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Building the Bench Press

Why are some lifters better bench pressers than others?

Building the Bench Press

Body type plays a big role. A long torso and short arms are optimal - just the opposite for the deadlift. Lamar Gant may argue this, having held the bench press and deadlift world records at the same time, but, Lamar is the exception, not the rule.

It's important to position yourself correctly on the bench. The most common method is to keep your feet flat on the floor, arch the back to elevate your chest, clench your knees to the sides of the bench, pull your shoulder blades together, bring in lots of air, and hold your breath before taking a handout until the press is completed. Don't experiment with different grips or let strangers change your form at a meeting.

Where do you place the bar on the chest?

This must be determined individually. The elbows must be under the bar at all times. As Mike Bridges said, the forearms should remain vertical. For example, someone with long upper arms will place the bar well below the chest. This would be wrong for a lifter with short arms, because the elbows would be closer to the face than the bar, forcing the lifter to use too much delt and hardly any triceps. A high chest position for a long upper arm lifter would result in a modified triceps extension because the fists would be closer to the face than the elbows. Your forearms act like columns to hold up a bar. A vertical column is stronger than one that is tilted.

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