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Improve your Bench Press

Why is our Main Flat Bench in the place it is? There is a simple reason. 

by Fred Dyck, Director of Fitness, YWCA Saskatoon, (BSPE)

In the YWCA Saskatoon weight room, our flat bench has been positioned so you can look up at the ceiling and see what appears to you as horizontal lines. This visual back drop creates the idea setting for you to improve the pathway of your bench press movement. As Mark Rippitoe explains in his great book, Starting Strength; Basic Barbell Training, have your eyes focus on the spot on the ceiling the bar covers when you are at the top of the movement. Then, as you move through the downward motion and complete the rep, keep your eyes focused on this spot on the ceiling. Do not watch the bar itself. This simple trick often creates or corrects a person’s bench press movement…creating the proper pathway for the bar and consequently the mechanics of your motion. Take a look at the pictures below to help you understand what you should experience.

For our demo, we asked YWCA Fitness Member Eric MacDougall to bench press for us. Eric has been a member with YWCA Fitness on 25th since 2008. In this first picture you can see Eric has removed the bar from the rack and is at the start position for the press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This second picture points to the ceiling in the weight room. This photo is taken from Eric’s right shoulder approximately and shows how you can see the lines on the ceiling running parallel to the bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This third picture has been taken from about where Eric’s eyes would be as he looked up. We have placed two red lines on either side of the barbell to demonstrate where his field of vision should be focused. He would be marking this spot with his eyes; and not taking their focus away from this.

In this fourth picture, the barbell has moved out of his field of vision as the bar has now travelled to the bottom of the movement. Yet, his eyes remain focused on the spot on the ceiling where the bar was at the top of the movement. THIS SPOT is where his eyes remain focused through each and every rep.

 

 

 

 

This is only one tip but its a simple one that has proved to be effective for a number of inexperienced lifters developing the proper pathway for the bench press. It is only one way to work on the pathway of the bar and the mechanics involved. But, its simplicity make it an excellent one to try. Have questions about this? Or tips that have worked well for you? We would love to hear from you. Email us at fitnessuser@ywcasaskatoon.com.