Benching Not Wenching aka guide to bench press for Chalkers!
Touch of history:
For many years now, bench press has been considered by many to be the most important exercise in the gym.
However, as popular as it is, the bench press in its current form is really less than 100 years old.
Its all started after 1930’s with the movement called floor press ( similar to press performed from the floor so only with half range of motion – very good to train lockout )
In 1970 bench press emerged in power lifting and separated itself. Nevertheless utilized in bodybuilding and more.
In Crossfit cominity - particulary – a little overlooked in my opinion in many boxes out there
Why overlooked we even have WOD ‘’LINDA’’?
The bench press is a great movement to have as a part of your strength program, and one move we consider to be a part of the “big 4’’ lifts ( bench, squat, deadlift and press) . its compound meaning you using a lot of muscles groups - joints at the same time and not to forget very functional.
The bench press is widely known as a “chest” exercise, however, that’s definitely not all it is. The bench uses shoulders, triceps, forearms, lats, and pecs, traps, rhomboids, and pretty much every muscle in your upper body.
However, the bench press doesn’t JUST use your upper body. When you bench properly, you use your lower back, hips, and legs as well ( ever heard coaches que ‘’ push through the heels?’’
Just like our other main lifts the bench press, while putting an emphasis on specific muscle groups, is a full body movement.
Think about it – while you’re benching, the rest of your body is not just lying there doing nothing. Your entire body should be engaged
So you wonna be strong yeah!
You wonna kick ass!
You wonna be alpha !!
The Set up
-sit back on bench and lay back down
-eyes on bar or just under
-palms on the bar evenly ( use knurling ) – NEVER SUICIDE GRIP!!!
-your shoulders pinched
-lats are active
-hips and legs are tight – squeeze your butt!
Stabilizing your entire body to create a solid base and help you generate drive from the entire round.
When you hold the bar, it should be in the heel of the palm – you don’t want to put unnecessary tension on your wrists.
For safety I suggest hold with of the bar outside of shoulders with so you can drag elbows as close as possible to rib cage throughout of movement protecting those precious shoulders from injury!
Once you get comfortable with and know your body better, you may change the width of your grip, as there is wiggle room for personal preference, but this is a great place to start.
Principal is simple, wider your grip more PEC stretch activation you will receive – greater the possibility of injury to shoulder, narrower you hold the bar more impart towards triceps – safer for shoulder in reverse.
Okay Coach , I’m ready! Can we bench already?
Now that we are set up, and we have our hands around the bar, we want to think about not letting our elbows flare out, and having them tucked in.
Last bit to consider is that path of the bar within entire movement.
(just like is squat, press, deadlift, snatch and clean to mention few, a mouthfull ) it should be straight line!!
Imagine If you were travelling to Manchester from London you would go up north right?
Not through Cardiff (unless you love travelling to much and not considering being effective and going the most efficient way from A to B )
When we Lower bar you want to avoid travel towards your belly – It should move direct towards sternum
-not Keeping all body engaged
-make sure your butt stays on bench, its OK to Arch the bench once the weight gets heavy and you really start driving through your heel
-try and not bounce bar off the chest – not only you can crack your ribs but hurt internal organs to.
-stay engaged throughout your body – you are controlling the bar not other way around.
-‘’ hey mate maybe its to heavy – you wont impress me here’’
-NO REP bro! Heard it before??? Start from full extension, lower bar in control to make contact with sternum, full extension to top again!
My best friend – THE MIGHTY SPOTTER
As things getting heavy, my body tired, form going south its always great to have someone behind you who got your back!
How do you ask someone to spot you?
“Hey, will you spot me real quick?” usually works (it’s really that simple!). I’ve never had anyone turn me down, you are all surrounded by great individuals im pretty sure they want you to stay safe, and if it’s a day you are alone in the box
‘’National Bench Press Day?
- coach Koch