Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Andy Bolton's bench tips

Although this article is describing how a massively strong bench presser, who competes using gear, added weight to his lift, it's not without use for a beginning lifter.

How to Break Bench Records

Scroll down a bit in the article and you'll find his 5 tips for bench pressing, which I've excerpted here:

5 Things You MUST Do Every Time You Bench Press (If You Want To Press BIG!)

1. Force Your Shoulders Back and Down

To approximate this feeling, hold a mini band at arm's length in front of you and pull the band apart. The feeling as you pull the band apart will be one of tightness in your upper back. This is the feeling you want to re-create when you set up for the bench press. Maintain this position throughout your set.

2. Squeeze Your Glutes Tight

Ths is pretty self-explanatory, but some people struggle with this. If you have dormant glutes that need waking up, then try a couple of sets of glute bridges before you bench. When these become easy, switch to a single leg variation.

3. Get Your Feet Wide

Whether you bench flat footed or up on the balls of your feet, a wide stance will give you stability and balance that supersedes what you can achieve with a narrow stance. Think of how a pyramid is built and you will soon understand.

4. Grip the Bar as Hard As You Can

The harder you grip the bar, the harder your triceps will flex. To supercharge this technique, "break the bar apart" as you bench. Try to feel like you are bending the bar (your left hand will try to rotate counter-clockwise and your right hand will try to rotate clockwise).

5. Bring the Bar to Your Lower Chest/Nipple Line

Nothing will chew up your shoulders faster than benching to your upper chest with your elbows flared. This is a horrible position. Instead, tuck your elbows on the descent and aim to touch the bar to your lower chest on each and every rep. Just remember to keep your forearms perpendicular to the floor at all times.
- Andy Bolton on T-Nation

That's not a bad checklist at all for a bench presses, beginner or intermediate or advanced. The rest of the article is good as well but unless you're benching in a shirt, I don't think the program is that useful.

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