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Old 06-24-2008, 11:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Bench Press Form Issue

When I am doing a bench press I've noticed that I'm not actually using the correct muscle group. If I'm doing flys or incline bench I seem to use my pectoral muscles, but a bench press I keep fighting my body to not use my back and triceps almost exclusively. I noticed I haven't been improving my bench press and then I noticed I wasn't even flexing my pecs during the lift. I've tried to improve my technique but it all feels 'off'. Anyone experience this or have any pointers?
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Try widening your grip. The closer your hands are together the more emphasis the lift has on your triceps. Also, make sure your back is flat on the bench the entire time, not arching, and don't bounce the weight off your chest at the bottom.

If you're already doing all this then I'd probably say that you're just not feeling it as much because the bench press IS a compound lift and it DOES work a number of different muscles. So if your chest is really strong but you have weak shoulders and triceps your bench will be lower, and it won't work your chest as hard.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I wonder if it isn't a narrow grip issue. I'm 6'6" and I bet I'm using a grip that is marginally wider than my friend's who is about 6'. I'm headed to the gym in about an hour so I'll give it a spin. Thanks man.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Dempsey Roll has it right about the narrow grip- if you find opening up your hands still isn't working take a look at what your shoulders are doing as the bar comes down to your chest. If your shoulders do not move then you aren't engaging the pecs as much as you should. As the bar comes down to your chest your shoulders should "roll" back(towards the floor) a couple of inches- this means you are opening up your chest to use your pecs more efficiently. You don't want to puff up your chest and overarch your back but you want to fully open the chest so you are engaging your pecs better. I would use just the bar to look at your form and see what your shoulders are doing- if they are not moving your traps engage as the "brake" on the down side of the exercise.

Using dumbbells might help you work on this form a little better. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Try making a wider grip... but the bench press is supposed to be using your shoulders, tris, lats, etc. so that's not a bad sign.
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