The bench press is arguably the most common lift seen in a gym. Whether you are a powerlifter, bodybuilder or general gym enthusiast, the chances are you will train the bench press and be keen to improve it. These three mobility drills are designed to help improve your ability to bench by ensuring that the key joints are mobile enough to get into the positions that can generate the most power.
- Thoracic extension
We have a natural curve in our thoracic spine that curves slightly forward into a flexed position. The mid back is designed to be supple enough so that we can reverse this curve into a more extended position. This allows us to be able to push our chest up and closer to the bar so we end up moving the bar a shorter range of motion. It also allows our shoulder blades to rotate around our rib cage in the natural movement pattern, this allows for better force production through the shoulders when pressing.
2. Hip extension
A key factor and one that is massively underrated in most athletes while benching, is the ability to drive from the hips and glutes. To do this effectively the athlete needs to be able to generate enough hip extension so they can get their feet as close to under the bar as possible and generate the stability in the glute muscles to encourage the drive phase when the bar is on the chest. This range of movement in the hips also helps to improve the arch.
3. Ankle dorsiflexion
This is another key player in being able to enough range of motion to position your body optimally to generate the power needed for a bigger bench. The aim should be to have your feet as far back as possible with your heels still on the floor. You need to be comfortable in this position as this is where the start of the drive phase begins before translating through the glutes, back and arms.
About the author
Michael is an Osteopath, trainee strength and conditioning coach and competitive powerlifter.