Benching 95

Eight Technique Tips for a Tighter Bench 

1.  Eyes below the bar.

Incorrect position.
Correct position.

Eyes above the bar means you are too far up on the bench.  Bar movement has to easily clear the rack notches.

Incorrect passive legs.

2.  Active feet on the ground.

Unless you have a lower back issue and need
to say in posterior tilt, feet should be on the ground.

Kick them back and drive the balls of feet into the ground to set the body up for full tension.
Your lower back will arch up, but keep that butt down on the bench.

Correct feet tucked back.  Press into balls of feet, not tip toes. 

If you’re shorter and have a hard time reaching the ground to activate the legs, use plates to bring the ground up to your feet.  (If possible, don’t double stack plates as the top will slide off and negate most of the effect).

3.  Armpit-ish grip.

Low on the pads, not on the knuckles.  Somewhere comfortable within a thumb’s distance of of the armpit.  Make sure hands are balanced and even with each other and the rest of the bar.


4.  SQUEEZE the bar, “rip apart”, and drive shoulder blades down.

This turns on all the right supportive musculature and gives you a stable platform from which to press.

5.  Elbows forward for lift off.

This helps drive scapula downward.

Incorrect elbows.  Don’t flail.

Correct elbows forward.  Yes, it is tricep-press-like.

6.  “Motorcycle Wrists”

Incorrect wrists dropped back.

Correct wrists rolled forward.

This is my term for keeping knuckles up.  Letting the wrist drop back makes your wrists a limiting factor.  You can support a lot more weight comfortably with the wrists lined up with the forearms.

Bar should be low on the hand, in line with the thumb and right on top the pads.

7.  PULL the bar down onto your chest

Don’t let it drop.  Keep tension in the back in which to elastically propel off from.  Elbows should come down at a 45-degree angle (see the lines in green).  This is the same strong angle in which we pull from.  Not a coincidence.

Incorrect elbow placement on the down phase.  Close the elbows in on the ribcage where the green lines are.

8.  Press through INSIDE pad of hand on the way up.

Folks with strong backs tend to only utilize the outside of their hands.  Get the most out of your chest and the lift by driving through the thumb side pads.

Those with shoulder issues should try a FLOOR PRESS.  Laying on the ground stops the elbows from coming down too far and causing anterior glide (shoulder popping forward).

Scooting under a bench can help with heavy lift off.
Using dumbbells allows you to control singular shoulder stability.
Elbows close to ribs and neutral grip (palms facing each other) gets torque off shoulders and onto chest.

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