Everyone understands the benefits of warming up-injury prevention with increase in metabolic temperature, increased range of motion, and blood flow to your muscles. However, when the time comes for "international chest day" and even a light over-head accessory day, do we still take the time to warm up properly? Grabbing 2.5-5lb plates and pressing up and hitting a few external rotations may only get you so far with your upper body training.

Bench press is a full body lift. If someone stabs you in the leg with a knife, and you DON'T feel it when you try and press, then there may be no hope for you after all. Actually, you may be able to save yourself (and your press) by watching JL Holdsworth's Leg Drive for Bench Press Video. Benching requires leg drive, activation of your glutes, and creating and maintaining that tight arch the entire time of the lift.

In the video below, Brandon Smitley discusses his warm-up routine for upper body days-specifically bench days-and why warming up your lower body as well as shoulders are equally as important.

Take-away points:

  • Having adequate Thoracic Spine mobility can help you come into your arch. Many people ignore the t-spine, but it plays an important role during the mobility of the bench press.
  • Some people have issues cramping in their hamstrings and glutes, therefore lengthening the musculature is beneficial. Also, lengthening the quads and hip flexors can add better range of motion to your arch. They are tied in with your lumbar region, and the tightness of these muscles will determine how much extension you can create during your press, i.e., a bigger press!