View Full Version : Bench Critique

04-16-2009, 07:36 PM

I train with a westside template and have been for a little over a year.

ME exercises are usually Close grip bench, regular bench, 1 and 2 boards.

Supplementals are some kind of press, usually 5-10 reps. Right now its floor presses and overhead presses. If I am doing 3x8 floor presses I will attempt to add 5 pounds for the last set. Ex. week one 135/135/140 week 2 140/140/145 week 3 145/145/150. If I fail I reset the next week with new rep/set scheme, different grip, add a set of chains, whatever I decided.

DE bench is done as a 4 week wave. Mostly all straight weight, allthough I recently started using one pair of chains. The chains come off for 70% and above.
Week 1 8x3@60%
Week 2 8x3@60%
Week 3 8x3@60%
Week 4 8x3@60%
No ME bench this week

Lately I would watch my bench vids and be surprised at the speed of the lift, as it feels much harder than it looks on video. Am I someone with a lot more speed than strength? My bench progress sucks and at the rate I am making progress it seems like I will be totally platued within a few months.

So what I am looking for is critique in both my training and my bench form. Thanks for your time and help.

Travis Bell
04-16-2009, 07:53 PM
If you're going to stick with the straight weight for DE work, I'd rotate the percentages. For instance, one week with 50, 55, then 60. Get some video of your DE bench so we can see your speed as well. Maybe you're going too heavy.

I think with some small alterations to your form you could easily bench 250.

Put some plates under your feet. That bench is really high.

I'll let you know when I'm back in Smithville if you want and I'd be more than happy to work with you.

Might help to get some bands as well.

04-16-2009, 07:59 PM
I will defianetly take you up on that offer Travis! I do have bands but figured Id wait till I hit 300 to use them for DE bench. Actually today I started reconsidering that. I will try putting my feet on the plates. I have been playing around with my setup, and I want to bring my feet back farther, but that brings me up on my toes and it just doesnt feel strong, I guess plates would allow me to bring my feet farther back while still staying on my heels.

04-16-2009, 08:28 PM
The first thing I noticed is the lack of leg drive. I have a problem forgetting to get my legs into it, and when I do it really blasts up compared to when I don't.

Travis Bell
04-16-2009, 11:08 PM
The first thing I noticed is the lack of leg drive. I have a problem forgetting to get my legs into it, and when I do it really blasts up compared to when I don't.

Very true, but I think that probably is due to the fact that his bench is so high off the ground he's unable to get proper foot position

04-17-2009, 12:02 AM
Like a lot of things, with a good bench form the devil is in the details and a lot of things are hard to see from the angle but here's a couple of tweeks to think about.
-I agree with Travis, get a couple of plates or something similar to get your feet up a couple of inches. Your hips look real stable as is, but this would allow you to transfer more of that stability to your shoulders.
-Decent arch (better than mine..lol) and you're coming down to a good spot, but it looks like your wrists are breaking back towards your face a bit as you come down. This throws your elbows slightly in front (towards your feet) at the bottom. This makes for an inefficient transfer of energy on the turn-around. Concentrate on keeping your wrists straight and flat (in line with your forearms. It may feel a bit awkward at first, but grip tight and go with it. This will keep your forearms directly under the bar at the bottom allowing you to really blast your lats into the start of the press. In your mind try and stay behind the bar and drive it away from you at the bottom.
-Also remember a good power bench is much more about the back than the chest. Pull those shoulder blades together and fire the lats first at the bottom!

Little changes in bench technique can bring huge results.

Hope those suggestions made sense. Good training,

Robert Harris,
Las Vegas, NV
220# Age 50
Recent raw bench training
225x20 max rep set

04-17-2009, 09:15 AM
Very true, but I think that probably is due to the fact that his bench is so high off the ground he's unable to get proper foot position

I agree man, that bench does look awfully high up. Maybe try to put some plates under your feet?

04-28-2009, 09:31 AM
Here is my DE Bench video including me working up. I almost forgot the plates under my feet. The whole time leg drive to me meant the same amount of drive through the entire ROM. I was told this was wrong and am trying to drive like crazy once the bar touches. I think its going to take a lot of experimenting to find my ideal leg positioning. I am trying to touch lower on the stomach to keep my lower arm vertical. I am also trying to keep my wrists straight. Any suggestions? How does my speed look?


04-29-2009, 03:07 PM
first off, i mean everything i say in the nicest way. i think you are using too much weight, the bar needs to come down fast also and you shouldnt be getting slower by the end of your 8 sets. i think you need to use your lats more so you can develop some sort of stretch reflex. i would also move on after the 8 sets. try illegal wide grip press or dumbells instead of 70 and 80% stuff at the end, like i said you should be getting faster as your sets progress without having to drop weight. if you are limited to chains and strait weight, you could try floor presses dynamic style if you lay pillows under your elbows but mini bands are cheap, you should invest. good luck, keep up the hard work.

04-30-2009, 10:07 AM
on a positive note, you do seem to do a good job of over extending your lockout. this is very important, it programs yourself to push through the whole press.

04-30-2009, 02:25 PM
Thanks for the advice. Its going to be a long hard road but one day I will have great bench form.