Bench Press Setup
Where does an effective bench arch come from? The frequent misconception is that it comes from low back spinal flexibility. This can improve one’s arch but it is not an ‘effective’ arch. The best arch builds a structure that is strong and supportive of the weight you will be bearing in your hands, and also reduces the range of motion.
With these two points in mind think about the role the low back spinal flexibility plays. It certainly does not support the weight so it has a minimal impact on developing that supportive structure as compared to what can be produced in the upper back. What about range of motion then? If you’re using a shirt and doing a lot of belly benching flexing out that lower portion of your spine can reduce your range of motion. However, if lifting raw the belly is usually not touched. Perhaps the very upper part of the belly but that is still the rib cage and thoracic extension will still play a greater role in reducing the range of motion.
Even if using a bench press shirt and belly benching I will argue that a larger, and certainly more effective, bench press Setup can be created using:
- Scapular Retraction
- Upper Lumbar Flexion
- Thoracic Extension
Does this mean that laying over that foam roller to bench press isn’t the best method for improving your Setup or Arch? Yes I am most certainly stating this. Stop laying on a roller to bench and start working some mobility drills to address these areas.
In the following video I demonstrate some methods and sequences that you can use for working on these areas specifically for the bench press. Additionally you will clearly see the improvement in my Setup from beginning to end in this 10min drill…prior to doing ANY low back/stomach stretches that are commonly used.