In countless training exercises, we all know that besides completing the exercise itself, core tightening and shoulder sinking are also essentials that cannot be ignored. However, there is such an upper body movement that requires you to use your lower limbs to drive during training. However, when countless friends do this movement, not only do they not use their lower limbs to drive, they also curl up their legs into the air.
I believe you already know, we are talking about the barbell bench press that everyone is familiar with. If you did not realize the “existence” of the leg when doing this exercise, then it is recommended that you relearn the bench press.
For most people, the barbell bench press is done as an upper body exertion exercise. Its target is the chest muscles, but if done correctly, it will become a whole body exertion exercise. You will use your legs. To drive and tighten the whole body, while stabilizing your shoulder straps. However, if the movement is improper, it can cause severe muscle imbalance and eventually chronic shoulder pain. And this will undoubtedly affect your daily activities.
In today’s content, you will learn how to use good techniques to ensure a safe bench press, and maximize the value of the bench press to meet your various needs. This covers most of what you need to know, from reasonable adjustments to correct movements and postures.
The initial adjustment of the correct bench press
For any movement, the correct starting posture is essential for the correct movement, and the bench press is no exception. When you are lying on the bench, make sure your hips, upper back and head are firmly resting on the bench. Align your eyes with the barbell and make sure your neck is in the middle of the barbell to prevent injury.
1. The position of the feet
In any case, both feet are required to step firmly on the floor. In order to find the most suitable position for your feet, it is best to try them one by one.
Under no circumstances should you lift your feet in the air or step on a stool. This will not only make you unable to drive with your legs, but it will also compromise the stability. These are things that must be paid attention to, because this is the prerequisite for you to start right next.
If you lack hip flexibility, get some barbell plates and step on them with your feet.
2. Hand posture and grip
Just like the placement of the feet, the grip and the distance vary from person to person, depending on various factors such as the individual’s proportions, whether they have ever been injured, and the flexibility of the shoulder and wrist joints.
It is recommended that most small partners take a medium grip. A wider grip is usually used by powerlifters in competitions, but for most people, this grip puts more pressure on the shoulders.
No matter which grip you choose, make sure that your wrist is in a neutral position, not overextension, otherwise it will put a lot of pressure on your wrist. This method can lift more weight and generate more power.
It is also important to use a solid grip so that your wrists are not so easy to overextend. The knuckles of the other 4 fingers should be behind the barbell, not underneath.
3. Body tightness
This may be the most important step, because it determines whether you can successfully complete the action correctly, and it is also the most overlooked step for most people.
Tighten your body and prepare your body for bench presses to avoid injury and stabilize your shoulders, allowing you to get more benefits from every movement.
Action step-by-step explanation
1. Tighten your shoulder blades (shrug your shoulders if you find yourself retracting your shoulder blades, you can try to sink your shoulders down at the same time).
You can do this before holding the bar. In layman’s terms, it feels like you are trying to bend the barbell. This will further activate your latissimus dorsi and back muscles.
Tighten the shoulder blades to force the core muscles, gluteus maximus and quadriceps muscles to participate in the action. Remember, the bench press is a full-body exercise! Before mastering the essentials, you may wish to practice with empty bars until you are proficient.
2. Out of the bar
If you have a partner to help out the bar is the best, this can ensure that the body is in a state of tension. If you can’t find someone else to protect? Don’t worry, there is another trick you can do by yourself.
To maintain tension, lift the barbell from the rack with the strength of your back and waist. This can be done to stand tall and sink shoulders.
In most cases, when you try to push up the barbell through your shoulders, your shoulders will also stretch forward, and you will find it difficult to return your shoulders to their original positions.
Correct preparation for bench press
1. Breathe properly
In order to maintain stability throughout the bench press, the role of breathing should be used reasonably. Before the barbell goes down, take a deep breath and hold it. This can be done before the bar is lifted, or after the bar is lifted and before the barbell is lowered. When the barbell is lowered to the chest, it helps the whole body tense up.
There are several different exhalation methods, and which one to use depends on goals and experience. One way is to exhale at the highest point of each movement when the barbell is stable. You can take another deep breath before lowering the barbell again, or you can exhale slowly as you push up the load.
If you have the ability and the level of training is good, you can try to hold a few breaths at a time. Adjust your breathing at the highest point of the action, not at the lowest point of the action!
2. Keep your body tight, lower the barbell to your chest
In order to maintain tightness throughout the movement, keep the latissimus dorsi, other back muscles, abdominal muscles, buttocks and quadriceps continuously activated. For the tightness of the abdominal muscles, hips and quadriceps muscles are the easier parts, just squeeze them.
Keep your back tight, imagine yourself wanting to bend the barbell, and pull it toward your chest muscles. When you actively bend the barbell, your elbows naturally come closer to your body.
Do not open your elbows to 90 degrees, or even perpendicular to your body. This puts pressure on the shoulders and also puts pressure on the elbow joints. Keep your upper arms tense and form a 45-degree angle with your body. To control this, you can keep your latissimus dorsi tight by squeezing your armpits.
Always control the barbell while lowering it to the chest. According to the physiological structure, the barbell should stop somewhere between your sternum and nipple. The forearm is perpendicular to the ground.
Note: It is also very important to keep your head close to the bench during the entire movement to protect the cervical spine. People with insufficient shoulder flexibility and weak neck muscles will raise their heads during bench press. To avoid this, either reduce the weight and make sure to do it in the correct posture.
3. Whole body drive
Before the barbell touches the chest, the body transmits force through the ground to push the barbell up.
When you start to push, step on the ground firmly with your feet and exert force on your heels. Feel your quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and abdominal muscles tense, so you feel more strength when you bench press.
Push up the weight until it is completely locked, and tighten the shoulder blades at all times to prevent the shoulders from moving forward.
4. Line of sight
The line of sight was focused on a certain point on the ceiling. Look at the position where the bar is pushed. This can help you stay focused and tense. Watching the movement of the barbell during the bench press will affect your stability.
These techniques can not only help break through the bottleneck period, but also avoid injuries during the continuous training process. Perform the bench press in the correct way, and you can continue to add weight to both sides of the barbell to hit your new record.
Of course, because everyone’s anatomy is different, there will be many differences in skills, and you need to summarize and adjust yourself.