My Top 5 Bench Press Tips
Here's a quick discussion of my favorite bench press tips and cues. Try them out and let me know what you think!
1.) Set Up-
While setting up for your bench press, there are a few things you should keep in mind. For starters, you want to make sure that your set up is consistent across all sets and reps, just like with any other lift. There are lots of different ways to set up for bench press, but they have a few things in common:
digging the top of your shoulders into the bench
setting your butt on the bench at a point as close to your shoulders as possible (creating the arch)
placing the feet flat on the floor in a position that allows for good quad drive. Even if you are a USPA lifter, I maintain that benching with flat feet and employing good leg drive will get you a stronger bench in the long run.
hands are placed on the bar at a distance that is optimal for YOUR levers and strengths. Maxing out grip width is NOT the best choice for everyone. Many very strong benchers use a closer grip. Find the grip that works for you, and use it!
Arching is a controversial topic among lifters. Here's my explanation of how to do it and why it's perfectly safe.
2.) Speaking of quad drive:
I chose the term quad drive carefully here. There should be a specific technique to using your legs. If you just blindly drive with the legs, you will probably waste a lot of extra energy that isn't going towards driving the bar up and back. You may also pop your hips up off the bench if you are driving with the hips too much.
To solve this problem, think about the system as a whole: we want the force coming from the legs to translate through the spine to the chest and arms to drive the bar up (and back, slightly). So it makes sense that rather than driving the hips up, we want to drive backwards (towards your head) with the legs. Think about trying to extend your knee with your feet planted on the ground, as if you are pushing yourself backwards on the bench.
Here's a video explanation for my visual learners: