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Brian Stone
10-26-2009, 11:20 AM
Being tall and having long levers, I've always struggled with making gains in bench press. in reading on this recently, I read that a big problem is elbow flaring with tall guys. In doing some research on this I eventually stumbled upon the following:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP3g-I9Sf9s

What he says makes a lot of sense. So, for those with knowledge in this area, is this mostly a gimmick for increasing numbers for weight moved, which would mainly be useful for competitive lifters? My interest is in increasing strength generally, not in having an impressive number on the bar. I have no competitive aspirations on the horizon.

If, OTOH, this is healthier on the elbows / shoulders, mechanically advantageous and conducive to hypertrophy then I will incorporate the technique into my current lifting. Also, it seem that it could get around the tall guy problem of fatiguing stabilizers before obtaining desired large muscle stimulus due to the huge ROM, which would be useful to me.

Thoughts?

Brian Stone
10-26-2009, 11:35 AM
One other point that might be worth mentioning here is that I have somewhat naturally starting doing this in my press, at least the elbow portion. Rather than keeping my elbows out directly below the point where my hands contact the bar, I tuck my elbows in and point them forward, which is more comfortable for me and has lent some strength and stability to the movement. Not sure if that is relevant.

Steven Low
10-26-2009, 01:04 PM
Do it this way (aka the way you are supposed to do it).

Full body tension will give you better neural activation and lead to better strength/mass gains.

It's not like the extra ROM is going to be beneficial, at least from a shoulder health point of view. There's other things that would be more beneficial for more ROM like pullups and dips anyway.

Brian Stone
10-28-2009, 07:30 PM
Stevec, thanks for the reply.


Did this tonight when I did bench and noticed a few things. May be things that just come with time, but a few questions/observations:

1) I didn't feel a great deal of direct chest involvement at all. I had to use a slightly closer grip to bring my shoulders and elbows in tight, so I recruited triceps more

2) I had difficulty maintaining the position through all 5 reps, especially heavy. Puts decent strain on the lower back

3) Glutes and hams felt almost more tired than upper body from the lifts.


I would imagine, like the press, that this form becomes more comfortable and sustainable with time?

Steven Low
10-28-2009, 08:02 PM
Yeah. Bench should be a full body exercise.. so if you're not used to the tension you will adapt.

Allen Yeh
10-29-2009, 03:19 AM
Brian check out the T-nation article/video that Dave Tate did.

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/dave_tates_sixweek_bench_press_cure

Martin Bonn
10-29-2009, 05:09 AM
Hey,

first, Tate is excellent with powerlifting and he really knows his stuff! if i was a powerlifter/interested in having the biggest weight possible on the bar, i would go his way!
I'm also tall with long levers and i feel your pain!
let's also be clear that being strong and lifting the heaviest weight possible are not necessarily the same thing. you said you are after being strong.
i also agree with SL that you should have full bodytension whichever way you are doing the exercise.
BUT, i think that the powerlifting way is geared to lifting as much as possible (obviously) and you mentioned that you didn t feel as much chest involvement: well that s the case, because it uses your triceps heavily to cope with the large load.
i would prefer the way rippetoe teaches the bench if you are just after getting strong, i ve used it for a while and never had any shoulder problems. and you won t get them if your shoulder and elbow are aligned correctly.
but this is just my opinion, in the end you ve got to do what you feel gets you the most benefit, so if you want to try Tate’s way, go ahead! jut do what SL said and give it a proper go for a while so you can get used to the different positions!

best of luck!

Brian Stone
10-29-2009, 05:47 AM
What Martin brings up is sort of my point in starting this. Steven mentioned that Dave's way is the "correct" way, and yet it's definitely a much different technique than that taught by Rippetoe (closer to the "standard" BP that Tate hates). As I'm interested in overall strength, I'm not concerned with looking more impressive at the gym or making a better PL total, as Tate seems to be suggesting is the primary motivation in the article.

It's noteworthy as well that the form Tate teaches in the video I linked and the one in Allen's article from him are not the same, which just adds to the confusion. I'm definitely concerned with keeping my shoulders healthy. Overall, I really just feel like Tate's technique is so different that it's practically a different exercise; it's closer to a decline BP than a flat BP.

Gavin Harrison
10-29-2009, 09:42 AM
I would imagine, like the press, that this form becomes more comfortable and sustainable with time?

I've heard high level powerlifters say that if you're comfortable at all while bench pressing, that you're doing it wrong.

Charles Bean
10-29-2009, 12:53 PM
What Martin brings up is sort of my point in starting this. Steven mentioned that Dave's way is the "correct" way, and yet it's definitely a much different technique than that taught by Rippetoe (closer to the "standard" BP that Tate hates). As I'm interested in overall strength, I'm not concerned with looking more impressive at the gym or making a better PL total, as Tate seems to be suggesting is the primary motivation in the article.

It's noteworthy as well that the form Tate teaches in the video I linked and the one in Allen's article from him are not the same, which just adds to the confusion. I'm definitely concerned with keeping my shoulders healthy. Overall, I really just feel like Tate's technique is so different that it's practically a different exercise; it's closer to a decline BP than a flat BP.

This is kind of the point. We're stronger in a decline bp both because of reduced ROM and because of better leverages. The better leverages part is the one you should be concerned with. Taking advantage of those better leverages to allow heavier and heavier pounds (once your form adapts and you feel more comfortable) will keep putting progressive overload on not only the big primary movers but also the RC, ant. serrratus, and other stabilizers. Also, by adopting that setup you'll be strengthening and developing better control over some muscles that are often weakened in most people like the lower traps and rhomboids.

And, as has already been said, benching that way should serve to keep your shoulders relatively healthy long-term and allow you to do more work, which is after all the goal.

Brian Stone
10-29-2009, 04:52 PM
I appreciate the feedback. I guess at the end of the day I'm just going to get under the bar and try it for a while and see what I think. If it doesn't work for me, can't hurt to just revert back to a Rippetoe style press, that I've more or less done forever anyway.

Martin Bonn
10-29-2009, 04:58 PM
you got that right brian! in the end it s about your goals! give it a shot, if it works, keep it, if not, lose it!
i m a fan of the rippetoe bp, not because it think it s better, but because it suits my needs! (having said that, i bench so rarely now, it doesn t matter which style i m trying to do, my body can t remember either way!)

Derek Simonds
10-30-2009, 04:15 AM
I am also tall with really long levers and the bench is the bain of my exercise existence. I have done both styles Rips and Tates. I definitely favor the way Tate does it. I can tell the difference in the way my shoulders feel.

Like Martin said and you said find what works for you. I will tell you that I have been working on Tate's method for almost a year now to get where I can consistently setup under the bar and not feel completely uncomfortable. The only other challenge I have with the way he teaches is that I am not strong enough to use that technique for higher rep sets, anything above 5 and my form starts going to crap.

And for clarity I am still a crappy bencher so ymmv.

Donald Lee
10-30-2009, 12:15 PM
It seems to me that the only differences in their techniques are the lower bottom position and the J-hook vs. straight bar path. Am I correct?

Martin Bonn
10-30-2009, 02:00 PM
i think there s a bit more:
back arch, feet position, shoulder angle, upper body contact with the bench etc....

Charles Bean
10-30-2009, 03:14 PM
One thing that will probably help you feel MUCH more comfortable getting into the setup, maintaining form while benching, and feeling much stronger is to use some light tacky spray on the bench, if possible. If not, perhaps on your upper back. That way when using leg drive and working to keep your chest up throughout the press, you'll find a wonderful "wall" to push against and receive power from. It's like deadlifting in Nike Shox vs deadliting in Oly shoes - something to push against that doesn't have any give.

Donald Lee
10-30-2009, 04:16 PM
i think there s a bit more:
back arch, feet position, shoulder angle, upper body contact with the bench etc....

I think they hold the same positions for all of those except for feet position. Feet position don't mean much though. Most powerlifters push off their balls, while Rip advocates pushing off the heel. That's not a big deal in my opinion. I think the rest are all the same with Rip, except it just looks a lot more pronounced with Dave Tate since he has a powerlifting background where it's more important.

Martin Bonn
10-31-2009, 05:20 AM
I think they hold the same positions for all of those except for feet position. Feet position don't mean much though. Most powerlifters push off their balls, while Rip advocates pushing off the heel. That's not a big deal in my opinion. I think the rest are all the same with Rip, except it just looks a lot more pronounced with Dave Tate since he has a powerlifting background where it's more important.

hmmm i guess you could say that Tate's way is just a more 'extreme' version.
but i think the stronger arch (which inpart is due to the foot position) and the pushing off the traps (i.e. making it like a decline BP) are quite significant changes.