Shaun came to us after a long break from lifting, looking to eventually get back into competitive powerlifting. Of the three lifts, his bench press needs the most work. This is a clip from earlier this week, which I took to demonstrate some of the things I DON’T want to happen.
Please note: the rep where I comment ‘that’s a good one’ does not refer to it being a good rep, rather that it would be a good demonstration of things I want to change (ie, it was a bad rep).
So from this footage, what can we see?
1: Steve is way too camera shy. A man that pretty needs to be shown to the world.
2: Setting up without including the barbell in the system (hands on the bench pad to set shoulders) – this prevents Shaun getting as tight as possible. You can definitely get tight with this method, but Shaun is not.
3: Setting up too far down on the bench (when he unracks the bar, the distance travelled to get the bar over his shoulder is huge). This is a big one – reaching this far back will pull your shoulder blades out of position. Give it a go – set your shoulders tight and then reach overhead.
4: Elbows flared too much on the way down – this creates a more vertical bar path (bar will touch too high on the chest) and puts the elbows behind the bar at the bottom. You can see the elbows dip forward of the bar when pushing off the chest.
5: Not keeping things tight in general (lats, legs, butt). There is a lot of tension to be gained just from proper setup – this is largely a practice thing. Get good at one thing, this frees up attention to work on another etcetc.
There were some other issues with the way in which he was setting up/getting tight and how that influenced the press, but they are hard to see in this video and this is long enough already. I hope this gives some of you out there a few things to improve on in your own bench work.
As always, if you live in Sydney and would like some help with your technique – come check us out.