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Thread: Bench form problem

  1. #1
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    Bench form problem

    So I have a problem that when I bench I tend to let my hands come down behind my elbows so that when I push the weight back up it looks sort of like a skull crusher (not nearly to that extent but you get the idea). I have been told I have this problem by several people and I have seen it in video of myself benching. I try to think about correcting it, but for some reason I still do it. It not only makes it harder to lift heavy weight, but it also wreaks havoc on my elbows. I was wondering if anyone has advice on how to correct the problem. Thanks

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    Bench shirted or raw?

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    i think u might want to start flaring alittle earlier. if u r in that position how r your wrists?

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    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Tuck your elbows harder and bring the bar down lower


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    I bench raw, but the people I bench with all bench shirted and that is where I have been learning technique. I used to flare my elbows out pretty much the whole lift. When I started tucking my elbows is really when I started having the problem. I am pretty sure it is like Travis said that I am not touching low enough. I am still pretty new to powerlifting and when I switched to tucking my elbows I dropped a fair bit of weight off my bench (~25 lbs). I had been pressing pretty consistantly for ~12 years with the wrong form so it is really hard for me to bring the bar down correctly. I tuck my elbows on the way down then try to make the bar end up where it always did when I flared my elbows the whole way. Anyhow, I am pretty sure the problem is mostly mental, although I would like to know how low a raw bencher should be touching or if there are any tricks or things people think about to get them to the correct spot at the bottom of the lift.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott rowe View Post
    i think u might want to start flaring alittle earlier. if u r in that position how r your wrists?
    My wrists are fine, but my elbows and my shoulders hurt. I did reverse band presses last Saturday and my elbows have been hurting bad all week.

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    Also, when I do touch low I have a really hard time transitioning back to where I am in a powerful position at lockout. Probably because I was benching wrong for so long, I cant lock out hardly any weight if I press streight up, I have to make the bar travel back over my face/neck to get much strength at lockout. I know many people advocate pressing straight up and not up and back, but right now this doesnt work for me.

  8. #8
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    I normally touch right on or a little below my sternum when benching raw


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    If you are benching raw you shouldnt tuck the elbows real hard or touch too low. Benching with this form without a shirt will mess up your shoulders in a hurry. Now dont get me wrong...when you are benching unequipped, there is a certain amount of tucking elbows that is good, but too much is detrimental. Its really a personal feeling on how much tuck is too much, but when benching unequipped I would say around a 45 degree elbow placement would be good and touching right on or just below your sternum. I personally touch very high on my upper abs...in a shirt it is around 2" inches lower..

    Now if you are trying to get equipped benching technique down...you should go lower and tuck elbows hard.

    Your problem is you are overtucking your elbows and touching too high. You have to really pick what you want to do..bench equipped or unequipped. They are 2 different lifts and require 2 different techniques...
    Last edited by bencher8; 03-12-2009 at 02:11 PM.
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    if your shoulders are hurting u may be touching too high on your chest. i like to touch at the bottom of my chest basically at my sterum. tucking the elbows in on the way down, and gradually flaring on the way up. your shoulders my be strong so benching higher you may feel stronger but when your tri get stronger you will have a stronger bench. i like to do paused boards that should blast your tri's. hope it helps if i understand your problem correctly.

  11. #11
    ANVIL POWER Detard's Avatar
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    Get the bar seated properly in your hand. It might be a problem due to your wrists bending backwards.
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    Everyone gave awesome advice...the only thing I would say is concentrate on your form ... I had that problem a long time ago because I used to bench on a smith machine and when I switched to regular bar had a few close calls...just make sure you set up the same way all the time with everything from warmups to heavy weight.
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    Thanks for the great advice everyone. It is quite possible I am trying to tuck my elbows a little too much since I learned benching and do my workouts with equipped benchers. I will try some of the advice this weekend and see how it works out.

  14. #14
    JERSEY IRON Brian C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bencher8 View Post
    Your problem is you are overtucking your elbows and touching too high
    This is your problem easily put
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike95763 View Post
    I am still pretty new to powerlifting and when I switched to tucking my elbows I dropped a fair bit of weight off my bench (~25 lbs).
    But you've changed more than just tucking your elbows. You're also controlling the weight much better, and you pause at the bottom instead of kind of bouncing the weight off your chest like you did the first time I saw you bench. Maybe your max has gone down slightly, you're a much better bencher now IMHO ( ie, you'll be able to get a good lift in at a meet ).

    If you haven't, talk to Scott next saturday and ask him what he thinks. He doesn't always bench equipped, and when benching raw he tucks his elbows more than you do, from what I've seen anyway, I can study the video to verify this. And CJ definitely tucks his elbows more than you do.
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 03-12-2009 at 10:40 PM.

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    You are right BTO, Scott and CJ both tuck more than I do. I just wanted some ideas as to how to make my elbows stop hurting. Scott and CJ both have better technique than I do all around. I wish I could bench like Scott, both in the weight he moves and his form.

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    Dr. Dudley-Robey DrDudley-Robey's Avatar
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    Along with everyone elses advice, try some wrist wraps so your wrsts dont bend back during the lift. I use the 36in onse wraped tight but they also make 12 and 24 if the 36's are to heavy duty. Also if you can increase your arch then the bar does not have to come down as far making it less of an issue.
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    Senior Member mikesbench's Avatar
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    There's already a lot of good advice here, another thing to consider is to make sure you are doing plenty of lat and upper back work to help with bar control. If you are thinking of doing everything correctly but still having difficulty doing it you may have a muscle weakness that is making it difficult to execute the lift correctly with weights you are used to handling.

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    Senior Member Ryano's Avatar
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    If you are bending your wrists back at the bottom, putting the weight behind your elbows, that is very dangerous. I know of two people that have snapped their radial/ulnar bones doing that. Get wraps and prevent it.
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    Thanks again for all the advice everyone. I think I was just unsure of how low to bring the bar and felt I had to fight to keep my elbows in much more than was comfortable for me raw. I benched today and really tried to focus on bringing down the bar to my sternum and focused less on tucking my elbows and things went really well. I did a full pause at the bottom of my lifts and still had a 10 lb sort of PR (I had lifted the weight before, but not in several months) Hopefully things are back on track now. My elbows still hurt, but not as bad as last week and icing has helped a lot. Anyhow, thanks for the advice everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryano View Post
    If you are bending your wrists back at the bottom, putting the weight behind your elbows, that is very dangerous. I know of two people that have snapped their radial/ulnar bones doing that.
    I don't ware wrist wraps, but I don't really have a problem with my wrists bending back. I have always been able to keep them straight pretty easily. Once I start lifting equipped I am planning on getting some wrist wraps (hopefully in a few weeks if I can afford a shirt).

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    Senior Member Ryano's Avatar
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    Mike, you might as well get them now and get used to them. I wear wrist wraps with anything >300 lbs. Just might save you some problems down the road.
    Can't wait 'til tomorrow, 'cause I get stronger every day!

  23. #23
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    I agree with Roger, why would you not wear wrist wraps?

    What kind of shirt are you planning on getting, single ply or double?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    I agree with Roger, why would you not wear wrist wraps?
    I guess Mike can answer that, but maybe it's because they aren't allowed in the AAPF if you're lifting raw.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ryano's Avatar
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    BTO, I think APF and AAPF rules are the same, except the drug test. You're right though, if he is lifting RAW, wrist wraps may not be allowed. I'm not sure. I still think anyone should wear them if they're pushin' heavy weight. They don't help you lift the weight, just might keep some bones from snappin'.
    Can't wait 'til tomorrow, 'cause I get stronger every day!

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