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    Question Bench Press Arch and Foot Placement Question

    I'm trying to work on my setup for bench and I have a couple of questions.

    Do you use any arch and place your feet underneath you? Some do, some don't.

    If you do, are your feel flat or are you on the balls of your feet? I've seen both mentioned.

    I'm not going to post the whole series, but here's what I've been using to help me.



    Here's a couple of recent vids of myself benching:

    11-20-11 245x9 1st set


    11-20-11 245x9 2nd set


    Any advice, suggestions or critiques are welcome. I just want to squeeze some additional gains before the year is out.

    Thanks in advance for the help.
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    That is the powerlifter style. The arch helps create a near decline angle which is beneficial for moving heavy weight. It also reduces the ROM required which also allows for more weight to be lifted. For BB'ing purposes it's not necessary so long as your form protects your shoulders. I've been trying this lately just to try it and I find that using the arch I'm more comfortable with my feet tucked back. I think MR states it's just preference.
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    Originally Posted by Getsum View Post
    Do you use any arch
    You should use as much as your flexibility allow

    Originally Posted by Getsum View Post
    If you do, are your feel flat or are you on the balls of your feet? I've seen both mentioned.
    Are you training for a powerlifting meet? Some federations allow you to be in the balls of your feet, others don't, others say you just can't change your foot position. IMHO, if you're not competing then it's personal preference, usually determined by body type and bench height, nobody can really tell you what you should do.
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    My personal preference/style..I use somewhat if an arch and I drive my heels into the ground (and grind my shoulders into the bench), this helps with a rock solid setup. If I bench on my toes, my feet wiggle around and I am not as tight as I should be. For me, the tighter the setup, the bigger the bench..
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    Originally Posted by nixter View Post
    That is the powerlifter style. The arch helps create a near decline angle which is beneficial for moving heavy weight. It also reduces the ROM required which also allows for more weight to be lifted. For BB'ing purposes it's not necessary so long as your form protects your shoulders. I've been trying this lately just to try it and I find that using the arch I'm more comfortable with my feet tucked back. I think MR states it's just preference.
    Yeah, I've benched completely flat and with arch but I feel more secure using some arch.

    Originally Posted by bigtallox View Post
    You should use as much as your flexibility allow



    Are you training for a powerlifting meet? Some federations allow you to be in the balls of your feet, others don't, others say you just can't change your foot position. IMHO, if you're not competing then it's personal preference, usually determined by body type and bench height, nobody can really tell you what you should do.
    I'm not training for anything other than personal progress. A few people have mentioned that my feet are moving too much and I can see that happening in the videos, I'm just trying to correct these things to squeeze out some gains. Putting the plates under my feet has helped but I need to come up with something thicker or even get my feet farther back for more leg drive. I don't know, just throwing things out there.

    Originally Posted by Smelly bull View Post
    My personal preference/style..I use somewhat if an arch and I drive my heels into the ground (and grind my shoulders into the bench), this helps with a rock solid setup. If I bench on my toes, my feet wiggle around and I am not as tight as I should be. For me, the tighter the setup, the bigger the bench..
    Yeah, that's what I'm trying to fix...the feet moving around. I don't think I'm getting all the leg drive I could be. I am trying to spread my chest out and pinch my shoulder blades together and I'm trying to get a decent amount of arch but the way my feet are moving around, I need to correct that. Driving my heels into the ground is what I'm trying to accomplish I guess but I'm not sure if I can keep my feet back and underneath me if I go flat on the heels. I was searching google at lunch for different arch pics and one dude had a crazy wide stance with his legs that lets him keep his feet flat.



    lol, I'm not that flexible but you get the idea

    Source for that image: http://criticalbench.com/fundamental...press_arch.htm
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    My bench numbers have continued to climb since moving to as much arch as I could muster with the feet tucked until the heel just barely wants to come off the floor, toes forward.

    I also handle the bar as if I am bending it around the chest at the touch point. This places the bar weight primarily in my thumb and index finger at the touch and tucks my elbows properly next to my chest for a better drive out of the hole.


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    I never arch because I want to lift it with my chest.
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    Originally Posted by Smelly bull View Post
    My personal preference/style..I use somewhat if an arch and I drive my heels into the ground (and grind my shoulders into the bench), this helps with a rock solid setup. If I bench on my toes, my feet wiggle around and I am not as tight as I should be. For me, the tighter the setup, the bigger the bench..
    This! I've been working on trying get as tight as I can ( that's what she said ) on my setup. Arch back, shoulders squeezed in and feet as flat as I can for drive.
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    Originally Posted by Big_Sky_Guy View Post
    My bench numbers have continued to climb since moving to as much arch as I could muster with the feet tucked until the heel just barely wants to come off the floor, toes forward.

    I also handle the bar as if I am bending it around the chest at the touch point. This places the bar weight primarily in my thumb and index finger at the touch and tucks my elbows properly next to my chest for a better drive out of the hole.


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    But credit is due to Mark Bell and Jesse Burdick in their Crossfit PL Seminar
    Interesting, I'm going to mess around with that. I really like the way you put that "feet tucked until the heel just barely wants to come off the floor" because it's easy to understand. Thanks man.

    Originally Posted by MontyMagpie View Post
    I never arch because I want to lift it with my chest.
    Good deal.

    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post
    This! I've been working on trying get as tight as I can ( that's what she said ) on my setup. Arch back, shoulders squeezed in and feet as flat as I can for drive.
    Cool man, I'm hoping something pays off next month.
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    Originally Posted by Getsum View Post
    Yeah, I've benched completely flat and with arch but I feel more secure using some arch.

    I'm not training for anything other than personal progress. A few people have mentioned that my feet are moving too much and I can see that happening in the videos, I'm just trying to correct these things to squeeze out some gains. Putting the plates under my feet has helped but I need to come up with something thicker or even get my feet farther back for more leg drive. I don't know, just throwing things out there.



    Yeah, that's what I'm trying to fix...the feet moving around. I don't think I'm getting all the leg drive I could be. I am trying to spread my chest out and pinch my shoulder blades together and I'm trying to get a decent amount of arch but the way my feet are moving around, I need to correct that. Driving my heels into the ground is what I'm trying to accomplish I guess but I'm not sure if I can keep my feet back and underneath me if I go flat on the heels. I was searching google at lunch for different arch pics and one dude had a crazy wide stance with his legs that lets him keep his feet flat.



    lol, I'm not that flexible but you get the idea

    Source for that image: http://criticalbench.com/fundamental...press_arch.htm
    Holy shiat!!! That is one crazy arch!

    I don't drive my feet that far underneath me, just enough so they are "stuck" underneath me. I knew I wanted more heal drive so I experimented with my foot placement. On a day off just put some light weight on the bar and try different foot placement. Good luck..
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    Originally Posted by Smelly bull View Post
    My personal preference/style..I use somewhat if an arch and I drive my heels into the ground (and grind my shoulders into the bench), this helps with a rock solid setup. If I bench on my toes, my feet wiggle around and I am not as tight as I should be. For me, the tighter the setup, the bigger the bench..
    I do this too .... My arch isn't very big though, mostly because I am not terribly flexible. If I push the arch too hard, I can feel it in the lower back the next day. I also really concentrate on pulling my shoulder blades together and squeezing the bar really hard. It makes a big difference for me.
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    Originally Posted by Karl_Hungus View Post
    I do this too .... My arch isn't very big though, mostly because I am not terribly flexible. If I push the arch too hard, I can feel it in the lower back the next day. I also really concentrate on pulling my shoulder blades together and squeezing the bar really hard. It makes a big difference for me.
    Same here on all counts!
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    Originally Posted by Smelly bull View Post
    Holy shiat!!! That is one crazy arch!

    I don't drive my feet that far underneath me, just enough so they are "stuck" underneath me. I knew I wanted more heal drive so I experimented with my foot placement. On a day off just put some light weight on the bar and try different foot placement. Good luck..
    lol, that's what I was thinking when I saw that. My older brother had a really good arch when he was power lifting but nothing like that pic above.

    Originally Posted by Karl_Hungus View Post
    I do this too .... My arch isn't very big though, mostly because I am not terribly flexible. If I push the arch too hard, I can feel it in the lower back the next day. I also really concentrate on pulling my shoulder blades together and squeezing the bar really hard. It makes a big difference for me.
    Yeah, I'm definitely better and keeping my shoulder blades together and it's helped me out this year.
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    Originally Posted by nixter View Post
    That is the powerlifter style. The arch helps create a near decline angle which is beneficial for moving heavy weight. It also reduces the ROM required which also allows for more weight to be lifted. For BB'ing purposes it's not necessary so long as your form protects your shoulders. I've been trying this lately just to try it and I find that using the arch I'm more comfortable with my feet tucked back. I think MR states it's just preference.
    Can you clarify protecting the shoulders with form? The powerlifting form is - as far as I know - the best form for removing strain from the shoulders during bench press.

    As to my own form, I use a mental checklist in this order.

    1. Feet pulled back, so they're between the knee and hip with heels slightly raised.
    2. Shoulder blades retracted and pinched.
    3. Slide my head along the bench so my skull is rolling back a little, increasing the compression in my neck and slipping my shoulders toward my lumbar as far as I can get them without my butt leaving the bench.

    This is - for me - the tightest arch I can get.

    Your mileage may vary.
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    The "so you think you can bench series" saved my shoulders...very serious. I can now bench and am aproaching the 1RM 300lbs. level again in my life with no "day after" shoulder impingment issues

    I do want to compete, even if just for fun, at some point, so I keep my feet flat on the floor, that way there is no issue depending on which gym event I participate in.
    My arch is not very high, but it's enough that the ROM is less than with my back flat.....which has benefited my shoulders. Bringing my elbows in has also increased triceps involvement and taken strain off the delts..imho.

    When I switched over from my BB style of benching, it was very humbling. I've had to progress very slowly, but in the end, it's been well worth it.

    Edit:And Dave Tate is spot on, PL style benching isn't very comfortable, and I sometimes can get winded just setting up, lol. It's really a "full body" lift for me now. Leg drive makes a difference.

    Getsum, good job on the reps, looks good. Do you ever do paused reps...ie comp style bench? Or just touch 'n goes?
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    Can you clarify protecting the shoulders with form? The powerlifting form is - as far as I know - the best form for removing strain from the shoulders during bench press.

    As to my own form, I use a mental checklist in this order.

    1. Feet pulled back, so they're between the knee and hip with heels slightly raised.
    2. Shoulder blades retracted and pinched.
    3. Slide my head along the bench so my skull is rolling back a little, increasing the compression in my neck and slipping my shoulders toward my lumbar as far as I can get them without my butt leaving the bench.

    This is - for me - the tightest arch I can get.

    Your mileage may vary.
    That's an excellent checklist. I have a checklist in front of my rack for my squats that I made from skiboy1955's advice and it really helps me, I read it before I squat each week. I think I'm going to make one for bench and stick it on the wall.

    Originally Posted by socket View Post
    The "so you think you can bench series" saved my shoulders...very serious. I can now bench and am aproaching the 1RM 300lbs. level again in my life with no "day after" shoulder impingment issues

    I do want to compete, even if just for fun, at some point, so I keep my feet flat on the floor, that way there is no issue depending on which gym event I participate in.
    My arch is not very high, but it's enough that the ROM is less than with my back flat.....which has benefited my shoulders. Bringing my elbows in has also increased triceps involvement and taken strain off the delts..imho.

    When I switched over from my BB style of benching, it was very humbling. I've had to progress very slowly, but in the end, it's been well worth it.

    Edit:And Dave Tate is spot on, PL style benching isn't very comfortable, and I sometimes can get winded just setting up, lol. It's really a "full body" lift for me now. Leg drive makes a difference.

    Getsum, good job on the reps, looks good. Do you ever do paused reps...ie comp style bench? Or just touch 'n goes?
    Yeah, that's a really great series. I just finished watching the whole thing again.

    Yeah, that bench speed is about as fast as I get, I'm normally slower and I've done actual pause reps before. But I was trying like hell to get 245x10 so I was going at my full speed. I ended up running out of gas both attempts. I personally like the 3-5 rep range a lot more but that all depends on how my left shoulder is feeling and if I have a spot. I feel fine with my wife spotting me on the higher rep stuff but I need my son if I'm going in the lower rep range. My son can upright row some serious weight!

    This is my last actual PR from July, I was down to 187 pounds and did 302 and failed on 307. My plan is try 305 the next time my son is over and maybe go for 310 and 315 depending on how it goes. I'm just trying to end the year with some good max attempts on bench, squats and deadz to establish a baseline for 2012. Right now I'm about 22 pounds heavier and today I'm starting a slow cut/recomp to get back down around 190ish while hopefully hanging on to my strength gains.

    7-17-11 302x1 @ 187.2# BW
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    Using rituals for set-up really helps me a lot. If I don't do the exact same thing every time, I always botch something, and it shows in the lift.
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    I bench flat, feet back and on the balls. I've never been able to use any arch it just
    doesn't feel right.
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    Using rituals for set-up really helps me a lot. If I don't do the exact same thing every time, I always botch something, and it shows in the lift.
    I'm the same way.
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    Originally Posted by blkbelt42 View Post
    I bench flat, feet back and on the balls. I
    Ouch!
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    Originally Posted by Getsum View Post
    That's an excellent checklist. I have a checklist in front of my rack for my squats that I made from skiboy1955's advice and it really helps me, I read it before I squat each week. I think I'm going to make one for bench and stick it on the wall.



    Yeah, that's a really great series. I just finished watching the whole thing again.

    Yeah, that bench speed is about as fast as I get, I'm normally slower and I've done actual pause reps before. But I was trying like hell to get 245x10 so I was going at my full speed. I ended up running out of gas both attempts. I personally like the 3-5 rep range a lot more but that all depends on how my left shoulder is feeling and if I have a spot. I feel fine with my wife spotting me on the higher rep stuff but I need my son if I'm going in the lower rep range. My son can upright row some serious weight!

    This is my last actual PR from July, I was down to 187 pounds and did 302 and failed on 307. My plan is try 305 the next time my son is over and maybe go for 310 and 315 depending on how it goes. I'm just trying to end the year with some good max attempts on bench, squats and deadz to establish a baseline for 2012. Right now I'm about 22 pounds heavier and today I'm starting a slow cut/recomp to get back down around 190ish while hopefully hanging on to my strength gains.

    7-17-11 302x1 @ 187.2# BW
    Yep, I remember when you posted the 302..... I was jelly
    My wife spots me up to around 240, anything over, I've got to get my oldest son. Once I get into the 270 and over range........it's my son and my nephew, I don't want to die
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    Using rituals for set-up really helps me a lot. If I don't do the exact same thing every time, I always botch something, and it shows in the lift.
    Yep, I'm going to make one up...they really do help.

    Originally Posted by blkbelt42 View Post
    I bench flat, feet back and on the balls. I've never been able to use any arch it just
    doesn't feel right.
    Feet back and on the balls is what I'm doing now but I am trying to arch as much as I can. I was out in the garage screwing around with my setup last night and my back is actually sore today. I think the plates under my feet are helping but something thicker would be even better.

    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    Ouch!
    lulz

    Originally Posted by socket View Post
    Yep, I remember when you posted the 302..... I was jelly
    My wife spots me up to around 240, anything over, I've got to get my oldest son. Once I get into the 270 and over range........it's my son and my nephew, I don't want to die
    I could actually bench in my rack with the safety bars in place but I've not sure how much weight that second bench of mine can handle. It's not as sturdy and my regular bench and I'd be screwed if that thing gave way on a max. They had a really great bench at Dick's Sporting Goods for about $100 but that's not really something I absolutely need right now and I'm hoping to get a Inzer lever belt instead, I don't know.
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    I was messing around in the garage after my workout and I came up with a way to do some max attempts without my son being over. It's a pain to setup but my wife should be able to help with the lift off and if we can't get it all the way back up, it wont kill me.

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    Originally Posted by Getsum View Post
    I was messing around in the garage after my workout and I came up with a way to do some max attempts without my son being over. It's a pain to setup but my wife should be able to help with the lift off and if we can't get it all the way back up, it wont kill me.

    That's sort of the way I fly solo on the bench press, too, especially when working on my lift-off sticking point. That's a bastard by the way in case you didn't know. Just that the bench I use doesn't have struts on it, so it's just a plain bench like you'd use for dumbbell exercises in the power cage to use the safety bars to keep from dying.
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    Originally Posted by marius_ursus View Post
    ouch!
    lol
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    Originally Posted by Getsum View Post
    I was messing around in the garage after my workout and I came up with a way to do some max attempts without my son being over. It's a pain to setup but my wife should be able to help with the lift off and if we can't get it all the way back up, it wont kill me.

    I really need to get with the program and get me a cage
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    That's sort of the way I fly solo on the bench press, too, especially when working on my lift-off sticking point. That's a bastard by the way in case you didn't know. Just that the bench I use doesn't have struts on it, so it's just a plain bench like you'd use for dumbbell exercises in the power cage to use the safety bars to keep from dying.
    Yeah, my regular plain bench is under the heavy bag in that picture and I don't trust it's strength on a max attempt. It gets a lot of use for other stuff though.

    Originally Posted by socket View Post
    I really need to get with the program and get me a cage
    That rack was one of the best purchases I've ever made. If I could get a leg press and something for lats pull downs and seated rows I could cancel my gym membership but I only pay $150 a year for all club access at 24hr.
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    Originally Posted by Getsum View Post
    Yeah, my regular plain bench is under the heavy bag in that picture and I don't trust it's strength on a max attempt. It gets a lot of use for other stuff though.



    That rack was one of the best purchases I've ever made. If I could get a leg press and something for lats pull downs and seated rows I could cancel my gym membership but I only pay $150 a year for all club access at 24hr.
    What brand and model is that power cage? It looks like a Powertec, but they all do, don't they?

    The reason I ask is that my wife just bought a cage for me for Christmas with a lat attachment and dip station attached, and I can check around for you to see if there's a lat attachment available.
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    What brand and model is that power cage? It looks like a Powertec, but they all do, don't they?

    The reason I ask is that my wife just bought a cage for me for Christmas with a lat attachment and dip station attached, and I can check around for you to see if there's a lat attachment available.
    I bought mine from NY Barbells: http://www.newyorkbarbells.com/92563.html

    They make a lat/row attachment for it but it's $500 and only goes to 200#. JerryB has the same rack as me and made his own deal that uses free weights and I was thinking of going that route but I really like this unit here: http://www.amazon.com/TDS-C-4650-W-S.../dp/B001I03Q3Y

    It's also $500 but should last forever and will go up really high with free weights. I'm watching Craigslist for that and a leg press.
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    Originally Posted by Getsum View Post
    I bought mine from NY Barbells: http://www.newyorkbarbells.com/92563.html

    They make a lat/row attachment for it but it's $500 and only goes to 200#. JerryB has the same rack as me and made his own deal that uses free weights and I was thinking of going that route but I really like this unit here: http://www.amazon.com/TDS-C-4650-W-S.../dp/B001I03Q3Y

    It's also $500 but should last forever and will go up really high with free weights. I'm watching Craigslist for that and a leg press.
    That one on Amazon looks like the attachment on my cage. Now if the dang thing will only get here, so I can put it together...

    I'd like a reverse hyper, myself, but damn, those are expensive.
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