Your bench press Sucks: 5 reasons why

Your bench Sucks: 5 reasons why

So, you’re not happy with your bench press because it sucks. Now, having a sucky bench press is relative. But, if you’re not happy with it, as most of us are not, this video and article might help you make some adjustments that might start turning the tides. NOTE: I’m not a great bencher, nor have I ever been. I have benched 800+ in multiple classes, but I’m far from the best. My goal is to help shed some light on a few things you might be missing in your approach.

You don’t have good cues for your bench press.

In 10/20/Life and Gift of Injury, I mention specific cues that I suggest one try for their bench press. But, the cues are not limited to the ones I mention. There is more than one way to skin the cat. But, if you feel lost, ensure you aren’t missing the basics. Lock your back in, bend the bar, and drive your heels without touching too low, but don’t touch too high, either. Flare your elbows, but not too much! Each cue will be personally dependent and highly adjustable.

You’re benching in the wrong shoes!

If you haven’t at least put a little thought into what shoe you should be benching in, then address it. Please keep it simple; you don’t need any specific shoe to bench in. But it should allow you to have good leg drive and not slide when trying to press lockout. Some lifters like specific shoes; I think a Van’s or a Chuck T. is fine. Find the shoe that works for you, and stick with it. A tip for your bench shoes: Keep the bottom clean and new, so they stick to the surface you’re benching on. Please don’t wear them out, and make them slick.

Bench press weaknesses

You’re not attacking your weak points in the bench press. Instead, do what you suck at, and make this your assistance work. Attacking weak points is not sexy or fun, but it’s required. That is – if you want to take your bench to the next level. So analyze your bench press, find the deficits and build them with your assistance. For example, try close grip bench presses, board presses, or even floor presses if you struggle with lockout. I give you several assistance exercises to choose from in 10/20/Life.


Bench press mentality

Your mentality matters. Unfortunately, I’ve never been extremely confident in the bench except for maybe a handful of times going into a meet. So, I can understand those that struggle with this. Build confidence in training, and practice the way you play. While competing, I got hurt the most during the bench press. This made me a bit gunshy during the last few years of competition. However, this is not an excuse and a great example of how being skittish can hold you back from achieving what you can physically due to mental weakness.

You’re loose!

Yes, you guessed it, you aren’t tight enough and have energy leakages during pressing. It might come from a bad handoff, or you’re crooked on the bench or equipped benching and having a tough time touching. Then, you end up rocking all over the place. But, no matter how you put it, you’re leaking energy everywhere and sapping your power to press big. So, lock your back in, and ensure that you have good cues that you practice and have your training partners remind you of. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been near lockout on the bench press and ever so slightly gotten loose in my shoulders or my hips, and it ruined the lift!

For those who would like a consult about your bench press or any lift, I offer Virtual and In-person consultations and virtual and in-person coaching to help you.

The following two tabs change content below.
Avatar photo

Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Contact Brian Carroll

Schedule A Consult Below

Take 25% OFF
Your first purchase
Subscribe Now!