Bench pressing is the exercise most often associated with lifting weights at a “normal” gym. When you tell friends, family, or coworkers that you lift the next thing out of their mouths is usually “how much you bench?” It’s a seemingly simple exercise, we’ve all tried it, or seen someone else trying it, but as with everything we do, minding the details, and working to improve technique will yield results. Here are a few things to think about while separating bar from bench.
Lengthen the chain. Our chest, arms and shoulders are the primary movers in the bench press. We can incorporate more of our bodies and extend the kinetic chain by staying solid with our feet pressed into the floor, hips and shoulders into the bench. Failure to keep feet on the floor, a tight belly, squeezed butt, or shoulders pinned back will break the chain, and make the lift more difficult.
Put the bar in its place. When bench pressing the bar is directly in our field of vision for part of the lift. This is not typically the case with many of the lifts we practice, and we can benefit from it. With the weight locked out, take a mental picture of the bar against the ceiling. Now you’ve got a target. Hit the target with every rep.
Break the bar. Just like keeping our knees out, externally rotating our hips, as we squat, or pull from the ground, externally rotating our shoulders as we press up in the bench press adds torque, and helps us move more weight. You know what happens if your knees come in during a squat. Snap the bar in half and finish the lift.
April 26, 2011
Bench Press 3-3-3-3-3
20 Double Unders
10 Pistols, alternating legs
5 Clean and Jerks (60kg/45kg)