- 3 Contact Points: Head, Shoulders, Buttocks
The head, shoulders and buttocks must necessarily be in contact with the bench. They form a solid "block". Without this stability, there is no strength.
Too often, the buttocks will come off the bench during the exercise to reduce the amplitude of the descent and lift too heavy a weight. When pushing with your legs, make sure that you keep your buttocks in contact with the bench.
Often, the head will also come up when lowering the bar because of a lack of flexibility in the pectoralis minor muscle. In this case, you must stretch between each workout to prevent your head from being drawn forwards during bench press exercises.
- Arched Back
Most people believe that it is dangerous to arch your back when lying down on a weight bench.
However, when you hyper-extend your back, you shorten the distance the bar has to travel. The shorter this distance, the heavier the weight you can lift. This arch depends primarily on the flexibility of your psoas-iliacus and rectus femoris muscles.
To improve your flexibility, you can make these two muscles more supple by placing a roller under the lower back during your workouts. As you arch your back, push your shoulders firmly into the bench and tighten them.
- Low Shoulders
When you take the bar off the stand, immediately think about pulling your shoulders back.
Keep your shoulders nice and low and tucked in during the whole movement. This is what will allow you to position your chest forward, with the rib cage out.
- Feet on the Ground
Position your feet properly on the ground and not on the bench as is often recommended.
A powerful bench press does not only rely on your pecs and your arms. Plant the heels on the floor to provide strong support for lifting the bar.
Your feet should be as close as possible to your buttocks: the closer they are, the more arched your back will be and the more power you will have.
If you want to achieve your goal, you must also learn to use your thighs and your hamstrings in particular. Indeed, "benchers" (those who practise the bench press) regularly experience cramping in this area!
- The Curved Path
Lower the bar along a curved path, shaped like the letter "J", from the top position, i.e. the start position, to a spot 5 cm above your nipples. Use a reverse curved path as you raise the bar.
Although moving the bar along a straight path from bottom to top reduces the distance travelled, the curved path increases the muscle power so that you can lift heavier weights.
During the effort, remember to keep your elbows inside, close to the body. In this way, you reduce the load on your shoulders and engage the back muscles thereby increasing stability and strength.