View Full Version : Bench Press: Lower Back Problems When Arching

02-02-2012, 05:54 PM
Today, I ground out a new PR while hitting a max effort close grip bench. However, my lower back went into spasms that lasted several minutes after the lift and hurt far worse than it ever has after deadlifting or squatting.

I have a decent arch when I bench (I can fit a 3" diameter PVC pipe under my back when arching), and I have noticed that I only seem to experience this back problem when I arch.

Has anyone else experienced this problem, and if so, were you able to solve it? Is there something I need to do to condition my lower back to avoid this problem when making max effort attempts? (I know that I can simply stop arching, but my arms are pretty long. Not arching would be disadvantageous, especially when competing.)

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

02-02-2012, 08:14 PM
My suggestion is to arch up for all your BPs, not just the max efforts. And practice arching over objects like a football etc. The more the muscles involved are conditioned to the position and degree of contraction the less likely they will be to cramp. I have had it happen a couple of times but not regularly. Some people have trouble with the narrow backed BP belt pull tight into the back making them cramp or spasm up. Good luck!

02-03-2012, 06:23 AM
What else are you doing for training? You should probably be working on building your lower back and ab strength, it will help.

If you're not arching on every set, you should do so.

Make sure you are firmly planted on the bench and very tight. You may have to get your feet out in front of you a bit and out to the sides if you're not already. The spasms could be from your but coming off the bench and thus putting more stress on your lower back when you are pressing heavy weight.

You should also be foam rolling your back before benching to help loosen it up.

Brian C
02-03-2012, 07:24 AM
Ive had a bad lower back for many years and also am an arched bencher. After every lift, I need my spotter to to help me up due to the pain. Ive recently found that benching with a belt gives my lower back support during the press and reduces the pain significantly. A lot of stretching on a foamroller afterwards also helps a lot.

02-03-2012, 12:27 PM
Use a a good belt. It made a huge difference for me.

02-03-2012, 12:59 PM
Happens to me, too, but like you, I only arch on the heavy sets. (My age doesn't help either.)

02-03-2012, 01:16 PM

02-03-2012, 02:32 PM
Stretch the hip floors and and hams well on bench day. Down roll the back as well and hit some thoracic mobility work on the roller. This should get you loose enough for benching. Most people forget benching is a full body lift and don't warm up enough.

02-03-2012, 07:15 PM
Good suggestions from everyone--thanks guys

02-04-2012, 09:28 AM
You're fine. Welcome to benching. You finally got tight on the bench like you should be for EVERY rep.

02-04-2012, 02:42 PM
You're fine. Welcome to benching. You finally got tight on the bench like you should be for EVERY rep.

Yup. You always know a good bench workout when you are done you need help off the bench and the next day your lower back and ass are sore.

Like Scott said above, stretch the hip flexors, do some self myofascial release of the psoas, foam roll, stretch.. .I wouldn't just do it on bench days, do it every day if you are having problems. Once things are better, go to only on bench days and one other nonconsecutive day a week. That has worked well for me.

02-22-2012, 09:29 AM
Great advice throughout. Nothing to add here.