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View Full Version : Bench Form - Elbows IN or OUT?



Absolute
06-07-2006, 02:38 PM
When I'm benching, I usually do it with my elbows going out toward the sides, or flaring out. However, it seems that some powerlifters do it with their elbows tucked in close to their sides.

Which would help me push the most weight?

Keith
06-07-2006, 02:45 PM
Most weight... elbows out because your targeting your chest this way more so than elbows in. You target your triceps when your elbows are in. Your chest is a larger muslce than your triceps therefore it is also stronger.

Sensei
06-07-2006, 02:45 PM
There are world-class benchers that bench elbows-in and there are world-class benchers that bench elbows-out.

Elbows-in is going to require stronger triceps and elbows-out will require more flexible/stronger pecs and shoulders. Most people will probably be stronger w. elbows-out at first, but which one will be best for you long-term is, IMHO, hard to say.

RedRoss
06-07-2006, 03:21 PM
Well, if you wanna save your elbows, keep those elbows in and bring the weight closer to your sternum.
If you wanna benchpress like a body builder, keep the elbows out and bring the bar to your nipple line.
I always benched like a BB'er until i recently switched, it takes some gettin use to.

WBBIRL
06-07-2006, 05:15 PM
The whole subject is confusing.. pics of each???

I know when I bench my arms a parallel clear up to the elbow with my pecs.

bigbadwolfe
06-07-2006, 07:29 PM
WBBIRL here is a pic of me benching raw at New England Record Breakers whith my elbows in.If I was benching likie a bodybuilder my elbows would be more parallel with the bar then they are.

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b163/bigbadwolfe800/NERB101.jpg

bigbadwolfe
06-07-2006, 07:30 PM
You can clearly see i am at the sternum, it must of been cold in there cause you can definatley see I'm way below my nipple line :)

Keith
06-07-2006, 07:57 PM
I dont get why people are refering to the sternum...the sternum runs from about the clavicle (collar bone) right down to the bottom of your chest.
In the picture above, it looks like the bar has gone past your sternum.

Hockey66
06-07-2006, 08:20 PM
I think they mean solar plexus, or the very bottom of the sternum.

Keith
06-07-2006, 08:29 PM
I think they mean solar plexus, or the very bottom of the sternum.
Solar plexus? I think they would have mentioned that if they meant it. And the very bottom of the sternum (xiphoid process) isn't where he had the bar with elbows in. Not a big deal at all...just dont know why people are refering to the sternum.

biggimp
06-07-2006, 10:30 PM
man more stuff i dont know about... i didnt know you didnt have to wrap your thumbs around!


i guess maybe lifting outside of just one federation will broaden my horizons some more.

Absolute
06-08-2006, 07:14 AM
I'll give elbows-in a shot for a while. When I do push-ups, I do them with my elbows in, and I find that I do a more powerful movement that way. Maybe it will be the same for bench.

Thanks for the replies!

WBBIRL
06-08-2006, 09:41 AM
So your saying benching with the eblows in is more of a powerlifters way and elbows paralle is a BB'ers way. I always bench eblows almost perfectly parallel with the bar.

Keith
06-08-2006, 10:21 AM
I'll give elbows-in a shot for a while. When I do push-ups, I do them with my elbows in, and I find that I do a more powerful movement that way. Maybe it will be the same for bench.

Thanks for the replies!

More powerful?
Do as many pushups as you can with elbows out then another day as many as you can elbows in...see what you can do more with. That form will most likely determine what is more "powerful" on the bench.

Prenim
06-08-2006, 04:59 PM
Your pecs are not stronger than your triceps. Wow. The entire form powerlifters use is to keep the elbows tight inside and keep the burden always on the triceps.

Shrugging in and back with the shoulders, arching the back, bringing the bar LOW on the chest. These are all done to keep the path of the bar short and the weight on the triceps.

This is primarily, as well, why powerlifters use schemes in their routines that involve heavy triceps emphasis, upper back and shoulders.

I don't doubt YOU may be stronger elbows out, due to how you lift/have always lifted, but your arguments that elbows out/pecs are stronger are simply false.

MixmasterNash
06-08-2006, 07:18 PM
More powerful?
Do as many pushups as you can with elbows out then another day as many as you can elbows in...see what you can do more with. That form will most likely determine what is more "powerful" on the bench.
No, no it won't. Not at all. Not in the slightest.

An endurance exercise that you can do for two minutes straight has hardly any bearing on maximal strength.

Beast
06-08-2006, 07:55 PM
Elbows in puts less stress on your rotator cuffs, I believe.

emjlr3
06-08-2006, 08:05 PM
Elbows in puts less stress on your rotator cuffs, I believe.

u betcha, ive always found elows in to be more comfortable, to not hurt as much, and to give me a bigger lift, however I have been told that elbows out is better for chest development, so that is how I bench

Keith
06-08-2006, 09:53 PM
Your pecs are not stronger than your triceps. Wow. The entire form powerlifters use is to keep the elbows tight inside and keep the burden always on the triceps.

Shrugging in and back with the shoulders, arching the back, bringing the bar LOW on the chest. These are all done to keep the path of the bar short and the weight on the triceps.

This is primarily, as well, why powerlifters use schemes in their routines that involve heavy triceps emphasis, upper back and shoulders.

I don't doubt YOU may be stronger elbows out, due to how you lift/have always lifted, but your arguments that elbows out/pecs are stronger are simply false.

I thought the majority of the bench involves the chest and shoulders. You say powerlifters keep the elbows tight inside? Im confused...I swear the elbows are always out when maxing on bench because you can lift more weight this way. Am I wrong about this?

Keith
06-08-2006, 09:55 PM
No, no it won't. Not at all. Not in the slightest.

An endurance exercise that you can do for two minutes straight has hardly any bearing on maximal strength.

I apologize for that post. I should have thought twice about saying that because I know that an endurance exercise is totally different from one that requires a maximal effort. Sorry for that.

Prenim
06-09-2006, 10:32 AM
Well, benching in competition involves shortening the space the bar has to move. So you'll grip the bar as far out (wide) as you're allowed. Given that, it's going to look like you're benching elbows out. But the arch, the shrugging back of the shoulders, etc that accompany a powerlifters form draw the elbows in and place the stress on the triceps.

Desolator
06-09-2006, 01:14 PM
Elbows in puts less stress on your rotator cuffs, I believe.
I started lifting a few months ago and noticed the back bottom of my shoulders (I guess that's my rotator cuffs) hurting aftering benching. I had a bad form with my elbows way out there. I'm going to try to keep my elbows in more and I think that will help it.

Keith
06-09-2006, 01:33 PM
Well, benching in competition involves shortening the space the bar has to move. So you'll grip the bar as far out (wide) as you're allowed. Given that, it's going to look like you're benching elbows out. But the arch, the shrugging back of the shoulders, etc that accompany a powerlifters form draw the elbows in and place the stress on the triceps.

I understand that in competition you want to reduce the amount the bar has to lower as much as you can, but how is it that arching the back, bringing shoulder blades together, draw in the elbows? I still see powerlifters elbows out. I swear you can lift more weight with your chest than your triceps and this is why you preform benching with maximal poundage elbows out. Im not understanding this.

Prenim
06-09-2006, 02:17 PM
We've got conflicting definitions of "elbows in" I think.

Dave Tate wrote an article on benching big. I think if you read articles by the guys with the biggest benches in the world, you'll see what I'm trying to say.

http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=body_115b600

Keith
06-09-2006, 02:55 PM
We've got conflicting definitions of "elbows in" I think.

Dave Tate wrote an article on benching big. I think if you read articles by the guys with the biggest benches in the world, you'll see what I'm trying to say.

http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=body_115b600

Amazing article. Thanks alot bro, that cleared up alot of things.

bigbadwolfe
06-09-2006, 03:23 PM
Yep great article by a great man, he said it as simple as it could be said.Dave is very knowledgable and puts on great seminars. If he is ever in your neck of the woods and doing a seminar on lifting make sure you go it is worth the money. The knowledge you will walk out with is priceless in the lifting world!!!

Wolfy!!!!

NickW
06-10-2006, 04:27 PM
Here is a pic of me lifting at NERB, I bench with my elbows out.

bigbadwolfe
06-10-2006, 06:41 PM
That is why he benchs more raw then shirted HAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Time+Patience
06-12-2006, 10:53 AM
I do elbows in, I couldn't do as much weight at first compared to elbows out, but over time it become more comfortable and I was able 2 do more weight with elbows in.

when you do it correctly, you will feel all of the muscle kicking and helping move the weight up, You won't feel it in your pecs as much, you'll feel a lot in your triceps, your shoulders, and even your lats 2 an extent if done correctly