The art of touching in a bench shirt

There’s an ongoing debate in Powerlifting gyms everywhere (okay, maybe not everywhere): Should more weight be used to get the weight to touch, or just better technique?

I think the answer is a little bit of both.

Too much weight can make the weight too difficult to lockout, too little can exhaust the lifter from trying to get the weight to touch.

Being able to touch a manageable weight can easily make or break your meet.

Here’s what you can do to make light weights easier to touch in a bench shirt:
- Don’t wear a belt (this will allow the shirt to rise up making it easier to lower the bar)
- Don’t set the shirt too low
- Take a breath before the liftoff and again before lowering the bar
- Fill your belly with as much air as possible
- Touch the highest point vertically on your belly/chest
- Tuck your elbows as much as possible in order to touch
- I recommend lifting your head to be able to see the ideal spot to touch

How to successfully press back up after touching:
It can be a struggle to touch, so you don’t want to go through all of that only to fail or dump the weight.
- Try to make the first motion back towards your head/where you started from. If you push straight up the bar will most likely stall.
- Once you get to about halfway up flare your elbows out to catch the weight from its momentum and lock it out over your line of vision where it started.
- Make sure to hold the bar at the top before racking it. You also don’t want to go through the trouble of touching and pressing the weight only to have it not count due to not waiting for the commands.

Here's how the bench progress of a couple of the OBB Team; Jeff Sanchez and John Burnham, is going:

Jeff 3 Board up to 545


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Jon 3 Board up to 565


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Jeff 2 Board up to 495


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Jon 2 Board up to 565


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Jeff 1 Board up to 500. The lift off was a little off, but he recovered well:


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I usually recommend using about 5% less weight as you go down each board.

Now comes the fun part, learning to touch. I’ll make sure we get video so that I can post an update.

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