How do you set up for a Bench Press? Do you lie on the bench, unrack the bar and just go to town pressing? Or do you take your time to set up and cue yourself to use optimal technique?
If you answered yes to the first question, stop and read this article and learn how to properly set up for the Bench Press.
Once you have mastered these cues and setup techniques, it's time to add another cue to strengthen your bench technique even more. Proper shoulder positioning is vital to maintain healthy shoulders and protect against injury, not to mention the benefit it can have on your pressing strength and stability. This cue helps to put your shoulders in an optimal position and keep them there.
So here it is: Once you get under the bar with your feet set and your upper-back tight on the bench, grab the bar—but don't just grab and go. Try to screw your shoulder blades into the bench counter-clockwise as you simultaneously pull them down the bench toward your butt. You should instantly feel your back get tighter. You will also notice your upper arms rotate slightly; this is exactly the position you want.
These cues ensure optimal shoulder position. When you hold this position throughout the whole eccentric and concentric portion of the press, you make it impossible for your elbows to flare out.
Check the difference in position below:
You can see a big difference in the position of the shoulders. Use this cue instead of just thinking about tucking your elbows! This creates the solid foundation needed to lift heavier weight. If you do it correctly, you may notice you're able to press more weight than you ever have.
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