• christina

Arching In The Bench Press--What You Really Need to Know.

Arching in The Bench Press-What you really need to know.

Written by Strength Coach and State Champion Powerlifter Christina Myers, MS Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention

--with special guest commentary by Dr. Sloan Beard, DC, MS Sports Science and Rehabilitation. (Denoted in pink)

Why the controversy?

If you follow any female powerlifters on social media, chances are you’ve happened across a video of her performing the bench press with an impressive arch. Scroll through the comments section on that same video, and you’re likely to find that a whole team of self-proclaimed “experts” have taken it upon themselves to “help” this strong lady with her form. Nine times out of ten, the “help” comes from guys who barely bench themselves (or admit to not lifting at all!), or are amateur “bodybuilders” who have no real credentials and don’t even train legs.

Let’s review the most common arguments made in these comments and prove the trolls are wrong.

1. It’s “cheating” or “not a full rep.” “It’s not fair girls can arch but guys can’t.”

Firstly, let’s review the rules of powerlifting competition bench press: according to the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF—arguably the strictest and most consistent governing body, comparable to the IOC in the powerlifting world.), a legal bench press requires the feet to be flat on the floor, and the glutes, shoulders, and head to remain on the bench at all times. Maximum grip width is limited to 81 cm (the rings on the bar). The bar must be held by the lifter until the officials give the command to start, come down to the chest and rest there until an official gives the command to start the press, and remain in the locke