Simple Cue To Improve Your Bench Press - Indianapolis Fitness And Sports Training

Simple Cue To Improve Your Bench Press

written by Zach Moore

bench press

The bench press is one of the most well known strength training exercises.  It can be fairly simple to perform and who doesn’t like the benefits of more strength and muscle in their arms and chest?

Many of our clients perform some variation of the bench press, whether it be for shoulder stability, core stability, muscle strength, muscle hypertrophy, and/or prepping for our upcoming powerlifting meet in January.   So I thought today I would share a little tip to improve a common mistake during this exercise.

This tip has to do with your shoulder position when you push the bar up and lock out your elbows.  During a push-up, if you remember from a previous blog, you are supposed to “make your arms long” at the top.  What this does is activate some small muscles around your shoulder blade that cause it to glide around your ribcage (this is called protraction).

The image on the right shows the guy protracting (his shoulder blades are spread apart). The image on the left shows the guy retracting (his shoulder blades are close together).

However, when performing a bench press you want to keep your shoulder blades squeezed together (this is called retraction) the whole time – even as you straighten your elbows.  This will keep your shoulder more stable, which we want if we are pressing a lot of weight.

So the next time you are performing a dumbbell bench press or a barbell bench press make sure to pinch your shoulder blades together and think about only moving your arm – the shoulder blade should be stationary.

Hope that helps.  Have a great week!


Zach Moore

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