I've recently realized I've been bench pressing incorrectly for the past 4 years or so. Recently I've improved my form dramatically. I went from barely having an arch, very little leg drive, way too large of an angle between my upper arm and torso, and the bar landing way to high up on my chest to much more proper form. I've worked on the arch, adjusted my feet to add some leg drive, decreased the angle between my arm and torso, and now touch my chest every rep. I used to stop about an inch or two before touching my chest with the old form, simply because at the arm angle I was using, it felt really awkward and painful to go any lower. The bar would have touched a little higher than the middle of my pecs, now it touches right at the bottom of my pecs.
The form "feels" good, but I'm significantly weaker performing the bench press this way. My 5 rep max was 275 lbs the old way, now it's about 225 lbs, even with the new much shorter range of motion. Even though I'm going all the way down to touch my chest, I've also really been focusing on driving my shoulders back into the bench and maintaining a higher arch to shorten the ROM.
My question is should this strength loss be expected due to the many changes I've made to the form I've been using for years? I'm guessing my neglect for the very bottom of the ROM has left me with a huge weak point in my lift. Also, any really rough estimates how long it might take to get comfortable with this new form and start making some nice strength gains again?
Thanks in advance
Age: 23 - Weight: 237 lbs - Height: 6'1''
S(atg) - B - DL
375 - 335 - 515
"Gaining weight and having bigger body will make you look great on any clothing. Men with strong body are very attractive to women. General people tend to admire big muscle too." -mbijay
That's a mighty big gap in numbers (I won't say strength). When I corrected my form I could also finally bring the bar down to my chest and felt less shoulder discomfort, but I only got stronger.
I think you need to get used to the changes and keep improving your form. Dave Tate's Six Week Bench Press Cure answered every question I had about the bench press and more. For me I am comfortable pushing the bar in a relatively straight path and keeping my heels on the floor, still tucked under the bench. It's just my speculation that you have a weak link in your form somewhere that needs fixing.
Best of luck.
With your old form you were not engaging your lats. Now by bringing the bar lower, the lats become a much bigger part of the movement in both the lowering and pressing of the bar. So, you either have weak lats, do not know how to use them while beching, or a combination of both.
Here's a great exercise to teach you how to use your lats with your new found form. By the way, I'm no longer as voluptuous as I was in the vid.
Can't give you a time frame, but you have trained your CNS in the old way you have done it, its used to it, it knows how to fire that way, now that it is a different movement it will jsut take some time to get used to. So i wouldn't worry a ton about it.