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Bench Press More Weight Using Your Feet

  Sep 16th, 2012

Columbu Bench Pressing with Proper FormI was at my parents’ house last night celebrating my niece’s fifth birthday when some unexpected inspiration hit.

 

Towards the end of the evening my sister’s boyfriend, Scott, mentioned that one of his friends was catching up to him in bench pressing strength and that he needed to find a way to quickly bench press more weight to ensure he wasn’t surpassed.

 

The bench press is the pinnacle lift for displaying upper body strength and men have been using it to measure each other up for as long as barbells have been bouncing off of chests.

 

Admittedly, the bench press is probably my weakest lift.

 

So I tend to be more open with sharing my dead lifting weight and usually shy away from discussions involving a circle of us meat heads bragging about our bench pressing prowess, which is probably around 20lbs less than any of us would actually claim it to be. 😉

 

I’m not one for excuses, but in my defense, I have very long arms and an average chest circumference, making the distance I have to press a bar farther than most others have to contend with.

 

Physics tells us that work is equal to force times distance, so I’m justified in that I’m not making up the fact that it takes more work to press a bar farther just to make myself feel better.

 

Although, I have made great strides in my bench pressing strength over the years and can currently complete 5 reps with 125% of my body weight, which is certainly respectable.

 

Bench Pressing Power Comes from the Feet

As it pertains to Scott’s need to bench press more weight, I know that most non-competitive lifters don’t bench press near their potential because they fail to implement proper form, specifically as it relates to their feet.

 

All competitive lifters get it right because they have to. Otherwise they wouldn’t be very competitive.

 

Banking on the fact that neither Scott or his friend are using proper footwork when benching, I offered to lend him my advice to help him maintain his bench pressing bragging rights (at least for a little longer, anyway).

 

A couple of years ago I bought my dad a proper bench pressing setup for his birthday. Unfortunately, my father hurt his shoulder a few months back playing softball and hasn’t been able to use it since that time.

 

But it came in handy yesterday.

 

We headed downstairs to my father’s “workout room” and dusted off the bench so I could demonstrate to Scott the proper way to bench press with maximum force and intensity.

 

I mentioned above that footwork is the secret to a proper bench press.

 

Walk into almost any gym around the country and you’ll see the bench pressers with their feet flat on the floor. Some may even have their feet up on the bench.

 

While the bench press does primarily rely on upper body strength, the right way to bench press is to utilize the entire body when pressing the bar off your chest. The key to making this happen lies entirely with the positioning of your feet.

 

Using Your Feet to Bench Press Max Weight

Bench Pressing FormAs I showed Scott last night, when you lay down on the bench you should bring your feet backwards and plant your toes into the floor with your heels raised above the ground.

 

This creates an energy potential from your base that is going to be transferred from your feet, into your legs, to your hips and up to your chest and arms.

 

While you bring the bar down to your chest you should be preparing to explode upwards with as much force as you can muster.

 

This upward explosion will start by pressing your toes into the ground.

 

As your toes press into the ground your quads will tense and your hips will be thrust upward off the bench creating an arch in your back.

 

When done correctly you will actually feel the transfer of power take place throughout your body.

 

Bench pressing with this form will take a little getting used to if you’re accustomed to flat footed pressing.

 

Don’t worry. It won’t take long for this new form to become second nature and you’ll be benching heavier weights because of it.

 

By the way, don’t jump into using this technique with an amount of resistance that compares to your previous max weight for a given number of reps. Start light and work your way up.

 

When you get it right you’ll be lifting heavier, but it may take a couple of training sessions before you get there.

 

Be patient. You’ll get it.

 

And when you do it’ll allow you to have bragging rights over a few more of your friends – and keep those bragging rights a little longer!

 

Now let’s just hope Scott can keep his buddy from reading this. 🙂

 

 

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