In this second video of elitefts Blast from the Past, Dave walks through the five biggest mistakes that he consistently sees lifters make in the bench press. For each of the mistakes, Dave demonstrates the problem, shows how to fix it, and explains why it will make a difference in your max strength.
1. Not Grabbing the Bar Tight
When you bench, you want to make sure that no matter what grip you use, you grab the bar as tight as you possibly can and you keep squeezing the bar through the whole movement. This helps activate all of the muscles that you need in order to stay tight and press more weight.
2. Lack of Overall Body Tightness
When you set up for bench, you want to make sure that your entire body is tight on the bench. If your body is loose, all of the energy and strength from your legs won't transfer through to the bar. No matter where you place your feet or what type of setup you use, you have to find that total body tightness.
3. Wrists, Elbows, and Bar Out of Line
When you bench, you want the bar to be centered over your wrists and in line with your elbows. If you touch high, your elbows will flare out more. If you touch low, your elbows will have to tuck more. But whether you bench high or low, the bar should stay in line with your wrists and elbows the entire time.
4. Failing to Set the Weight
A lot of lifters take the bar out and immediately begin to descend. This is a mistake. Once you take the bar out, you need to let the bar settle and give your upper back, lats, and your triceps an opportunity to stabilize and get set so you have more pressing power.
5. Not Using the Dynamic Effort Method
Lifters and athletes always fall somewhere on the spectrum of strength and speed; every person is either going to be stronger (moving weight but slowly) or more explosive (moving weight quickly). For someone who is more explosive than they are strong, like Dave, failing to train the bench press explosively leads to a big drop off in max strength. If you don't try to build the bench press explosively, it's going to be harder to break through your sticking points, and your max strength will suffer as a result.