The Bench Press isn't just a chest exercise, it's a total body lift; hence its popularity among powerlifters. If you aren't using every inch of your body to drive the bar, you are miles away from setting a personal record Bench! But with practice and these tips, you will be well on your way to impressive strength.
1. Properly Position the Bar
There's nothing worse than seeing an athlete mindlessly getting under the bar. Before you drop in, make sure the bar is even (weights and placement). This is the first chance you get at perfecting your Bench. Don't miss it!
2. Set Your Hands to the Task at Hand
Are you trying for a single rep max? 3-rep? 5-rep? Each one has a different hand placement. Wider is better for a single rep, but wide for 5 reps puts a ton of stress on the shoulders. No two lifters are the same, so find what works best and feels comfortable and then consistently employ that width.
3. Tighten Your Body
If you are you are rocking side to side on the bench or flailing and flopping your feet, you aren't ready. Before starting a Bench Press, place your feet in a tight and locked position on the floor and set your back and shoulders securely into the pad, squeezing them as tight as possible to keep from moving. Before liftoff, drive your feet into the ground, push your shoulders down, brace your core and get ready to lift.
4. Pull the Bar to You
You don't want a free fall from the bar. You want to actively bring it to your chest. This keeps your lats engaged and sets you up to drive the bar away. Don't be passive. You must be actively strong.
5. Drive! Drive! Drive!
Whenever you lift, your intention should always be to drive the bar away from you. Don't just lift it, attack it. The bar can and will hurt you if you handle it nonchalantly. Focus on driving the bar away as hard as you can by squeezing your lats and pressing the bar.
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