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  1. #1
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    bench press form- advice?

    Im stuck at a current bench press weight now for a while and I think its my form that is the limiting factor...

    I focus on getting "tight" under the bench, pressing my traps together and planting my feet hard on the ground, tighten my abs and glutes and then lift off.
    #1: Ive read some that your to "rest" on your traps with a more extreme arch to your back then what Ive got... Once again, my focus has been on staying tight, not arching. Any truth to the "arch"? And does foot placement come into it? Ive read some as well that they "push" off with their feet and keep them tight under them.
    #2: I think elbow flair is an issue as well. How tucked do they need to be? Ive been catching my elbows getting out there on the heavy lifts and have been incorporating more close-grip bench presses and pressing to the lower abs/chest instead of upper chest to reduce the flair.

    Any advice people? Help a brother out.

  2. #2
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    IMO if you are arching more than feels comfortable, it will have a detrimental impact on your bench. In order to improve your arch people do flexibility exercises. Your feet should be slightly bent at about an 80 degree angle but firmly planted on the ground. As for elbows, it's really personal preference. The more tucked in they are the more your triceps are being involved in the lift. However, flairing them out all the way tends to put excess stress on the shoulders. A good balance for your body type is ideal. The best way to improve form is to practice the form with just the bar to get all of your placements correct. Then go for the weight using the same placements.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    Alot of it is personal preference but all the powerlifters i know tuck their elbows and bring the bar down to the lowest part of the chest possible. As for arch do whats comfortable. In competition i see guys with crazy archs and guys with very little arch, me being one of them. Arch will definitelly help if you can get a good arch that feels comfrotable because it greatly decreases your range of motion, im just really unflexable.

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    Just outta curiosity...what weight are you stuck at? Mabye its mental...Because I know when I first saw my 2pps it freaked me out a little but you just gotta lay down like its any other lift and say...All right bitch...me and you...I dunno might be form might not be...and I'd do anything kevin said...Hes strong as a mother****er for his weight

  5. #5
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gutz981
    Just outta curiosity...what weight are you stuck at? Mabye its mental...Because I know when I first saw my 2pps it freaked me out a little but you just gotta lay down like its any other lift and say...All right bitch...me and you...I dunno might be form might not be...and I'd do anything kevin said...Hes strong as a mother****er for his weight
    mental wise i dont even think about the weight, obviously i want my body to know its some heavy sh*t so im prepaired to support it but dont think "oh shiit oh shiit 3 plates..." just do the lift, focus on the form and the motion and visualize yourself lifting it not the weight itself.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DNL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinStarke
    mental wise i dont even think about the weight, obviously i want my body to know its some heavy sh*t so im prepaired to support it but dont think "oh shiit oh shiit 3 plates..." just do the lift, focus on the form and the motion and visualize yourself lifting it not the weight itself.
    If you don't pay attention to the weight, then how do you know what you are putting on the bar?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DNL
    If you don't pay attention to the weight, then how do you know what you are putting on the bar?
    Hehe. He means during the lift. Just focus on performing the lift rather than the weight that you are trying to push/pull. He's not saying don't pay attention to what you're putting on the bar...
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  8. #8
    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shao-LiN
    Hehe. He means during the lift. Just focus on performing the lift rather than the weight that you are trying to push/pull. He's not saying don't pay attention to what you're putting on the bar...
    Exactly, maybe i worded it wrong but obviously you want to know what weight is on the bar thats common sense im just saying when your bringing the bar down dotn be thinking "oh crap this 315" just focus on the motion.

  9. #9
    B+D+S = 1 Massive Mofo
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    Yeah I believe once you get to the two plates, its like whoa wtf am I doing here? just take a deep breath and tell yourself you'll complete it. If that doesn't work give it a week or so of hard training. If that still doesn't work revert to dumbbells and come back to it.
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  10. #10
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    gettin 2 plates is a nightmare for some people. i been stuck on 90 kilo since i was 17, and im now 20. im bloody pathetic in that area.

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    Senior Member DNL's Avatar
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    if mentally you are having problem, just load the weigh with like 10's and 5'. I also feel that using more plates make the bar more balance. This could also be a mental thing though. I'm not sure if there's any truth in that.

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    I dont think its a mental thing. Im stuck at the brink of a 315 lift... Ive got it for singles but never doubled it up or anything... Im a one trick pony when it comes to that. For example, inside a squat rack I pushed 315 5 times, all singles. Ive been pushing 315 for singles for about a year, now. My deads have shot up, my squats are up there, too... but that freakin' bench aint budgin'.
    Im incorporating floor lifts and maybe some work off the pins in the rack... I notice that at about 4 inches off my chest I stall like mad... I think my triceps need to come more into play as well. Im going to do more close grip bench work. Im benching the same weight on a incline as I am on a flat bench -comfortably... WTF?
    Thanks for all the advice.

  13. #13
    Banned Pasha's Avatar
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    When my bench started capping off I started doing dips, and switched to DB press for 1 or 2 sessions. Went back and I could add more weight. Personally I need to switch it up a bit.

  14. #14
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    Every time I try and drive with my legs, my butt tries to leave the bench. So basically my legs just hang around and don't help me at all.

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    Stuck at 315 for a year? you my man have hit a serious plateau hit the DBs or something change it up...I'd understand a few months...but a year? This must be conqured...I reccomend you hit the DBs

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    Db's are not a problem... I hit them up if not every other week then on a 2 bench 1 db split. Maybe it is psychological. I just think Im to a point where my form has gotten me to around 315- and I need to make subtle adjustments to my form in order to advance. Ive pinpointed my stall point on my bench, and weak(er) triceps in relation to the rest of my muscles used in a bench/db press. Now to do something about it, eh?

    Thanks for all the advice...

  17. #17
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    how much do you weigh?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingmetal
    Im stuck at a current bench press weight now for a while and I think its my form that is the limiting factor...

    I focus on getting "tight" under the bench, pressing my traps together and planting my feet hard on the ground, tighten my abs and glutes and then lift off.
    #1: Ive read some that your to "rest" on your traps with a more extreme arch to your back then what Ive got... Once again, my focus has been on staying tight, not arching. Any truth to the "arch"? And does foot placement come into it? Ive read some as well that they "push" off with their feet and keep them tight under them.
    #2: I think elbow flair is an issue as well. How tucked do they need to be? Ive been catching my elbows getting out there on the heavy lifts and have been incorporating more close-grip bench presses and pressing to the lower abs/chest instead of upper chest to reduce the flair.

    Any advice people? Help a brother out.
    Could be a form issue, but if you change your form, you'll probably be weaker for a while.

    Arching will definately reduce your ROM and can help you bring your legs/hips and upper back into the lift a little more. I posted about arching in the powerlifting forum (see the "Benching in Japan" thread).

    I don't know what you are doing for your bench workouts, but if you decide to tuck the elbows in more, you'll need more tricep strength. Hammer the crap out of them (heavy)! Make sure that you are pushing in a straight line also - if the bar is drifting forward and back, you are increasing the distance the bar has to travel. Common sense, but a lot of lifters bring the bar to their sternum and then push the bar back up over their face. I guess this helps them bring their shoulders into the lift, but it's not necessary if your triceps are up to par and I'd much rather lose a lift over my belly than over my face...

  19. #19
    Senior Member Canadian Crippler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei
    Make sure that you are pushing in a straight line also - if the bar is drifting forward and back, you are increasing the distance the bar has to travel. Common sense, but a lot of lifters bring the bar to their sternum and then push the bar back up over their face. I guess this helps them bring their shoulders into the lift, but it's not necessary if your triceps are up to par and I'd much rather lose a lift over my belly than over my face...
    Even if your triceps are up to par this method can still help in completing the lift. It's not a bad thing if it works.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Crippler
    Even if your triceps are up to par this method can still help in completing the lift. It's not a bad thing if it works.
    A lot of powerlifters, namely Dave Tate and Louie Simmons, would disagree with you. Do you have anything constructive to add?

  21. #21
    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    Could be a form issue, but if you change your form, you'll probably be weaker for a while.

    Arching will definately reduce your ROM and can help you bring your legs/hips and upper back into the lift a little more. I posted about arching in the powerlifting forum (see the "Benching in Japan" thread).

    I don't know what you are doing for your bench workouts, but if you decide to tuck the elbows in more, you'll need more tricep strength. Hammer the crap out of them (heavy)! Make sure that you are pushing in a straight line also - if the bar is drifting forward and back, you are increasing the distance the bar has to travel. Common sense, but a lot of lifters bring the bar to their sternum and then push the bar back up over their face. I guess this helps them bring their shoulders into the lift, but it's not necessary if your triceps are up to par and I'd much rather lose a lift over my belly than over my face...

    Sorry for the thread necromancy ...

    Anyway, it was pointed out to me this past weekend that I need to concentrate on pushing the bar up in a straight line.

    Do you have any pointers or cues for this? You'd think it would be obvious, however my brain does not work like that apparently.

    I also seem to have a, I guess you could call it, a "balance" issue ... what I mean is, my right side tends to "twist" the bar so that it's not an even keel as I press the weight up. Would db pressing help with this, do you think?
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  22. #22
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Focused70 View Post
    Do you have any pointers or cues for this? ?
    Where do you touch the bar when you come down?
    Where does the bar sit in your hands?
    Do you have your elbows tucked or flared?

    If I tuck my elbows too much, I tend to push back too much. Maybe you are doing the same thing?
    Also, if I touch really low, then I tend to press in an arc too. If I flare my elbows just slightly and touch the bar to my lower chect, I tend to have a straighter bar path.

    Anybody else have anything to add?
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  23. #23
    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Where do you touch the bar when you come down?
    Where does the bar sit in your hands?
    Do you have your elbows tucked or flared?

    1. On my chest, but you know, I've never paid attention to where exactly. Most of the vids I've been looking at say on or below the nipple area. It's probably something I have to get used to by practicing more often.

    2. Not on my heels, that's for sure. I didn't know about that until this past weekend. I'm usually grasping the bar during the entire movement.

    3. I think they're flared. I've never quite gotten the whole arms 45-degree angle thing.

    This vid -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c -- mentions something about an elbow correction. I'm not really clear on it. Just saw it again ... am I rotating them slightly outwards and do I keep them rotated for the duration of the set?

    Do people usually bench with their feet on the bench or on the floor?
    Last edited by Focused70; 05-23-2011 at 06:26 PM.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Focused70 View Post
    1. On my chest, but you know, I've never paid attention to where exactly. Most of the vids I've been looking at say on or below the nipple area. It's probably something I have to get used to by practicing more often.

    2. Not on my heels, that's for sure. I didn't know about that until this past weekend. I'm usually grasping the bar during the entire movement.

    3. I think they're flared. I've never quite gotten the whole arms 45-degree angle thing.

    This vid -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c -- mentions something about an elbow correction. I'm not really clear on it. Just saw it again ... am I rotating them slightly outwards and do I keep them rotated for the duration of the set?

    Do people usually bench with their feet on the bench or on the floor?
    I'm not entirely sure this is what you are looking for...you've probably already read it but just in case
    http://www.bodybuildinguniverse.com/routine9.htm

    It is a long read but maybe some things in there could be helpful...it does address the issues of numbers 1 and 3 in your above quote.

  25. #25
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    I weight 210lbs, training 3+ years, 15% bf.
    Thanks Sensei and everyone else for good advice. I figured that a change up in my current method would make me a little weaker for a bit... Im prepared for that.
    Ready to chest day, now!
    BTW- heres my workout:

    incline DB or Bench 8-10*3
    flat bench 8-10 *3 (or 10-20 *2 if working on explosiveness/bar speed)
    weighted dips 10-15 *3
    hammer strength incline machine 8-10 *2 or
    decline bench press or db press 8-10 *3

    alt weeks: heavy lockouts in squat rack or/
    heavy negatives (150% of 1RM)
    lying or incline db flyes or
    machine crossovers

    finish with some heavy tricep work, close grip bench to failure, rope pulldowns, skullcrushers, etc. I have a seperate arm day so Im hitting tris *2 a week to help bring them up.
    THoughts?

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