Today I am giving you a standard drill we use with our lifters to Build a Better Bench Press in 30 Seconds. This drill will teach you to use your lats to keep your shoulders packed tight!

Keeping the shoulders packed tight is often difficult for beginners to learn and can be frustrating.

What do I mean when I say keeping the shoulders packed?

Lot of coaches use different term for this:

  • Chest up
  • Lats tight
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together
  • Plus a ton more

I’ll explain it as easily as I can. When you set up to bench you need to shorten your stroke to bench the most weight right?

We do this first, by sitting straight up, or standing and practice.

Sit or stand and then squeeze your shoulder blades together as tight as you can,  then pull your right shoulder blade down towards the left glute, and the left one down toward the right glute.  You should feel the muscles in the back working hard. You’ll also notice that your chest will come up.

This is good.

Now relax and do the same drill but this time with your arms extended as if you were going to Bench Press. As you pull the shoulders together and down to opposite sides you should see your arms moving back. This is shortening the stroke.

You can really see the difference if you stand in front of a wall and extend your arms until your fingertips touch the wall with your back relaxed. Do the same drill, shoulder blades back and down to opposite sides. See how much less distance the bar has to move?

If you did it right, your fingertips are further away from the wall. Imagine this is a Bench Press and you don’t have to press the bar as far.

Less distance means more weight.

Now move to the bench and set up. Try your best to engage your lats in the same manner as you did standing up. It’s harder.

This is where we see many people add distance to their stroke instead of taking it away.

And, this is where the Bench Lockout Holds come into play.

Watch the video. You will see Cody actively flexing his lats to pull the bar out of the hooks. The bands give you just enough tension to dig them in.

I suggest adding this in before you start your bench presses and start with 3 sets of 10 seconds. Doing this will help you Build a Better Bench Press in 30 Seconds.

As you do the holds, strive to keep your back tight and your shoulder blades back as hard as you can.

When you begin your warm up set for the Bench Press, continue doing the drill as if the bands were still on the bar. This will lock your back in.

As you get better at it, increase the time of the holds to in 5 second increments weekly all the way up to 3 sets of 30 seconds.

You’ll see improvements in technique and strength fast with this one.

Did you miss last week’s log?

Read it here.

2022 Holiday Nutrition Tips, C.J. Murphy
2022 Holiday Nutrition Tips, C.J. Murphy



Vincere vel mori

C.J. Murphy

December 8, 2022

Total Performance Sports