10/20/Life: Fixing Your Bench

Today, I’m going to break down a bench press and a deadlift. We’ll start your morning out with this bench press coaching session, then move to the deadlift this afternoon.

Remember two things here:

1. The entire philosophy of 10/20/Life is predicated on assessing your weak points, then turning them into strengths.

2. 10/20/Life will show you precisely how to do this, with my Assistance Work and Weak Point Indexes.

APPROACH: You’ve obviously had some good coaching, along with some definite under-the-bar experience. You’re really tight and locked in here. I like it.

FORM: Your technique looks pretty solid from top to bottom, but here are a few things I would do:

  1. Try not to “flatten out” when you touch your chest.
  2. Stay tall, keep your hips up, and drive your heels—even when you’re not actually pressing.
  3. One thing you can do to get your back more involved would be to tuck a little bit on the way down, tuck at the start of the press, then flare after that. I think you would get more drive that way.

WEAK POINTS: Nothing glaring jumps out at me here, although if you address your triceps and upper back more, I think that could get you up over 400 pounds. More leg drive, and “staying tall”—as described above—would help, too. You also need to work on getting quicker and being more explosive.

FIX: Along with the cues above, here are a few exercises to add to your routine. Add the back work on deadlift day, and you can do your triceps work on either your bench day or your 10/20/Life “fluff and buff” day—or both. Core work can be done at any time.

McGill Pull-ups: 6-12 singles (this will show you how to get faster).

Speed Work on Bench: 5-6 singles, on a deload or secondary day.

Barbell Rows: 3×6 (heavy)

Close-Grip Board Presses (3-Board): 3 sets of 4-6

Full-Range Reverse Band Bench Press: This will make you a little bit faster from your transition to lockout. Work these in on a normal 10/20/Life day in either your offseason or pre-contest work. Just use the bands for your entire day to overload your bench press.

Get The 10/20/Life Ebook HERE!

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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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