Leg Drive on the Bench – The Basics
Leg drive is something that is often talked about when discussing the bench press, but is rarely seen implemented correctly (if at all). While leg drive isn’t necessarily the magic potion that it can seem, it is a key component to a well executed bench press. If you have trouble maintaining your set shoulder position, or find that you keep getting pushed out of position by heavier loads – this article is for you! If you’re struggling with the entire bench press setup, check out our bench press tip videos here – Bench Tips 1/3
When we are teaching a new trainee how to bench, we will teach the ‘basics’ of leg drive. This is not to imply that there is some ‘advanced’ level technique being kept secret. It is simply that when teaching a beginner we are aiming to have a consistent, dependable and perhaps most importantly – REPEATABLE platform from which to bench press. Consistent and repeatable are very important factors, if training is practice then we need to be practicing the same thing every time. You don’t get better at your backhand in tennis by practising serving, forehands and spinning nunchucks around. You drill backhands!
Why do we want to use leg drive?
Leg drive on the bench press should aim to achieve these key things:
1. Drive more weight on to our traps/top of the shoulder blades (reinforcing or improving our position of scapular retraction and depression)
2. Maintain a solid position when the external load of the barbell comes into contact with the chest in the bottom position
By doing these things, we promote a rigid bench press position that is better able to transfer force into the barbell. Once you are comfortable with the basics, you can begin practising the application of leg drive to help initiate the movement from the bottom position of the bench press.
For a visual demonstration, please see the video below where coach Chris takes you through things. Bonus points if you count the number of times he says ‘yeah?’.