Approaching The Bar: Part 4

19 Mar

I have a ton of energy this morning. I’m also really excited that my post yesterday hit home with so many people (I Went To a Yoga Class). The response was incredible.

When you take chances, take action, and just go for it that energy just finds it’s way into so many other outlets.

This is going to be a great week. It’s my last week of handling some weight before my first power lifting meet on the 31st; I can’t wait to train! Also, this weekend Chad Wesley Smith of Juggernaut Training Systems is coming by Total Performance Sports to deliver what I know will be a fantastic seminar. I’m looking forward to learning from him, and helping out.

I’m also pumped to spend some time with my friend John Gaglione of Gaglione Strength, as well as Joe Meglio from The Underground Strength Gym, Edison NJ. I am hoping to get some content put out with these guys while they’re here. So stay posted!

On to the last segment of the Approaching The Bar Series:

The bench press has always been the toughest lift for me. While most people view this as a pretty straight-forward movement, when you do it right, and do it to lift as much as possible, it’s very technical.

The last two months I feel like it’s finally making sense, and I’m able to utilize my whole body to press the weight. I attribute a lot of this to Steve DiLello, our director of Strength and Conditioning here at TPS, and leader of all things awesome (especially the Bench Press).

So here’s how I approach this lift.

The first thing I do is tell myself to respect the bench press. It sounds pretty Mr. Miyagi, but one of my big problems before was not taking the lift as seriously as the squat and deadlift.

The first thing I do is set my hands on the bar. I place my middle finger on the rings and start with a false (thumbless) grip. This allows me to get the bar well down my palm. From there I wrap the thumb around and lightly begin to create pressure by “breaking the bar in half” and also trying to “pull the bar apart.”

Next, I place my feet up on the bench and slowly walk my heels towards my head while arching my entire back as much as possible. When I’m incredibly uncomfortable I pull my shoulders up off the bench, and set them back down a little further away from the bar, achieving even more upper back extension. At the same time I aggressively pull my shoulder blades back and down and create pressure on my upper body that feels like I am pushing back towards the bar.

From this point, I take one foot off the bench at a time while maintaining my back arch. I wiggle my feet back and out as far as possible while still being able to maintain contact with the ground from my full foot. Lastly, I push through my feet, raise my butt of the bench, and get that last little bit of low back extension; arching hard until my butt makes contact with the pad.

At this point every muscle in my back feels like it’s going to spaz out, perfect.

Now it’s time to receive the hand off. I will count 1, 2 and then take my first big breath. The breath is drawn through the nose and into the stomach. I am trying to make my belly as big as possible.

When I receive the hand off, I let my training partner do most of the work. I don’t push up on the bar, instead I do more of a tricep extension with the bar until the bar is over my chest. From here I let the weight settle into my lats, and receive the weight in my heels. If I do this right, I feel like I could hold the weight forever. My shoulders and arms are doing virtually nothing.

Next comes the second, and last breath I will take. Taking the second breath helps me be patient and reminds me of my big cue: Meet the bar. As I take my second breath I arch hard, expand the belly and try to get my stomach up as high as possible.

From there I pull the bar to my lower chest, and think about coming up to meet the bar. Doing so does two things: It keeps me arched and tight, and it shortens the distance of the lift.

As the bar reaches my chest I push into the ground HARD. The weight stays on the heel to mid foot but the force feels more like a pushing back towards my head. Since my shoulders and traps are dug into the pad, applying this force transfer right through my extended back, tightens the arch harder and transfers right into the weight.

Here is a video from a month ago of my training partner and I. Look for everything I just discussed.


One Response to “Approaching The Bar: Part 4”


  1. Weekly Recap « Greg Robins - March 26, 2012

    […] Approaching The Bar: Part 4 […]

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