Form on bench press

Stephie

Cathlete
Hi Cathe,

I have a question for you regarding form on bench presses, both flat bench and incline. This morning I did STS disc #25 (I'm starting the undulating periodization that another Catheite posted.) and I noticed that I was only able to bring the barbell down to where my arms were completely parallel with my back. This meant that the bar was still a good 8 to 10 inches above my chest. When I glanced at the TV I noticed that most of you were bringing the bar closer to your chest, maybe only 3-4 inches above. I was wondering if I should use a lower weight and bring the bar closer to my chest?

Thank you for your help!!!

Steph
 

fit_fairy

Cathlete
Not Cathe, but my understanding is that you shouldn't go below parallel with the arms. In other words your elbows should not go below your bench. I would think that arm length and chest/breast size would alter how far down one could go with proper form. So it makes sense to me that everyone would vary on where exactly the bar goes. Does that make any sense at all?
 

kathryn

Cathlete
Not Cathe, but my understanding is that you shouldn't go below parallel with the arms. In other words your elbows should not go below your bench. I would think that arm length and chest/breast size would alter how far down one could go with proper form. So it makes sense to me that everyone would vary on where exactly the bar goes. Does that make any sense at all?
I agree with Catherine.

Everything I've read about SAFE exercise, and risk-to-benefit ratios, says to not bring the elbows below parallel with the floor (or a little lower, but not much. How much one can tolerate--or I should say, how much one's shoulders can tolerate--may vary from individual to individual, but parallel is the safest. And the middle and top of the ROM is what is most important for increasing size and strength, not the stretch at the bottom, IMO).
 

LaughingWater

Cathlete
I keep my elbows parallel. Otherwise my right shoulder starts to hurt.

I've read that some people feel that unless the bar touches your chest, it isn't a full rep. Both my shoulder and I disagree. :)
 

kathryn

Cathlete
I've read that some people feel that unless the bar touches your chest, it isn't a full rep. Both my shoulder and I disagree. :)
My shoulder (right, as well) also disagrees.;) (I just wonder how many of those people who think it has to touch the chest to count later have to contend with shoulder injury or surgery?)
 

christosz

Cathlete
I've seen people bringing the barbell to their chests and then struggle by arching their backs to get it up... that's not good!!!

I also noticed the stress it puts to my shoulders when I go too low, and I miss the pec pump. I follow Cathe's advice and make a goal post with my arms. Boy, do I feel the exercise burn deep in my chest muscles!!!!

Chris.
 

Stephie

Cathlete
Thank you everyone. Yeah, I noticed that if I brought the bar much closer to my chest I started to arch my back to get it back up. That's why I was wondering if I should lower my weight, but I'm glad to hear from all of you in the "educated crowd" that I'm doing OK. Thanks again!

Steph
 

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