Well folks, from the land of YouTube comes a video with the impressive-sounding title, "30 Reps of 315 Bench." Watch it and you will indeed be impressed—that this poor guy's L3 vertebrae didn't go shooting through the ceiling.
The video, from "Flexforall," features a fair amount of preamble before the Bench Press. If you skip ahead to the 9:30 mark, you'll see the lifter hammer out those reps—while also scrunching his back like he's performing in a limbo contest.
Although the arched back method is popular in some powerlifting circles—because it can make lifting max weight a little easier—arching your back like this puts your spine in an extremely compromised position, dramatically increasing your risk of injury over what it would be if you lowered the weight a bit and used proper form.
RELATED: Perfect Your Bench Press Technique
Athletes should be especially wary of the back arching modification, since arching your back while benching reduces range of motion. It's definitely not how you should go about building functional strength for your sport.
Although a slight arch in the back can occur when you bench—because you need to engage your glutes and core while pulling your shoulders back—you definitely don't want to be in wheel pose when you're hitting your reps. So although the arched back modification may be okay for some powerlifters, for everybody else it's cheating. And rather than cheating (and putting your body at greater risk in the process), simply use less weight and perform full reps to develop strength through a full range of motion. Your spine will thank you for it.
Check out the video above to learn how to add weight to your Bench Press the right way.
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