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Thread: Bench on heels or toes?

  1. #1
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    Bench on heels or toes?

    Which do you prefer and why?

    I'm a USAPL lifter but I just Jioned the APF and they allow you to bench up on your toes.

    I just did a equipped push/ pull meet this weekend and if it wasnt for the DL I would have been at the bottom rankings in my wt. class...

    These guys killed me in the BP due to the insane amout of arch and reduced ROM it allows. After the meet one of the top guys in the 242's showed me his set-up in the warm-up room. I was impressed to say the least... He probably took 2-3" off my bench stroke that quick.

    What experiences have you guys had w/ this style of benching and would you advise me to change my heels down style since the APF allows you to be on your toes?

    Thanks for the input,
    RC

  2. #2
    Senior Member SELK's Avatar
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    Plenty of people have success with both ways. Personally I find that I can get my ROM about the same with both set-ups, but I find it easier to keep my ass on the bench with my legs tucked. Also for some lifters, an extreme arch in the bench can take a few lbs off in the deadlift.
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    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    I bench flat footed and as Selk said I can get my arch set up just about the same, but I get a ton more leg drive when my heels are on the ground as well as being much more stable.


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    Senior Member Ryano's Avatar
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    I prefer to bench on my toes. If you drive your heels during the press, you can still get good leg drive. Just try both methods and use the one that works best for you.
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  5. #5
    Bad Attitude Gym AdamBAG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    I bench flat footed and as Selk said I can get my arch set up just about the same, but I get a ton more leg drive when my heels are on the ground as well as being much more stable.
    Agree totally!

    I learned to bench on my toes, but I did a USAPL meet recently and had to go flat footed and I had the same experience. More leg drive with heels on the ground. Just because your heels are down is not an excuse to not have a good arch.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Ruff Riff's Avatar
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    I bench flat footed and as Selk said I can get my arch set up just about the same, but I get a ton more leg drive when my heels are on the ground as well as being much more stable.
    Well, I have been told I have happy feet when I bench! But only on DE days! LOL,

    Robchris,

    I have found (in learning to bench the right way) that having or trying to keep both my feet planted on the floor and pushing through my heels gives me much more stability and a good amount of leg drive. I am finally getting to the point when after a good ME day my lower back and glutes are hammered due to the force "I am trying" to put through my feet! I am still in infant in the game but eager to learn from those around me and I ALWAYS WATCH WHAT THOSE AROUND ME ARE DOING! Even when they may not think I am watching! When I bench on my toes I can get more of an arch to my back and even shorten my range of motion but I am "loosie goosie" on my set up and keeping my back tight becomes a problem for me? If my back feels good on a lift then I mentally feel good on a lift and feel that I have a better chance of pressing the weight. If I don't feel solid holding the weight then I seem to have trouble (I am new at this so that could be the problem) I have found that there is a fine line between solid leg drive and your rear end coming off the bench, I have been shown that the best way (for me) to avoid this is to put my feet a little farther apart? I have really played with my foot placement until I found a spot that is on the edge of all the things I am trying to do. Not too far apart that I can't get good leg drive but far enough that my bootie stays on the bench? Under me a little to help with the drive but not too far out so that my feet just flip out from under me (that had happened and I learned) I also think that really getting my upper back tight and in position before my feet helps? trying to squeeze my traps on the bench instead of my back? I am sure as I bench more my back will get more flexable and as a result my arch stronger and more stable, but for me it is feet flat and drive like crazy through my heels trying to break walnuts in my bootie crack! LOL!

    Great question Robchris, and being new I have wondered why different elite lifters choose such different set ups with feet as well, wondered if it was body type, strengths and weeknesses or just plain preference and comfort? Interested in hearing more posts! But that is what works for me for now,

  7. #7
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    I bench up on my toes for one reason---since I screwed up my left ankle a few years ago, I don't have the ROM in it to get flat footed without essentially being flat backed. Flat back benching hurts my shoulders.... . so I end up setting up with my weight up on the balls of my feet.
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    I like to be flat footed.

    I think for the most part it depends on if your full power or not.

    If your bench only and dont have to worry about pulling then most will go on toes with a huge arch. But when your full power less extreme arches seem the norm as it gives the back a rest before the deadlifts start.
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    Thanks for the input guys... I failed to mention in my OP that these guys more than likely out benched b/c they had a reduced ROM but also they where just plain stronger than me.

    I dont attribute all thier success to there "on toes" style & set-up but it just seemed to be a common thread as all these guys were APF and had been doing it for a while.

    I'll say this as well, they set-up on thier toes but as they drive they actually touch thier heels down on the floor in some instances... This takes a lot more hip flexiblity than I currently have considering your feet are almost even w/ your hips when set-up correctly. Not to mention the fact that they can "belly-up" more and touch a little lower than I'm accustomed to!

    I think I've seen Buddy set-up this way so hopefully he'll chime in and give us some more insight... At any rate, I'm gonna try this style tomorrow night since its deload week the weight wont be too heavy & I can concentrate on form.
    Thanks again...RC

  10. #10
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I like to be on my heels. I am much more stable that way and feel like I get a better push through my legs.


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  11. #11
    UPA Lousiana Chairman Eric Downey's Avatar
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    on the toes but pushing down through the heal
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  12. #12
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    I bench up on my toes but I try and get my feet out fairly wide instead of just under the bench. its helped my stability and the benching on toes allows me to arch more

  13. #13
    Senior Member hulk242's Avatar
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    I need to get some help with my setup. I get no leg drive at all. I had a problem with my ass coming up. Now I just tuck my feet so far back that I can't. Need to get a happy medium.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ryano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hulk242 View Post
    I need to get some help with my setup. I get no leg drive at all. I had a problem with my ass coming up. Now I just tuck my feet so far back that I can't. Need to get a happy medium.
    You need to get help from an experienced bencher. It's much easier to learn from someone in person than internet advice. A bench seminar is the way to go, if you can find one. Seems like there aren't many seminars now, but I learned alot from the MM Sebastian Burns seminar and the Rob Luyando/Paul Key seminars I went to. If you can't find one already scheduled, just see if there is enough interested lifters in your area and contact a bench specialist to come to your area.

    If your ass is coming up, it's because of the leg position and driving off you toes. Spread you feet out wide, back, on the ball of your foot. Drive your heels toward the floor to "throw" the weight back during the press. Good luck.
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