power benching technique

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by scientific muscle, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    I have added 35 pounds to my bench press in ONE MONTH!

    It seems crazy, but I did it.  On 6/13/07 I benched 185 for 3 sets of 5.  On 7/13/07 I benched 220 for 3 sets of 5!!! [​IMG]
    I know these numbers are actually very weak by powerlifting standards, but I am still happy with the insanely rapid increase and I believe ALOT has to do with perfecting my technique.

    1)For me it was important to maximize arch and get my chest up away from the bench as far as possible...this does two things. a)minimizes range of motion b)allows the pecs and lats to get more involved as the angle of push changes to resemble more of a decline bench.

    2)I squeeze my shoulder blades 'up' and 'back' like I am doing a shrug, this stabilizes my shoulders and also minimizes range of motion.

    3)Keep the bar below the nipples and almost on the belly area.  This took me awhile to get used to but keeping the bar lower on the chest allowed my muscles to get more leverage once I got accustomed to it.

    4)Finding the ideal grip width.  For me the ideal grip is middle fingers on the rings, I can get maximum torque this way.  Too wide and I have trouble pushing off the chest, too narrow and I lose power.

    5)This one is directly related to number 3.  Once you get used to keeping the bar low on the chest, keeping the elbows tucked in gives more power.  At first tucking the elbows caused me to lose power and hurt my shoulders.  But once I got used to keeping the bar low on the chest and pushing in that arc, I found that tucking the elbows close to the body really does give me extra torque, the front delts, triceps and upper pecs really get into the lift this way, and with the proper arch of your back, your lower pecs and lats are involved heavily too, so all the muscles work together to maximize power!

    I think I will definitely hit my goal of benching 1.5 X bodyweight by year's end, and technique is way more important than I ever thought.
     
  2. bgates1654

    bgates1654 New Member

    This is pretty much what Starting Strength says to do.

    I am not so sure about the "up" part of the should blade movement. The "back" motion also give more stretch in the pecs too.

    Technique is critical for lifting anything heavy I think. I discovered even OHP had a lot of technique to it. Once I got pretty good at the way Riptoe describes how it is done, I am OHPing a lot more than other people my size, even if they only go to the chin or nose. Most people just think "oh you just press the bar over head."
     
  3. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

  4. lcars

    lcars New Member

    <div>
    (scientific muscle @ Jul. 14 2007,14:21)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I have added 35 pounds to my bench press in ONE MONTH!

    It seems crazy, but I did it.  On 6/13/07 I benched 185 for 3 sets of 5.  On 7/13/07 I benched 220 for 3 sets of 5!!! [​IMG]
    I know these numbers are actually very weak by powerlifting standards, but I am still happy with the insanely rapid increase and I believe ALOT has to do with perfecting my technique.

    1)For me it was important to maximize arch and get my chest up away from the bench as far as possible...this does two things. a)minimizes range of motion b)allows the pecs and lats to get more involved as the angle of push changes to resemble more of a decline bench.

    2)I squeeze my shoulder blades 'up' and 'back' like I am doing a shrug, this stabilizes my shoulders and also minimizes range of motion.

    3)Keep the bar below the nipples and almost on the belly area.  This took me awhile to get used to but keeping the bar lower on the chest allowed my muscles to get more leverage once I got accustomed to it.

    4)Finding the ideal grip width.  For me the ideal grip is middle fingers on the rings, I can get maximum torque this way.  Too wide and I have trouble pushing off the chest, too narrow and I lose power.

    5)This one is directly related to number 3.  Once you get used to keeping the bar low on the chest, keeping the elbows tucked in gives more power.  At first tucking the elbows caused me to lose power and hurt my shoulders.  But once I got used to keeping the bar low on the chest and pushing in that arc, I found that tucking the elbows close to the body really does give me extra torque, the front delts, triceps and upper pecs really get into the lift this way, and with the proper arch of your back, your lower pecs and lats are involved heavily too, so all the muscles work together to maximize power!

    I think I will definitely hit my goal of benching 1.5 X bodyweight by year's end, and technique is way more important than I ever thought.</div>
    well done,its great to see lifts go up like that.

    just be careful as consistent heavy benching will take its toll,moreso when you start to reach heavy poundages.i dont know wether you are on cycle but push too hard too soon and youll feel it after you come off.i know id did,i was going up for 400lb and once i hit 350lb my shoulders started to gripe.,6 months later and they still get sore and now i can only bench 330lb for 5 reps [​IMG] . i switched to dumbells now and they are much happier.

    good luck and enjoy your progress!
     
  5. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    I wonder if it would be better to use DB's if you were on cycle and BB later, since the BB lends itself to injury easier. OTOH, getting a 120 up after you've had to stop it when laying back is a job, man. I always noticed that if I could get that first rep up, I could do some sort of a set with it, but that first push is a beast!
     
  6. lcars

    lcars New Member

    yeah i realised along time ago that db's are better for growth and lower the risk of injury,they also increased my bench as well [​IMG] .

    i think bb is more for strength and boosting ego than anything else,just my opinion.i may go back to bench in time,but ive dropped it for now.

    db's can be tricky if you dont have a spotter once you get above 100lb.
     
  7. RUSS

    RUSS Member

    Congrats , PL style rules. The only major points you left out were leg drive and lat contraction at the very bottom of the lift. Leg drive is actually easiest for a lot of lifters to learn/experience on inclines and then transfer that knowledge to flat , many have a harder time getting the leg drive involved on flat but &quot;feeling&quot; it adding power to incline helps it &quot;click&quot; and can save time if trying to learn it on flat.
    When using PL style lats come into play in a major way at the bottom pause when the signal is given or the home lifter decides to begin the explosive drive up, there is an explosive and marked contraction of the lats that begins the drive, while hard (for me) to describe it (should) occurs right at the very begginning of the upwards push and is almost like what leg drive would be to the push press ( semi lame example but sufficient to make the point) , this really begins what the chest takes over a micro second later but is indispensible in getting past the first common sticking point. Perhaps STeve Jones or Liege would be able to put it into words better than I seem to be doing this morning.

    But hey , congrats on switching to a safer and more powerfull style I predict the weights will continue to climb rapidly for a while as you fine tune your groove
    , sounds like you are doing great! [​IMG]
     
  8. Aaron_F

    Aaron_F New Member

    While the lats are important for controlling the bar, they are somewhat over-rated in the big picture.
     
  9. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    no not 'on cycle'. Haven't been for months. Just good old liftin' produced these strength gains. [​IMG]
     
  10. Slapshotz

    Slapshotz New Member

    are u using that lifting shirt yet? i remember seeing you mention that you got one. if so, how does it feel?
     
  11. style

    style New Member

    I hate to be an ass......but when you totally change your lifting technique so as to make the exercise easier.... and the weight goes up....... thats different from getting stronger.
     
  12. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    ... and so it will be interesting to see how Sci's bench progresses from this juncture. I am sure he will let us know how he gets on.
     
  13. RUSS

    RUSS Member

    <div>
    (Aaron_F @ Jul. 15 2007,18:29)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">While the lats are important for controlling the bar, they are somewhat over-rated in the big picture.</div>
    Aaron F, no disrespect to you personally -but I respectfully disagree... [​IMG]

    An often-overlooked component of the bench press is the use and development of the muscles of the back and in particular the lats. Very few lifters utilize the strength of the lats in their bench press and when they are able to incorporate lat contraction into their exercises, immediate increase is always achieved. Here is how you incorporate the lats into your bench press: Take an empty bar or even a wooden rod and assume the bench press position. Lower the bar to the chest and pause. Instead of driving the weight up with the arms, contract or flare the lats in an outward direction. If you have decent lat development, you should see the bar move several inches off the chest. This takes practice to utilize the lats in this manner, but be persistent and practice over and over with an empty bar, gradually adding weight as you get used to the movement. The eventual goal is to use the lats as sort of a cushion or coiled spring when lowering the bar and then contracting them strongly on the initial drive at the same time you are pressing with the arms. DO NOT walk into the gym tomorrow and attempt this with your max poundageif you do you will fail. I have worked with athletes who have increased their maximum bench press anywhere from 20-50lbs within 2 weeks as a result of using this technique. This also requires strong well-developed lats, which are developed by chins and rowing.(Keith Wassung)

    Big chests do not make big bench presses. Proper technique makes the primary movers the back (latissimus dorsi), triceps, and rear deltoids. (Scott Mendelson)


    the thicker your upper back, the better you are able to use friction between your upper arm and upper lats to lift big weights in the bench press. Moreover, not only does the upper back promote getting out of the hole on its’ own but the friction effect allows athletes to handle greater loads as their leverages decrease (as the bar nears the chest/ upper arm reaches parallel to the floor). The net result is a shorter range of movement to which you actually have to struggle. Results: 5-10% bench press improvements are typical over a few short months. ( Dietrich Buchenholz)


    Remember the first time that you started doing your bench press correctly—without your elbows flaring, without the bar coming to the top of your chest, without bouncing it off your chest, keeping a solid arch and your shoulders pinched back, keeping your shoulders down, and pressing the bar away from you instead of up and back, etc.? C’mon, admit it. It wasn’t easy to make those corrections the first time a powerlifter showed you all the stuff that you were doing wrong and you started getting serious about your bench. But you have to do it! Why? Because if you don’t, you will destroy your shoulders and you will NEVER move the kind of weight that top benchers move if you don’t learn to use your lats.learning to use the lats at the bottom of a bench press or military press is critical to shoulder preservation.(Thomas Phillips)


    Your lats are involved in the bench press to a greater degree than you might think. Your lats help you maintain your arch and stabilize your torso. They also help you lower the weight by providing a &quot;cushion&quot; to lower against and push from at the bottom. The best assistance exercises for lats are rows, rows, and more rows! Barbell and dumbbell rows are the best assistance exercises for the bench press because they train the back through the same horizontal plane as the bench press.(Richie Smyth &amp; Tom Venuto)

    Your back and triceps are the muscles involved in supporting the weight throughout the entire motion. Although the function of the latissimus dorsi is primarily to adduct (bring in) the arms at the shoulder joint, they are also necessary for supporting the triceps.(Brian Schwab, BS, CSCS)




    This technique is way underused and overlooked. The lats play a big part in a strong bench press. By increasing the strength of your lats you can actually add to your bench press. Also by squeezing the lats out and &quot;pushing&quot; with them you will be able to move more weight. Your lats should be flexed throughout the entire movement.(Anthony Church)



    I know based on my own personal experience that learning to utilize lats to the fullest was the very last thing that came together on my benching , and that prior to experiencing the explosive contraction a nano second before chest begins I too was of the mind that they simply controlled the bar (stabilizing and balance) and were overrated. [​IMG]
     
  14. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    I haven't been using the shirt. I used it a couple of times maxing out awhile ago, but I will save it for those occassions when I max out.

    Style...disagree. The technique change was made awhile ago, but this last month saw small strength increases each and every workout, which I equate to strength gains even if they are mostly neural. Its not like I changed grip one day and suddenly I could lift alot more.
     
  15. lcars

    lcars New Member

    to be honest i dont see any point in wearing a shirt at all,when your goal is hypertrophy,ok maybe it will help your raw lifts a little i dont know for sure as i havent used one.but a shirt is for someone who is benching serious poundage ,not the kind we are talking about.i maybe wrong but thats just me.

    one thing i will say is that i started pulling in my shoulders in and getting more intrenched,and my lifts went up 10-20lbs too.
     
  16. Slapshotz

    Slapshotz New Member

    <div>
    (scientific muscle @ Jul. 16 2007,11:34)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I haven't been using the shirt.  I used it a couple of times maxing out awhile ago, but I will save it for those occassions when I max out.</div>
    what's your max both w/wout the shirt? is there a difference?
     
  17. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    Its a very basic, single-ply polyester Blast shirt from Inzer. Considered a very 'light' shirt I only get about 10-15 lb.s extra out of it and extra shoulder support, it only helps at the bottom half of the lift. I don't use it in training or for hypertrophy, I use it for maxing out because it gives me a little extra power and support analogous to a lifting belt used when maxing out on squats.
     
  18. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    I tried your techniques Sci, and I pushed my 5RM even further today. I'll need an entire cycle to adjust the form and validate each method.
     
  19. Slapshotz

    Slapshotz New Member

    <div>
    (scientific muscle @ Jul. 16 2007,14:22)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Its a very basic, single-ply polyester Blast shirt from Inzer.  Considered a very 'light' shirt I only get about 10-15 lb.s extra out of it and extra shoulder support, it only helps at the bottom half of the lift.  I don't use it in training or for hypertrophy, I use it for maxing out because it gives me a little extra power and support analogous to a lifting belt used when maxing out on squats.</div>
    lol, that's what I'm asking...when you did your 3 sets at 220, or whatever it was, were you using the shirt, or can you do actually 235 or more with the shirt?
     
  20. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    Sorry, slapzshot I misunderstood you...I haven't used the shirt in awhile, The 220 for 3x5 was 'raw'. [​IMG] Once I reach 225 for 3x6 raw I am going to go for a shirted 275 lift.
     

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