Every football athlete loves to bench, plain and simple. One of the first questions asked by one player to another is, “How much do you bench?” Without a doubt, it’s an ego-building lift, but it also offers numerous strength benefits—if performed properly.
According to Tom Moffitt, head strength coach at Louisiana State University, the bench is “probably the most abused exercise in strength and conditioning,” but when set up properly, it can serve as a sport-specific, total body exercise. “It’s going to be more similar to how we punch in football,” he says.
Below, Moffitt lays out six tips for improving your bench press. Try them out, and the next time you give out your bench number, it’ll mean more than just boosting your ego.
1. Place hands on bar and grip shoulder width apart
2. Arch back while lying on bench
3. Keep butt in contact with bench throughout movement
4. Make sure feet are pulled under knees
5. Contract glutes, hamstrings, and quads and pop body into bar during concentric phase