I suck at bench. I mean from a technique point of view, I’m quite a good lifter, but it’s not my event. I’m not built for it, and I don’t have the love for it (deadlifts all day baby!). Blowing out my left AC a few years ago didn’t help either. Which means to improve I’ve really gotta bust my balls.
So here’s 5 fast hacks to get your bench up.
1.When you bench, you’re like a bulldozer. Like the bulldozer’s shovel moves the dirt, your hands move the bar. But the shovel (hands) are simply contacting the dirt (bar), they’re not really moving it. Try and picture your core as being like the engine, and your feet like the caterpillar tracks. Engage your core as hard as you can and drive hard into the ground with your feet
2. Experiment with different lifting equipment; belt, shoes, wraps. It really does make a difference. My personal preference at the moment is wraps and flat soft shoe (but I’m fickle and I’ll change again!). But play around til you find what works for you. If you do wear a belt put it on tight.
3. Squeeze your middle traps together and drive your upper back down hard into the bench. If you’ve a wide hand position and arms like a T-Rex this may mean you’ll need help lifting the bar out of the rack – if it’s a heavy % lift anyway you would be well off to have a spotter.
4. Experiment with hand and foot position. A wider hand position is more biomechanically efficient, but it places greater stress on your shoulder girdle and tends to lead to more tears in the pec insertion. So if you’re pre-disposed to shoulder injuries get that sorted first before you start working out to a wide hand grip for bench.
5. Pause like a powerlifter. Yep pausing sucks. No-one likes it. Do you know why you have to pause in compeition? So you can’t cheat. Plain and simple. Look, if you’re doing a 10×10 you’re not gonna be pausing your reps by the end – that’s just realistic. But at the very least always go full range of motion and don’t bounce the bar. If you’re working above 65%, you really should be pausing most of your lifts if you want to get stronger.