Bench Press Tip: Let the Bar “Settle”
I’ve been working my way back from a pesky back injury for the past few months, and while I’ve made some awesome progress as of late (back to full squatting 315 for reps, and just started incorporating some heavy(ish) pulling into the mix), the guy who writes my programs – Greg Robins – has been making me bench press like no one’s business.
Photo Credit: Andrew Blight
This isn’t to imply that “bench pressing like no one’s business” means I’ve been putting up some impressive numbers. To that I say:
1. I’ve never been shy to say how much I hate bench press pressing.
2. And the reason for that is because I’ve never been good at it.
3. I hate bench pressing.
Giving myself some credit – my best performance on the bench press (raw, at a bodyweight of 200) is 315 lbs. Albeit it never would have seen a white light in any powerlifting federation, unless the name of it was the NBOTB (National Butt Off the Bench) Federation.
A 315 lb bench press for a raw lifter at 200 lbs isn’t too shabby, but it’s certainly nothing to brag about. However, truth be told the bench press is a lift I’ve never placed a high priority on. And it shows.
So as it happens, “bench pressing like no one’s business” means I’ve been benching a lot lately, which has been both good and bad. Good in the sense that I’m starting to see my numbers creep up to non-abysmal territory again. Bad in that I still hate bench pressing. But like a bro, I need to persevere!
Which brings me to the topic of today’s post. A common mistake I see a lot of people make when benching is rushing into the press itself and NOT allowing the bar to settle after a hand-off. Watch this video to understand more of what I mean.
Let the Bar “Settle” Before You Press
Yes, all the same rules apply to the set up: Shoulders together and down, chest up, slight arch, drive feet into the ground, don’t destroy the back of your pants.
NOTE: Read HERE why getting a hand-off is so crucial.
But learning to settle the bar is something that’s universally glossed over by a lot of trainees.
Hope that cue helps.