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Thread: How do you use your back when you bench press?

  1. #1
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    How do you use your back when you bench press?

    I don't understand when someone says "use you lats when lowering the bar" or "put the pressure in your back". What does that mean and how do you guys do it?... I'm hoping Travis Bell and Mike Wolfe and all the other awesome benchers post in my humble thread. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Nuttin to it but to do it Chalky Palms's Avatar
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    I'm sure someone else can comment on this better but basically you want to tuck your shoulders back and keep them tight, this engages the lats and creates a strong base for you to press off of.
    "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky Palms View Post
    I'm sure someone else can comment on this better but basically you want to tuck your shoulders back and keep them tight, this engages the lats and creates a strong base for you to press off of.
    Is that it? I've been doing that for quite a while. I've read somewhere that you're supposed to pull with your lats when you lower the weight. But if i do that, my sternum will get crushed. lol. Thank you for the advice though.

  4. #4
    Wannabebig Member Kiknskreem's Avatar
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    Pulling the bar down only applies to geared lifts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiknskreem View Post
    Pulling the bar down only applies to geared lifts.
    Ahhh, that explains it. Are bench press shirts so tight that you'd actually struggle lowering the bar down? That's awesome. Whoever invented bench shirts is a genius.

  6. #6
    Nuttin to it but to do it Chalky Palms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LionLord View Post
    Ahhh, that explains it. Are bench press shirts so tight that you'd actually struggle lowering the bar down?
    yes, this is what creates the elastic energy potential and makes the bottom portion of the lift easier.
    "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."

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    Which double ply gear is the tightest and brings the most support? I'd buy it regardless of the pain that it gives me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LionLord View Post
    Which double ply gear is the tightest and brings the most support? I'd buy it regardless of the pain that it gives me.
    First, find knowlegable lifters to train with. Then get something single ply that you can learn with. If you jump into the tightest double ply shirt you can find, with no experience and no help, you'll be in for a long and frustrating (and painful and dangerous) experience.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
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    I can buy a single ply, but a knowledgeable training partner? lol. No way. The only way for me to get knowledgeable training partners is for you guys to move here with me in Oregon. There's waaay too much FLEX enthusiasts...

  10. #10
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    Go to powerliftingwatch.com, click on powerlifting gyms on the left and then select Oregon. You'll find 7 powerlifting gyms listed there. Pick one and go train there.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
    Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
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    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LionLord View Post
    Whoever invented bench shirts is a genius.
    I guess it's all a matter of opinion...

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    Quote Originally Posted by drew View Post
    Go to powerliftingwatch.com, click on powerlifting gyms on the left and then select Oregon. You'll find 7 powerlifting gyms listed there. Pick one and go train there.

    Thank you so much. I've never thought of doing that. I've been using that website to search meets and have always ignored the gyms...

  13. #13
    Jersey Iron Barbaccio's Avatar
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    My best advice is this:
    Visualize you pushing someone away from you.
    Your elbows should go down by your side.
    Flex your elbows in toward your body, you should feel the lats contracting.
    Now that you've felt what your lats feel like....
    Lay flat on the bench.
    Squeeze your shoulderblades together.
    Take the bar off the pegs and bring it down to your chest.
    Your elbows should still be by your side.
    Try to touch your elbows together behind you.
    Now you should feel tight in your entire back.
    Shove the bar up like you'd shove someone standing in front of you.
    You've just used your back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunar Effect View Post
    I guess it's all a matter of opinion...
    Funny thing about bench shirts is that the open back shirts are invented by accident. I may be wrong and if I am, please correct me, I've heard that there was a guy who went in a meet and his poly shirt ripped... And to his surprise, his bench went up!!

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    Thank you Barbaccio for your wonderful advices.

    What about the leg drive? I've tried to do it once, but one of my feet didn't remain firmly on the ground... And how wide should my foot positioning be?

    Oh, and how low should the bar placement be when you go down? Just right below the chest, to the ribs, or waaay below the stomach?

  16. #16
    Jersey Iron Barbaccio's Avatar
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    Bar placement is going to depend on where you're strong and whether you are raw or in a shirt. I tuck alot harder in a shirt than I do raw but my positions are similar. My training partner benches completely different raw than he does in a shirt. I tend to take the bar to my second ab when shirt benching and the first when raw. Where you can take it will depend on your strength. You need to find your stroke and where you touch comfortably with the best power.

    The feet are another story. It all depends on how high the bench is, what your setup is like, etc. Without seeing you, it's hard to tell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaccio View Post
    Bar placement is going to depend on where you're strong and whether you are raw or in a shirt. I tuck alot harder in a shirt than I do raw but my positions are similar. My training partner benches completely different raw than he does in a shirt. I tend to take the bar to my second ab when shirt benching and the first when raw. Where you can take it will depend on your strength. You need to find your stroke and where you touch comfortably with the best power.

    The feet are another story. It all depends on how high the bench is, what your setup is like, etc. Without seeing you, it's hard to tell.

    Again, thank you.

    Are there any PL feds out there that does not allow benching from the stomach? I heard APF does not allow bar positioning that is waaay too low.

  18. #18
    Nuttin to it but to do it Chalky Palms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaccio View Post
    My best advice is this:
    Visualize you pushing someone away from you.
    Your elbows should go down by your side.
    Flex your elbows in toward your body, you should feel the lats contracting.
    Now that you've felt what your lats feel like....
    Lay flat on the bench.
    Squeeze your shoulderblades together.
    Take the bar off the pegs and bring it down to your chest.
    Your elbows should still be by your side.
    Try to touch your elbows together behind you.
    Now you should feel tight in your entire back.
    Shove the bar up like you'd shove someone standing in front of you.
    You've just used your back.
    You don't have to tuck your elbows, some of the best pressers in the world flare their elbows out to their sides.
    "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."

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  19. #19
    Jersey Iron Barbaccio's Avatar
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    Yeah, umm, I tuck mine. So, like, I was giving him advice based on what I know how to do. And, for the record, the less you tuck, the less back you're going to be able to use and the more your shoulder will come into play.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaccio View Post
    Shove the bar up like you'd shove someone standing in front of you.
    You've just used your back.
    When Tone shoves somebody, they don't get up.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
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    Meet PRs: Squat:575 Bench:525 Deadlift:510 Total: 1605@220

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ryano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky Palms View Post
    You don't have to tuck your elbows, some of the best pressers in the world flare their elbows out to their sides.
    If you don't tuck your elbows at the bottom of the press, you won't be benching very long. The wear & tear on your shoulders will take you out of the sport.
    Can't wait 'til tomorrow, 'cause I get stronger every day!

  22. #22
    The Project KarstenDD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky Palms View Post
    You don't have to tuck your elbows, some of the best pressers in the world flare their elbows out to their sides.
    ... Big Tone DOES know what he's talking about.
    Roll Tide.

  23. #23
    Token Canadian Cricket_Fire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky Palms View Post
    You don't have to tuck your elbows, some of the best pressers in the world flare their elbows out to their sides.
    Dude we bench pretty well the same amount so Im not gonna bust your balls too hard about it, but Barbaccio does have a decent enough bench to give proper advice...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky Palms View Post
    You don't have to tuck your elbows, some of the best pressers in the world flare their elbows out to their sides.
    Ryan Kennelly
    Scot Mendelson
    Rob Luyando

    The best in the world, tuck they're elbows. I'm gonna go out on a limb, way out on a limb, and say, the best presses in the world DO NOT bench with their elbows flaired. Not to mention, if your elbows are flaired, the is no way you can use your lats.

  25. #25
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Does anyone have an example of what flaired elbows vs. tucked elbows looks like?
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