The bench press is often the first exercise that many gym-goers go to when asked about their workout stats. “How much do you bench, bro?” is that common question asked by the water fountain at the gym.
But it’s surprising how few are performing the lift with technique that will allow them to see through to their potential.
Today we got NSCA-certified trainer Guy Forster, bossman of Alpha Fitness, dropping by to share a fast tip for how to properly cue yourself up for the bench press:
When performing a bench press, think “pull” not “push” just like how a squat is about a hip hinge and not knee flexion (for the most part).
Most trainees tend to just “push” when performing the lift.
The exercise becomes primarily a front deltoid and tricep exercise and more importantly, the stress is taken off the pecs.
When you get under the barbell think of your arms as “pulling” towards each other (as in a fly). Yes, when holding a bar, your hands will not move, but simply visualize it and try to activate more fibers.
This results in more pectoral major/minor stimulation.
Here is a simple analogy to help further clarify how you should be gripping the bar:
While performing a back extension on a back extension bench (used to be known as a “hyper extension”) place your achilles on the pads (as per usual). Bend at the waist and come back up. The stimulation? Mainly the erector spinae. Now, from the bent over position, try your best to curl the pads towards you as in doing lying leg curls on a machine.
The pads will not move obviously, but the result will be FAR more hamstring and glute involvement while activating the lower back minimally.
But it’s often the simple things that bring about the results you are looking for when you are under the bar.
To learn more about Vancouver, BC, based NCSA-certified personal trainer Guy Forster, and his outfit Alpha Fitness, visit him online by clicking here.