Ted Arcidi's Precision Bench Pressing Technique by Dennis B. Weis "The Yukon Hercules"
When Ted approaches the bench, he will turn so that his back side is facing the foot of the bench. At this time, while he is still standing, he will take in a healthy gulp of oxygenated air. He then sits down on the bench and places his feet in the correct position, which for him is 3-4 inches away from the base of the foot of the bench and out to the side of the bench. He turns his feet out about 4 degrees while taking care to make sure that the soles and heels of his shoes remain in contact with the lifting platform at all times. For this particular purpose, he will usually wear a pair of power shoes, which provide good traction, although at this meet he wore a pair of high-cut suede sneakers, which are customary for him to wear in his regular workouts. He then breaks an ammonia capsule and inhales its contents through his nose to clear his head. At this particular meet, he used one ammonia capsule for his first and second attempts and two capsules each for his third and fourth attempts.
Next, within a split microsecond, he lays back into a supine position on the bench where his head is positioned in such a way that his eyes are approximately one inch past the racked barbell. His shoulders are positioned about 4-6 inches from the upright support rack. At this point, his head, shoulders, back, and buttocks are in contact with the bench. It is interesting to note here that Arcidi does not go for the customary big arch that most all the top powerlifters use. He simply can't arch and one can only speculate how much more he could bench with a nice 8-inch arch over what he is doing in the flat-back style.
Ted next takes a hand placement on the bar that is narrower than the allowed 32 inches between the forefingers. In fact, during world record attempts, he will move his hand spacing in an inch closer than he does for regular workouts in order to utilize his triceps and deltoids to the maximum. To get a better idea of what this hand placement is really all about, I suggest you secure a copy of Powerlifting USA, the November 1990 issue. The cover photo by Vada Crosby illustrates it beautifully. Ted then wraps his thumbs around the bar and squeezes the bar as tight as he can. He has found that when he squeezes the bar super tight, it in turn tightens his wrists, elbows, and shoulders, and this makes the whole bench press machine a more fluid motion. Ted is now ready for the liftoff, and here at the count of three his spotter helps him lift the barbell out of the upright support rack, but no more than three inches, and not moving it in too far out in front of him. His spotter at this meet was his 20-year old training partner, Timmy Bashow, who is a champion bench presser in his own right, with a max lift of 500 pounds in the 220-pound class. The liftoff assist is unusual, in that it is done at the center of the bar with a mixed deadlift grip.
After the bar is out of the rack and supported under Arcidi's own power, he will take about a half of a breath and then begin lowering the bar down to his chest. This action will usually take 1 ½ to 2 seconds to accomplish at least on the first attempt. Then on the second, third, and fourth attempts, he will bring the bar down a little quicker, at about a second or a second and a quarter.
Generally, in his training he will stay with lowering the bar in 1 ¼ seconds regardless of what percentage of his projected max he is using. The bar touches the chest about a ½ inch below the nipples on the lower sternum.
Ted finds that if he positions the bar any higher on his chest, it tends to constrict the delts and puts major stress on the rotator cuffs, which are almost turned up and at an angle, rather than flat. When the rotator cuffs are flat, the stress is more evenly distributed and there is less chance for injury. Ted does not believe in tucking the arms into his sides when the bar touches the chest, but in fact flares them out to 45º-50º perpendicular to the body. He feels that this is the natural way for the arms to move.
Ted thinks of his chest as a minefield, and his big thick lats like the elastic cocking of a gun, and it is with these two muscles primarily that he literally blasts record-shattering poundages off his chest with energizing power at the referee's signal to press.
Most of the top champion powerlifters will usually begin pressing the barbell in an arc toward the uprights, but not Ted. He has such tremendously strong deltoids and triceps that he just presses the weight up vertically. This usually will take from 1 ½ to 2 seconds to complete. The lift is completed without any trick of performance and the spotter helps Ted rerack the weight.
Ted Arcidi Training - Workout, Powerlifting
Ted Arcidi Report
"The Boss of the Bench Press"
Ted Arcidi is the first man to officially bench press 700 lbs. Respected bodybuilding columnist Dennis B. Weis conducts an exclusive interview with the legend. In addition to some in depth questions this 28 page e-book also covers Ted's training outline, perfect bench press technique, and Ted's blueprint for championship bench pressing. You'd have to agree that we all could learn a thing or two from this pioneer in the sport. Read more about the report here.