Updated: Aug 18
Let’s face it. A big chest and a strong bench are the two ways we compare ourselves to other guys in the gym.
But the truth is that your bench numbers don’t mean anything if your form is not on point! And it’s probably the biggest reason your chest isn’t growing.
By “fixing” your bench press form, you’ll recruit more muscle fibres in your chest, and you’ll induce more muscle growth as a result.
The first bench press form mistake is something most people are aware of yet tend to have trouble properly implementing.
Whenever I ask a client to bench press, the first thing I say is to shoulder blades pinched together as if you were going to pinch a pencil. This enables better activation of the chest by minimizing the involvement of the front delts.
If we don’t have the shoulder blades retracted, what happens is shoulders begin to round forward. This can irritate some of the rotator cuff tissues in the front of the shoulder.
So instead, you want to do the following as you set up for your bench press:
Pinch shoulder blades together
Maintain this tightness by actively squeezing your shoulder blades together as you perform the movement
Avoid the common mistake of opening up the shoulder blades and losing tightness at the bottom or as you push up
INCOMPLETE RANGE OF MOTION
The barbell should touch your chest on every single rep. Failing to lower the barbell all the way down to your chest is CHEATING! It doesn’t count as one full rep. This fails to efficiently recruit all of your pectoral muscles and as a result, you don’t get the growth you’re expecting.
Instead, do this; Reduce the weight by 40% while you experiment with any form changes. Lifting with correct form may be harder at first, but you’ll make fast progress once your form is on point.
The barbell should never “bounce” off of your chest at the bottom of a rep. When you bounce the bar off your chest, you’re using momentum to lift the weight. This means that your muscles are actually doing LESS work, and the less you work, the less you gain.
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