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View Full Version : Bench technique, kind of confused



BFGUITAR
10-09-2007, 10:21 AM
Ive the idea of benching... arch in back, shoulder blades tight and back... Im confused about feet placement.

I used the search function and found two different opinions. One person said to keep your feet as close to your body as possible, and back. The other said keep them wide and back.

As well, im confused about the whole "elbows in" idea. Ive tryed to keep my elbows in and 135 felt like a ton... perhaps I was doing something wrong.

Can someone please shed some of your wisdom on the subject?

drew
10-09-2007, 10:32 AM
You need to keep working with the elbows in and getting the bar low. It's not something that comes right away, but once you get it, your bench will improve.

You need to find what works for you as far as foot placement. You should keep your heels on the ground while pressing and use your legs to drive your shoulders and upper back into the bench.

BigMoses
10-09-2007, 11:30 AM
I'm really going to toss a wrench in the works, lol, I bench with feet elevated - as in completely off the floor!

When the back is arched, and the feet tucked the overall ROM changes from a truly flat exercise to a mild decline exerise. By removing your feet from the floor your lower back can be pushed on the bench offering greater support and a less likely change to strain the muscles of the lower back.

I still tuck shoulder blades - its essential for balance.

My grip is basically as far as I can comfortably go.

This style of bench can be much harder due to the lack of help from the legs.

benchaholic777
10-09-2007, 11:33 AM
I would stay with the elbows in as well, if you work close grip bench into your work out the elbows in will get easier.

bill
10-09-2007, 11:40 AM
BigMoses that won't help him learn to bench as a powerlifter.

BigMoses
10-09-2007, 11:42 AM
BigMoses that won't help him learn to bench as a powerlifter.

OH HELL - my bad! I didnt see this was a PL forum . . . hey every newbie gets one, lol. Thanks bro :)

ZYL281
10-09-2007, 12:38 PM
there is a great article on bench technique on tnation. any gotta link to that? it would definetly help BFGUITAR

redFury
10-09-2007, 01:58 PM
I think that keeping my feet about shoulder width apart allows me to arch much harder. I've also been given this advice from a former IPF bencher from overseas that I think hit a 185kg @75kg bw... so it might be worth something to at least try keeping your feet more in.

Edit: the 185kg lift was RAW, btw

Leeman
10-09-2007, 02:10 PM
tucking your elbows how your probably doing it is for shirted lifters. They dont have to bring thier elbows as low so they have less distance to pull the bar down to thier chest and thier elbows are pointed twards thier feet so the bar can touch lower.

For raw benching try to break the bar by turning your right pointer finger knuckle clock wise and your left pointer finger knuckle counter clockwise.

Yoru elbows will naturaly slightly suck. It will also have to do with how far apart your hands are. With a super wide grip your elbows will still be stuck out prety far away from your body.

I read a good rule is to keep your elbows 45degrees from your body. So find a grip that makes it so your forearms are straight up in the air at the bottom of the lift and that has your elbows at no more than 50 degree's from your body.

Trying to break the bar will make up for the 5 degrees I think.


Foot placement is up to you. I keep my feet way back and stay on my toes more or less. I do this because my leg drive will make my ass come off the bench. And it puts you in a natural arch.

Before you start the lift squeeze your glutes hamstrings quads back and get the biggiest belly, not chest, belly of air that you can and hold it. Then push with your legs so that your ass is aaaaaalllmost off the bench but its still touching and all the weight is on your traps. Now your in a good arch. Squeeze the bar and try to break it, keep flexing everything, touch and press.

Get Strong
10-09-2007, 03:02 PM
tucking your elbows how your probably doing it is for shirted lifters. They dont have to bring thier elbows as low so they have less distance to pull the bar down to thier chest and thier elbows are pointed twards thier feet so the bar can touch lower.

For raw benching try to break the bar by turning your right pointer finger knuckle clock wise and your left pointer finger knuckle counter clockwise.

Yoru elbows will naturaly slightly suck. It will also have to do with how far apart your hands are. With a super wide grip your elbows will still be stuck out prety far away from your body.

I read a good rule is to keep your elbows 45degrees from your body. So find a grip that makes it so your forearms are straight up in the air at the bottom of the lift and that has your elbows at no more than 50 degree's from your body.

Trying to break the bar will make up for the 5 degrees I think.


Foot placement is up to you. I keep my feet way back and stay on my toes more or less. I do this because my leg drive will make my ass come off the bench. And it puts you in a natural arch.

Before you start the lift squeeze your glutes hamstrings quads back and get the biggiest belly, not chest, belly of air that you can and hold it. Then push with your legs so that your ass is aaaaaalllmost off the bench but its still touching and all the weight is on your traps. Now your in a good arch. Squeeze the bar and try to break it, keep flexing everything, touch and press.

Thats pretty much how I bench also.

Remember to not think of pressing the weight during the lift.........think as if your trying to push yourself through the bench.

RhodeHouse
10-09-2007, 06:34 PM
Read Sebastian Burns' article on bench set-up on Metalmiitia.net

Even if you're on your toes, try to drive your heels to the ground. More stability and more power.

BFGUITAR
10-09-2007, 07:00 PM
Hey guys, I just came back from a ME upper day.

During the warmups I did what you guys were saying, and I think bringing the feet in rather than out helps me. Im still working on the whole "pretend your being the bar" thing. I find if my elbows are in too much its all tricep while if theyre out its all chest.. there must be a good balance. Perhaps during one part of the lift its mostly chest and the other tricep?

I loaded up 185 and asked a guy to spot me. I unracked and brought it down in a controlled manner. It hit my chest and I proceeded to push with all my strength. My sticking point the last time I tried was about 2 inches above my chest. This time, I made it A LOT further. At this point the bar kind of paused... I kept pushing and after a good 3 seconds the bar came up, ths bringing my max bench to a measly 185 :)

Because it came up so slowly, im thinking im going to match it next ME day... what do you think?

RhodeHouse
10-09-2007, 07:07 PM
No, don't match it. There's no sense in doing the same thing again. Change the exercise or shoot for a 5RM or 3RM.

Also, on the Metal Militia site, read Sebastian Burns' article on bench technique. Actually, read all of his articles. There 4-5 of them. Great info on benching from some of the best in the world.

Ryano
10-11-2007, 06:58 AM
Also, on the Metal Militia site, read Sebastian Burns' article on bench technique. Actually, read all of his articles. There 4-5 of them. Great info on benching from some of the best in the world.

I absolutely agree. If at all possible, go to one of the MM seminars by either Burns or Crawford. Well worth the money if you intend on competing in a bench shirt.

smokinHawk
10-11-2007, 07:17 AM
for feet placement i have been trying to get them wide and flat footed.
by widening your feet placement it will force your butt to stay on the bench, with doing this i have been trying to pull my arch closer/higher, and putting all my body weight on my traps to develop all the power i can. I still need to learn to push more with my heels to as people have been suggesting to me.

that is one reason why people place there feet wide, it might help you or might not.

teenathlete3030
10-14-2007, 09:55 PM
How come for powerlifting they say to have a big arched back, elbows in, feet back, etc....
but for just about any sports testing you can find they require that you have a flat back and no arch. Some claim it's bad for the spine, but powerlifters don't seem to have an issue with it?

drew
10-15-2007, 06:14 AM
Arch back = shorter ROM = more weight.

Most powerlifters have a strong back and strong abs which help support the spine.

Chubrock
10-15-2007, 07:38 AM
PLers ain't in it for their health. If they were, you wouldn't see any lifts over 1pps.

LevesqueIsKing
10-23-2007, 07:12 AM
Arch back = shorter ROM = more weight.

Most powerlifters have a strong back and strong abs which help support the spine.
Wait, so you're telling me that arching your back is virtually equal to just cutting down your rom? So if I'm lifting to gain muscle, and not to compete, I should keep my back on the bench?

smokinHawk
10-23-2007, 07:43 AM
more weight on the bar gains muscle.

krboyd7
10-23-2007, 08:20 AM
I keep my back flat on the bench,knees bent 90* and feet flat on the floor. The bar comes down(slowly), just above my nipples and goes up again.
No arch
No bouncing

LevesqueIsKing
10-23-2007, 09:15 AM
more weight on the bar gains muscle.
To a certain extent. Sitting there holding a Barbell with 3pps isn't going to help anything.

But what you're saying is that I should continue arching if I can get more weight? Sounds good to me because I love arching rather than having a flat back :)

BFGUITAR
10-23-2007, 11:51 AM
Arching seems to be a lot more comfortable. Having a flat back seems very unstable.

LevesqueIsKing
10-23-2007, 01:01 PM
^Seconded.

If I'm just laying there on the bench it feels like my muscles aren't flexing, but I can feel myself doing the work when I arch my back.

drew
10-23-2007, 01:09 PM
Wait, so you're telling me that arching your back is virtually equal to just cutting down your rom? So if I'm lifting to gain muscle, and not to compete, I should keep my back on the bench?

The last time I checked lifting heavier weights makes you stronger. Why wouldn't you want to lift the most weight possible?

LevesqueIsKing
10-23-2007, 01:12 PM
^Again, to an extent.

You need to find a good balance between weight and rom. Like I said in response to a similar post, what I am doing right now is more effective than holding 3pps and not being able to move it more than an inch.

I just wanted to make sure that arch+less rom>flat+full rom, which I've now learned is true.

Tru Texan
11-05-2007, 09:51 AM
I think this guys says that powerlifters want to use all muscle. Thats why they arch back and point elbows in, whereas bodybuilders want to Isolate Pec Major. Is this true? (I just want big chest thats very stong...how do I get that)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTAYAl4g7HE

BFGUITAR
11-05-2007, 12:24 PM
Look at a heavy PLer's chest and tell me its not huge... It speaks for itself.

To tell you the truth... For a year my bench went up maybe 30 pounds or so from 110-140. IN A YEAR. That is pathetic. I did improve with my DB bench but that doesnt cross over very well. I didnt know how to target my chest using a BB. Now that my back is arched, I can actually feel it A LOT more in my chest than usual. In a month my bench went up the same it has throughout the year.

Jorge Sanchez
11-05-2007, 03:58 PM
I've just started experimenting with tucked elbows as well. I think I usually bench with very flared arms. My shoulders have been really bugging me when benching lately and I'm pretty sure it has to do with my excessive flare. I can only keep tucking my elbows up to about 75% of my 1RM. Anything higher and I naturally revert to the flare.

arnoldsclone
11-05-2007, 05:41 PM
I've just started experimenting with tucked elbows as well. I think I usually bench with very flared arms. My shoulders have been really bugging me when benching lately and I'm pretty sure it has to do with my excessive flare. I can only keep tucking my elbows up to about 75% of my 1RM. Anything higher and I naturally revert to the flare.

that's weird isn't it lol, i always think about going to elbows in on the bench and then think to myself, wait i'll look like wuss with less weight........

deeder
11-05-2007, 06:08 PM
that's weird isn't it lol, i always think about going to elbows in on the bench and then think to myself, wait i'll look like wuss with less weight........

Drop the ego. You'll stay healthy(ish) a lot longer that way.

Rusty
11-05-2007, 06:42 PM
Drop the ego. You'll stay healthy(ish) a lot longer that way.

:withstupi:

Your shoulders will thank you.

Indifference
11-05-2007, 10:41 PM
you'll also eventually be able to do heavier weights.

I benched with elbows out until i developed a shoulder problem and started tucking and for the first few months it was difficult b/c i would revert to flared if it got heavy... but eventually youll see you will be a lot more stable with them tucked and therefore you can put up heavier weight