The Minx: Bench Technique Ideas

TAGS: The Minx: Bench Technique Ideas, The Minx, foot placement, setup, bench technique, hannah johnson, grip, bench press

1. Warm Up Well

If you’re tight, your arch will come at the expense of your hips, knees, and lower back. Forcing tight muscles to bear pressure and weight will absolutely cause an injury. I spend no less than 30 to 45 minutes (and sometimes more) doing light cardio, working range of motion movements, stretching on the bench with varying degrees of arch, and completing multiple practice setups/full range pressing with the empty bar.

2. Setup The Same Way Every Time

Visualize the movement in your mind before you approach the bench. See it happen. Executing rushed warmups with sloppy form leads to getting stapled by a weight you should have smoked. Develop a routine and stick with it. Imagine a pro golfer warming up with a completely different swing than with which he would hit a drive. Doesn’t happen, does it?

3. Get Handsy!

Grip is very important and can vary widely from person to person. My raw grip is middle finger inside the ring, and my shirted grip is pointer finger on the ring. Bringing in my raw grip enables me to recruit more arm muscles to move the weight. Widening my grip for shirt work shortens bar travel and also helps the shirt tighten up that much sooner. See, a very close grip means that the bar has a long way to travel, but an ultra-wide grip doesn’t take full advantage of the arm, pectoral, and shoulder muscles. As women, we generally have shorter and smaller arms than the guys, so start conservative.

My personal recommendation would be to find your best grip by starting with your pinky finger on the ring and then widening your hand placement by one finger until you feel strongest and most comfortable. The best grip is the one that doesn’t sacrifice muscle recruitment and power for distance.

4. Find What Foot Placement Works for You and Learn How to Maximize Its Effectiveness

This will be different for everyone, but my personal preference is to have my feet tucked well behind me. This foot placement enables me to get good, tight stability with dynamic hip drive while ensuring that my butt stays on the bench. Every time that I’ve tried to bring my feet out, it has affected my hip drive because my butt comes off the bench when I drive my feet into the ground. Play around with different foot placements and video your form from the side. Are you able to “pop” the bar up without “popping” your butt off the bench? Let comfort and stability be your guide.

5. Shorten Your Stroke

Remember: The Bar is Not Coming Down—Your Belly is  Coming UP!

When you bring the bar out of the rack—before your arms bend at al—you should let the bar “settle” your shoulder blades together. Not only does this shorten the path of bar travel, but it also brings your elbows closer to your lats. As the bar comes down, visualize tucking your elbows in towards your lats while simultaneously “reaching” up with your belly to touch the bar. Drive your feet into the ground as you push upwards to meet the bar.

6. Touch Low

I’m about to blow your hair back. Ready? For females, your boobs seem like the logical place to touch the bar since they’re the part that sticks out the most, right? WRONG. When you’re arching (and arching hard), the part that’s coming up to the bar first will be the part of you that is filling up with air—your diaphragm.

Now, if you’re benching like a “normal” person (in other words, not for powerlifting), then it makes sense to line the bar up with your boobs. But if you’re benching that way, then I’m not talking to you, so keep your comments to yourself, okay?

What we’re doing here is maximizing power while minimizing the distance the bar travels. Touch low—visualize where the bottom of your sports bra hits and play around with this until you really find your “sweet spot.”

7. Learn How To Grind

I really ground out several of the reps in this video, and I can personally credit the lockout success to floor presses and board presses/shoulder saver pad presses. Focusing on the lockout portion of the press is key to grinding out a successful heavy single.

Starting the press from the most difficult part of the movement (what most people call the “sticking point”) gets you comfortable with powering through the lockout. I incorporate some sort of lockout exercise into at least every third workout.

I hope this has been helpful. I’ve gotten several random questions on benching in general, and I thought it’d be okay to just post one big conglomeration of my thoughts and suggestions.

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