The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
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    Bench press form

    So I have been fooling around with my bench form to try and hit that "perfect" hand spacing. I watched the recent Dave Tate video and realized my shoulder/elbow mechanics are off. He preached in the video to tuck the elbows down which in turn fires off your lats which allows you to push harder. I can compare this to how much more I can press on military when I pinch my shoulder blades hard. The problem I have been having is that I bench fairly wide, index fingers on the rings...sometimes slightly outside the rings. I cannot, for the life of me, tuck my elbows down with a grip this wide.

    So my question is, to the big benchers out there who use this kind of form, do you put your hands closer together to achieve this "elbow tuck"? I am afraid to start switching hand positions because I have made great progress on my bench...I was able to push 275x2 the other day but I feel like I may be able to go up with just a form change. I did try putting my hands closer together but I felt like I couldnt push the bar as hard. Ideally, I'd like to get the elbow tuck while still utilizing the wide grip but I have a lot of trouble keeping my wrists straight and then I lose all of my power.

    FYI, I am tall with very long arms this is why I choose to bench wide in the first place. I have been having shoulder pain in my non dominant shoulder which lead me to find Dave Tate's video in the first place.

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  3. #2
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    You CAN still tuck your elbows with that wide of a grip. I've used that wide of a grip and could still tuck my elbows very tight...and it's not that I have longer arms than you...I have short arms. When I do that wide and still try to tuck, though - I cannot unrack the bar by myself - so you may need a good handoff and start tucking BEFORE you even unrack.

  4. #3
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    I use a variety of differing grip spacing on bench. For a lot of my work, I have my pinky on the ring. It helps take some of the load off my shoulders. However, when I am going for some very heavy singles, doubles, or triples, I'll grip the bar wider with my index finger on the ring. I still get some very good elbow tuck using this spacing and I'm short... only 5' 6". How wide you grip the bar should be determined by what you are trying to accomplish with the lift - are you wanting to work your triceps harder, get your lats more involved, use more shoulder?

    On DE days, I would used three distinctly different grip widths for a three sets of three reps each. As you continue to work, you'll learn more and figure things out. Try the powerlifting/Olympic lifting forum is you want bench specific advice. Lots of very knowledgeable folks over there.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mchicia1 View Post
    do you put your hands closer together to achieve this "elbow tuck"?
    Yes, but not much closer. And it was pretty much temporary, I'm now back out as wide as possible, and although I don't tuck as much as some, I am tucking more than I was before.


    Quote Originally Posted by mchicia1 View Post
    FYI, I am tall with very long arms this is why I choose to bench wide in the first place. I have been having shoulder pain in my non dominant shoulder which lead me to find Dave Tate's video in the first place.
    I used to have shoulder pain after benching near my max. I moved my grip slightly in and it stopped, and my max bench went up ( that's when I first benched 315 ). I can now go wide again without any shoulder problems. I believe it's because when I moved my grip in, I learned how to tuck, tuck enough anyway to prevent the shoulder issues. I guess what I'm saying is don't be afraid to play around with your grip, but in general with long arms you want to go as wide as you can.

  6. #5
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    Ugh...today I failed my ME day. was supposed to get 275x2 but I failed on the 2nd rep...even my warmups felt heavy today....

    The weird thing is, my triceps are getting stronger week to week. Before this program I could only skull crush 35's on each side of the ez-bar...today I did a 50 pounds on each side (125) for 2x8. I think I am going to drop back down to 225 on bench and master the tuck before I attempt any more ME days.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Eric Cartman's Avatar
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    I watched that video too and I realized I was doing my bench wrong, pushing outwards and down instead of up and back towards the bar... I'm looking forward to my next bench session...

    However, I have NO IDEA what he means by TUCK,.. he says it like 5 times on that video, I don't see what it is.. you guys are discussing it, but I need it explained further..

    EC

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Cartman View Post
    I watched that video too and I realized I was doing my bench wrong, pushing outwards and down instead of up and back towards the bar... I'm looking forward to my next bench session...

    However, I have NO IDEA what he means by TUCK,.. he says it like 5 times on that video, I don't see what it is.. you guys are discussing it, but I need it explained further..

    EC
    He means tuck your elbows almost into your lats if that makes sense. The lats get pinched together tighter if your elbows come closer to your torso. Think about squats...the closer your grip, the tighter your back is.

  9. #8
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    Forearms always stay directly under the bar, so elbow tuck is nothing more than a function of how far down your chest you're touching the bar.

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