TD1 Minute: Perfect Bench Press Form | STACK
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TD1 Minute: The Bench Press

May 25, 2012

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In this TD1 Minute weekly series, Kurt Hester, National Training Director for D1 Sports Training and a driving force behind The Dominant One Challenge, offers instructional tips on how to master your training and dominate your sport. In week one, Hester provides detailed guidelines on proper Bench Press technique. For more information on the TD1 Challenge, visit their website at thedominant1.com.

With the exception of the 40-Yard Dash, the 225 Bench Press is the most hyped test at the NFL Combine. The test measures the number of times a player can Bench Press 225 pounds until failure. There is no time limit. Although the goal is to perform as many reps as possible, the test is pass/fail. The passing requirements for each position are:

  • QB, WR, DB: 8-10 reps
  • RB, LB, TE: 16-18 reps
  • OL, DL: 20 reps

Scouts and coaches regard the 225 Bench Press Test as a baseline for overall strength and a measure of how hard an athlete trains. Although a high score doesn’t guarantee a high draft pick (speed is much more important to most coaches), it does indicate that a player is serious about training and that he’s willing to take care of his body once he’s drafted.

Even if you’re not an NFL Draft pick, you probably perform the 225 Bench Press Test on a weekly basis during your workouts. Build the foundation for a truly massive Bench by following these steps for perfect Bench Press form.

Step 1
Keep a tight thumb-locking grip on the bar at all times. A tighter grip equates to more tension in the lower arms, upper back and chest. This grip is the safest way to hold the bar.

Step 2
Lie on the bench with your back, hips and glutes tight and feet on the floor. Keep your chest up, and maintain a slight arch in your back. Your butt should not come off the bench during the exercise. Also, keep your elbows tucked at no more than a 45-degree angle from your sides.

Step 3
Unrack the weight, take a deep breath and hold it. Row the weight down to your lower chest by pulling the bar apart. For this test, don't waste energy by lowering the bar slowly. Pull the bar down and explode up.

Step 4
When you touch the bar to your chest, drive your feet down through the floor and reverse the movement by explosively driving the bar upward.

Step 5
Lock your elbows without losing the arch in your back.

Step 6
Perform as many reps as you can, but stop before failure. Rest with your arms locked out and then knock out a few more. Rest again and perform singles until failure.

Check out our Bench Press guide for articles and videos to help you determine your one-rep max, end your Bench Press plateau and set a personal record.

Kurt Hester
- Kurt Hester is the head strength and conditioning coach at Louisiana Tech. Prior to that, he served as D1’s director of training. In addition, he...
Kurt Hester
- Kurt Hester is the head strength and conditioning coach at Louisiana Tech. Prior to that, he served as D1’s director of training. In addition, he...
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