Joe Sullivan is a real gas when it comes to correcting a lifter’s bench press elbow and wrist position. He also passes some valuable information to spotters: Stand behind your lifter and press on the center of the bar.

Pressing on that bar lets the lifter figure out the weight they are dealing with and get the barbell where they want it. Most importantly, this forces the lifter into the ideal position for bench pressing: Straight up and down.

“That’s how you’re going to generate force,” Sullivan says. “That’s how you’re going to generate power.”

Sullivan leads a lifter over to the dumbbells and instructs his young pupil in what he calls “bench yoga.”

He gets on his knees, grips the dumbbells, and switches between two poses: The cat and camel poses. “It’s basically the Sphinx pose, which is the upper bat position of that and then rotating down.” The dumbbells aren’t required, but something to grip is. It’s so “you can mimic squeezing as hard as you can.”

He starts the warm-up in the “bad position” for bench press (lats relaxed with an internal rotation of the wrists), then switches poses to the “good position.” (tight, “anti-shrug”, straight up and down)

If you start shaking during this warm-up, don’t worry. That’s exactly what Sullivan wants you to do. “Warm-up with intent,” he says. “This isn’t something that’s going to comprise your whole work-out. It’s just something that’s getting you ready to do what you went there to do that day.”

Once you’re back under the bar, just focus on how you felt doing the “good position” in the warm-up. “It’s gonna come all the more easy.”

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