Part II: So You Think You Can Bench?

TAGS: 101, Hachat, technique, tate, bench, training

Who knew the traps were an important part of the bench press?

Well, probably a lot of you, actually, which is why my bench press lags so far behind.

But I was the dunce that didn’t know and my numbers paid the price. After learning about pulling my shoulder blades together – by using a band – and using my lats to unrack the weight, this was the next lesson I got from Dave in refining – actually, overhauling might be a better word – my bench press technique. Dave had me put my feet on the bench, throw my hips into a bridge and put all that weight into my traps.

Wow, talk about an eye-opener.

This immediately made a major difference in my arch and that back and trap tightness made me feel much more stable on the bench. I never realized simply getting set up for a bench was a workout in itself, but I was sweating and panting by this point. As Dave told me, this was a good thing. Before, I ignored my traps when it came to pressing. Now, I’m really trying to activate them and it’s going to make a big difference.

Dave also pointed out to me that my elbows were going much lower than my chest, making my bench distance way too long. When you’re weak, that makes that issue even more troublesome.

I had moved to a closer grip because of shoulder issues, but it wasn’t helping any. Dave suggested a grip change, but that’s for next time. As you will see in part three, the change in my grip was a good idea and no shoulder pain to report.

The last thing I learned in part two is I need more reps – which means more sets – on my warm-up sets. The benefit is locking in my technique and focusing on that during the warm-up sets so it will be where it needs to be when I reach my work sets.

I’ve done two bench workouts since this first video and the results are already there.

I’m currently following 5/3/1 and on the first day, I did three more reps with the same weight.

A week later, I jumped up 10 pounds and matched my reps and I’m confident it could have been a 15-pound jump.

This remains a work in progress as I have a ways to go to perfect my technique, but it’s a start and I’m already in a much better place than I was before.

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