Want to optimize your bench press? This exercise can provide big gains in a short amount of time, if done properly. Before your next bench press, ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are doing your best and achieving top-notch results.
Did you pause after lifting off?
First of all, make sure you have a clean lift off – checking that you are at a manageable weight level. Once you lift off, you should pause while the bar is at its highest position, fighting the immediate drop down into your press. During the pause, connect the back of your body to the bench and set your form. Focus your mind and engage your muscles.
Where are your elbows?
You may feel a natural tendency to keep your elbows directly out to your side, but this places some unnecessary strain on your shoulders and elbows. You should narrow your grip and keep your elbows pulled in toward your ribcage as you lower your press. This will help you keep the path of the barbell over your sternum where you want it.
Are you bouncing?
The bar shouldn’t bounce on your body at all; this is not only dangerous, but it also reduces the effectiveness of your training. Don’t use your body to create momentum and sacrifice form just to lift more — you are hurting more than helping. Lower your weight amount and make sure you are only slightly touching the bar to your body. Also, to remove the bounce, consider a slight pause on your chest before you fully extend upward with your arms.
Do you feel your shoulder blades squeezing together?
You shouldn’t. Keeping your shoulder blades stable will create a solid foundation and increase the efficiency of the lift. It will also reduce the motion of your chest, forcing your shoulders and arms to do more work. So keep those shoulder blades down and back while you bench press.
What are your feet doing?
Your feet should be completely flat on the ground. If you are up on your toes, you will have more of a tendency to arch your back, creating strain and losing strength. Your back should not leave the bench — resist the urge to lift your hips and concentrate on sinking your spine into the bench throughout your lift. Try digging your heels into the ground as you press back up.
The next time you go to bench press, consider these questions and perfect your form. Legends are the ones who never stop improving, never stop trying and never stop raising the bar. Contact us today and partner with Legend Fitness for your equipment needs.