First, let me say that this article is not to try to change everyone from the style of arching, it's more to enlighten you to a different style. As you all may know there are countless articles on how to be a better bencher by arching, but there are many benchers, like myself, who have tried arching with little to no results. To some people the flat back style feels more natural and comfortable, me personally, I have always preferred this style. I have been competing in powerlifting for 3 years now with great success using this style, I have also trained many fellow lifters with great results. Flat back is really great for pec development and tricep strength. I know most people say the arch is better because it shortens the distance the bar has to travel and gives you leverage, which is very true, but the flat back develops more power in your pecs and triceps and gives you better balance , in my opinion it gives you more support from your lats. Look at a bencher who uses the arch style versus the flat back style, for instance, you will see a lifter who does flat back generally has fuller, stronger looking pecs and more explosion off his/her chest where the arch back bencher will tend to have smaller, flatter pecs with less speed coming off the chest. Now, with all that having been said, I will explain a few easy steps to taking your flat back bench to the next level:
The Setup -This is by far the most important part of the bench. As soon as you sit on the bench you want to move your feet around until you find the right spot, and when you lay down to bench make sure you entire body is tight. Grab hold to the bar and squeeze your shoulder blades together, and keep them tight throughout the lift and (DO NOT MOVE YOUR FEET WHILE BENCHING!!!).
Hand Placement -Some people prefer the close grip, and some prefer wide grip. Me personally I put my pinky fingers on the rings, but every lifter is different so I say play around with it until you find the right grip for you.
Elbow Placement -Most flat back style benchers tend to bench with their elbows flared out which, takes a lot of power away from there lats the correct way is to slightly point your elbows downward. Don't tuck them in your sides that works best for a archer, but you want to turn them in enough to be able to use your lats to push the bar.
Mental Focus -The single most important part to any lift. You have to visualize the lift and know in your heart and mind that you are going to dominate the weight. You have to walk up to the bar ready to attack be mean be aggressive.
Speed -In order to truly dominate the flat back bench you are going to have to learn how to use speed to your advantage. This is one of the things I am know for is my fast descent and fast press it takes a lot of practice to be able to use speed in a safe controlled manner. Board presses are a great way to learn how to incorporate speed in your benching. Speed is the single most important aspect in the flat back bench since you are not arching. You don't have the shorten distance, so you need speed to help supplement that. Again it takes a lot of time and practice, but it's a very important factor in any kind of bench.
Now that we have gone over all the basics I encourage you to give it a try, whether you're a flat back bencher who wants to go to the next level or a archer who is not feeling comfortable and not getting the results you want. note- this should also be combined with a well balanced diet, lots of rest and intense training.
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