real time tips by a guy on my bench form. Most of these tips are mentioned by Tate, but I found that the mental cues really helped.

    I used to get out onto my toes like you too because I thought it helped me more with an arch. However, it was recommended I try it flat footed and I feel like I can really feel more leg drive by slamming my heels into the floor.

    I was also recommended about using a mental cue of slamming my upper back into the bench, and think less about pressing the weight off your chest (I think Tate mentions this too).

    Overall, the guy really advocated to me was to really push my heels into the ground and my back into the bench even before unracking the weight. I had never been so uncomfortable on the bench before and the next couple days I had some pretty intense DOMS in my upper back (I think Tate says this is usually what a guy will experience when he starts benching correctly).

    Also, that press looked pretty easy for you. I'm sure once you perfect your form with more leg drive, it'll only get easier.
     
  4. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    I was about to post this in your log, but since you created a thread it's better to post it here in case there are any disagreements with my advice. I'm not a bench expect by any means either, but I have been spending quite a bit of time on my bench form to accommodate for my bad shoulder lately.


    Overall the form looks very good. The bar path looks ok, the elbows are not too flared, you have good overall tightness.

    For once I wouldn't go for a bench 1RM without a spotter. In any case, if you don't get a lift off, then get your head closer to the hooks so you don't lose too much of your upper back setup. A lot closer at that.

    Your arch is good, no reason to try to arch more in your lumbar spine. Concentrate on creating a better arch in your thoracic spine (if possible).

    As a starting point I would place my feet slightly wider apart to give you a better base. I would start playing around with narrower stances only if for some reason the medium stance didn't work for me.

    Instead of driving the balls of your feet into the ground, drive your heels into the ground. If you use a stance like this, where the heels are off the ground, then you should do your best to drive your heels into the ground (even if they never touch the ground). Personally I use a setup where my heels are just an inch or two off the ground but still close enough that when I push they touch the ground.

    Based on your setup for 195, it looks like you can get better upper back tightness in your setup. After getting your feet and body position in place make sure you retract your scapulae as much as possible (try pushing against the loaded bar or against the stands). At this point your scapulae should feel "stuck" on the bench, as in they are really retracted and don't move. When you engage the leg drive, your should feel your arch being reinforced and you should feel some extra tension on your scapulae (it's like as if you are pushing your body upwards in reference to the bench, but your scapulae stay stuck on the same position).
     
  5. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    I think how far you have your feet back and your arch are being limited by the bench being too low (as in too close to the ground, not weight wise, just to be clear). Is there another bench you can use, or can you raise that one somehow? Like putting it on top of weight plates or something? Also, +1 on the upper back tightness.

    And your gym's music is irredeemable. Have you considered moving so that you can go to a better gym?

    *EDIT*
    Is your gym carpeted?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  6. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    Thanks for the feedback guys, sounds like the biggest thing is my foot placement followed by upper back tightness. I've never been happy with the foot placement so it's definitely a work in progress. Believe it or not I used to setup even lower on the bench which made getting anything near my 1RM out of the rack pretty tough. I'll try moving up a bit more.

    Tosa, that's the only bench I can use. think I'll try putting my feet further in front and pushing like Dave Tate recommends in his latest bench vid and if I can't get that to work I'll think about putting weights under the bench to make it higher. As if I don't get enough weird looks for taking video of my lifts, setting up for bench and deadlifting with chalk. And yeah the gym is carpeted but it's just carpet over concrete so it's a stable surface (there's no soft underpadding like you'd have in a house). That's why I deadlift on mats (there's a vid in my log).
     
  7. rckvl

    rckvl Blue Belt

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    Depends on the federation, some require feet flat, some allow you to be on your toes.

    I prefer my feet to be rather far back and on my toes, I can get a decent arch, everything feels tighter, and I don't have as much trouble keeping my ass on the bench.
     
  8. YetiFeet

    YetiFeet Guest

    I agree that it looks like you could get tighter in your upper back. The biggest challenge for me is maintaining my scapular retraction throughout my set; I need to be thinking about it pretty much the whole time or my shoulders start slipping apart by rep 3 or 4.

    Also (don't know if it was mentioned before) but from what I understand you don't really need to have your heels on the ground but (in the foot tucked position you have) you should be trying to drive your heels into the ground to transfer pressure onto your retracted shoulders.

    I'm not bench expert either though, but that's my two cents
     
  9. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    If your not getting weird looks at that sort of gym, you're doing it wrong. Add glute bridges to really make people think "wtf fuck is that matter with him?".
     
  10. PCP

    PCP Guest

    Your set-up is terrible, read this... It's the holy grail of how to set up for the bench press, from the best benchers in the game

     

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