Some days are high days, and other days are low days... and sometimes, your bench pad is too high or too low. What’s a powerlifter to do? Dave Tate answers this question in this Table Talk:

"What are your suggestions on how to bench at a gym where the bench pads are much lower than regulation?"

If you ask Dave, that’s actually better than if the benches are higher than regulation. Or at least, that was his experience at the gym... or the meet used a bench higher than regulation.

"That fucks you up a lot because your ass will come off the bench if you keep your feet in the same place."

That taught him to test the bench before the meet. It’s the same thing as checking the rack height before a meet. It shouldn’t be a big deal nowadays, but as you know, shit happens. Still, a bench that’s not at regulation height will change how you’re gonna bench.

Dave had to stick his feet way out in front of him if the bench was really low. He sometimes had to lower his expectations for the day because it’d throw his results off.

Back to the question. There are loads of things you can do here if the pad is lower. You can throw an aerobic mat over the pad, but don’t build it up over four inches. Combine two to three yoga mats. Try a fat pad. It’ll change the surface, so keep that in mind.

Just look around and see what you can find to throw over the bench. If there’s nothing there, buy a couple of yoga mats. They’re not that expensive.

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