View Full Version : Attention bench coaches! Need some advice

10-21-2008, 09:09 PM
My bench has been steadily going up but it is FAR from good or even mediocre. There seems to be a problem with my technique... While benching my right side is closer to my head than the left. Basically the bar hits my body on an angle (not vertically, but horizontally along the plane of my body). I asked this person to watch me and I focused on bringing it down straight and when I did, I felt it A LOT more in my left tricep. Now I can't always have someone watching me and I wanted to know, whats a good way to fix this problem? Could I be tucking one side more/less than the other?

I will try to get a video but I could use some advice if you guys have any.

10-21-2008, 09:19 PM
I once had a training partner who benched with the bar uneven. It was because he had a shoulder problem and was overcompensating for the weak shoulder.

10-21-2008, 09:38 PM
I don't think I have that problem. For military press my arms push pretty evenly. Perhaps maybe my setup is uneven and as a result one side compensated for the other?

10-21-2008, 09:51 PM
I don't think I have that problem. For military press my arms push pretty evenly.

I wouldn't let performance on military presses necessarily rule out shoulder issues. When my shoulder is bothering me, I typically don't feel it on military but still feel it while benching. But everybody is different, just keep in mind that benching and military use shoulders differently, and one can cause shoulder issues but not the other. At least that's my experience.

Eric Downey
10-21-2008, 10:29 PM
Make sure your even on the bench first. This may be the problem in itself. Then takes vids of your lifts and make sure that you are thinking about keeping the bar straight.

Also do you do this just with heavy weight or with any weight?

10-21-2008, 10:42 PM
This happens with any weight. Next time I bench I will take a video.

Any other thoughts?

10-22-2008, 06:09 AM
The main question is this. Were you stronger or weaker when you focused on keeping the bar perpendicular to your body? If you felt weaker, I wouldn't worry too much. There are plenty of guys who bench big with the bar a bit uneven. I can do a raw 525 and usually my right arm is lower/better tucked than my left. Lattimer benches the same way to an exaggeration because of shoulder issues he has. I wouldn't worry about it unless you felt stronger when the bar was perfectly straight.

10-22-2008, 06:54 AM
How are your scapula retractors, lats, and traps?
I had the exact same issue but it was keeping me from making gains. I went to a chiro to get it checked out i ncase there was some underlying issue with my shoulder. He said it was jsut muscle imbalances being the biggest factor so I had to strengthen those (he gave me some specific exercises). That was close to a year ago I think and my bench has been climbing ever since, taking away a small time when I focused on overhead for strongman.

10-22-2008, 01:58 PM
I am definately stronger with the unevenness but than again, that makes sense considering that is how I have been benching for a while. I am sure it is better for me to be straight.

Reko what were the exercises? And which side was weaker?

11-10-2008, 06:07 PM
I need your never ending wisdom!

Have any of you been shaky under the bar before? I can do 205x3 which is a bit shaky but when I do say 135 my arms are still shaky and I don't know why. Could it possibly be my setup? I will video tape myself next bench session. But for now, I wanted to know if you of you have witnessed/experienced this and how you solved the problem.

Jorge Sanchez
11-10-2008, 07:10 PM
You could be a little loosey goosey on the bench. How do you set up?

11-10-2008, 08:09 PM
I lie on the bench with my head hanging off the bench and than with my feet planted I push myself towards my legs to form an arch while pushing from my legs so that my upper back gets pushed into the bench. Than I'm done lol.

11-11-2008, 09:46 AM
I lie on the bench with my head hanging off the bench

I shouldn't really be giving advice b/c I'm still a beginner but I think this might be the reason why you're wobbly. I keep my neck/traps extremely tight. Try keeping your head on the bench, and use your head/neck to push down into the padding.

11-11-2008, 11:34 AM
I think his head is only off the bench while getting into his setup. His head will be on or above the bench while actually benching. Correct me if I'm wrong, BFG.

How about a vid of you benching?

11-11-2008, 11:41 AM
I am definately stronger with the unevenness but than again, that makes sense considering that is how I have been benching for a while. I am sure it is better for me to be straight.

Reko what were the exercises? And which side was weaker?

It was similar to a face pull, but I did it to my chest (like I was bringing the bar down to my chest).
I would emphasis squeezing the scapulae retractors and pullign my shoudler blades together. I did this with a mini band around the top of a rack. I also did it with the band strapped around a coat hanger that goes over the door. I wouldn't reccomend that one unless you like broken pieces of a door hanger coming at your face. yeah.....
My left side was weaker, and I am right handed at most things.

He also said flexibilty could be a big part of it, and since I am squatting low bar now that may be somethign I need to look back into.

11-11-2008, 12:23 PM
NHL your right I'm only like for for my setup. My head does stay on the bench during the lift.

I will get a vid.

11-11-2008, 12:40 PM
A lot of people have issues like the one you have with the bar being uneven. Like others have suggested it might be due to a setup issue, compensation due to muscle strenght imbalances, or it could be what I had a problem with. I used to touch unevenly like that and I fixed it by increasing my overall back strength. I started doing full rom deadlifts and all of a sudden the uneveness went away and I was benching straight again.....could be an overall back strength issue. Even though you may train your back and it appears strong in other exercises...deads will work your entire back strenght and work out in imbalances yoou may have. Of course you may already be pulling consistantly, and this may be nothing more than a suggestion lol

As far as shaking goes that just sometimes happens to be something some people do. I shake a lot when benching as well. I shake under 135, but when I get to 700+ the shaking goes away. I never have been able to understand it as I train my back religously and have tried a lot of things to get it to go away with no success. Th eonly thing that any one has told me that seems to make sense was from Clay B. He said that I get so tight that with lighter weights I shake until the weight gets heavy enough that I cant do it anymore...with me that happens to be about 700 pounds..then the shakes go down lol The point being that some people shake and some dont....

11-11-2008, 01:27 PM
I have this problem, and my back is my strongest area. I deadlift 515 and can do a chin with bodyweight +135, and the damn bar is still uneven. I have started to notice, however, that when I followed the bar path down with my eyes, hence lifting my head off the bnech (kind of like how travis and a few other good benchers bench) I keep the bar a lot straighter. Dead on straight, actually. I hope Travis doesn't mind me referencing his videos, but it will look something like this:


See how his head follows the bar path down? I've heard some good benchers don't like it because they can't stay as tight, but others love it because its supposed to shorten the ROM a bit and help with explosion off the chest.

Anyways, give it a try. It might help you keep the bar straighter.

11-11-2008, 08:22 PM
BFGuitar, I have the same problem when I bench. I turn the bar higher on my left side when I get to a point in my decent toward the chest when I begin to get shoulder pain. I go with the idea that I am compensating, but my compensation is due to avoidance of pain, I think.

I have never had my shoulder looked at by a doctor or Chiropractor, though I may go see a physical therapist at some point.

I'm left handed and stronger on my left side. I notice that I sort of squirm and attempt to push harder with my left arm as I attempt to lock out heavy weight. So, on the one hand, I'm turning the bar to avoid pain, and on the other hand, I'm favoring this same side for it's greater strength. Sounds kind of weird, huh?

My training partner tried to help me get out of the habit (of turning the bar), but whatever is wrong with my shoulder seems to keep me turning it. He had me try to keep my left arm lower, and make sure I start out holding the bar straight at the start of each rep. It helped a bit for a while, but I keep backsliding.