My wrists have bent backward my whole life benching, and up until recently I never knew it was a problem.
Anyway, I'm trying to keep my wrists aligned with my forearms, but I have a few problems...
1. When I am locking out the press, it seems like my arms and hands end up looking like this (imagine you are a spotter behind me and crouched down looking at my arms/hands):
with the straight lines being my hands, and the slashes being my arms. I am about 5'7" with a relatively normal-sized wingspan I suppose, and I've been placing my middle fingers on the rings of the bar (sometimes a bit narrower toward ring finger). Is this a good grip for me? Or should I go wider/narrower? It seems like ideally I'd want to go even wider so as to be able to bench more weight, but the wider I go the more angled my arms seem to be and so it makes it feel like strange stress on my wrist due to the extreme angles that occur when I am locking out at the top.
2. When I try to keep my hands aligned with my forearms, forearms start to shake and it almost feels like the bar is going to slip out of my hands, whereas it feels more comfortable with my wrists bent back supporting the weight, although I know that when I start to use heavier weight this will be bad for the wrists. Will my forearms get used to the new position which right now feels very uncomfortable and unstable?
3. Most of my problems with benching seem to occur at the top of the press. At the bottom it feels pretty good and decently solid, but at the top it seems like my wrists want to bend back and angle all weird (explained above with diagram in point #1). I really wish I knew how to correct this.
4. Also, am I supposed to bring my elbows inward when lowering the bar? I've heard to do that, but it feels like this causes me even more problems, so I've been trying to let my elbows be more natural with my forearms about perpendicular to the ground at the bottom of the press.
5. For a while I've puffed out my chest, back arched, and shoulder blades retracted backward. Is this correct form? If not, is this what is causing me problems?
Thanks to anyone for any form of input, I'd really appreciate it.
Last edited by fixationdarknes; 03-10-2010 at 04:59 PM.
There are some good points in the video. They are cues I use in my routine that have helped me. Wrist wraps may help, too. They're not expensive.
Thanks! That video was quite informative for me. Btw, the way Tate wraps his thumbs behind the bar like that... is that optimal? It seems like it'd be scary, couldn't the bar more easily fall out of your hands?
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Wow, great video, so many good pointers.
Dave pretty much covered it all in that video.
You do not have to use thumbless grip.
You really need to just keep working on getting more and more tight during your press to help with the stability.
you may remember that story about the running back from usc, stafon johnson. he crushed his throat using the thumbless grip. he didn't die but reports were it was really close. that scared me enough to never use the thumbless grip but as long as u know the dangers it's up to u.
What about the width of my grip? Is middle finger on rings too wide for me? I'm about 5'7", I dunno what the size of my wingspan is though.
Thanks for the replies.
I'm 5'9" and my grip is generally about a pinky AWAY from the power rings on the bar I use.
I've only been lifting for about 6 mos so I could be off, but like I said, if I remember right from the SS book, you want your forearms straight up and down at the bottom of the press, that should give you the perfect grip width to be using.