tip of the month archive

TIP # 01

The flat bench press is one of the most popular free weight exercises in gyms world wide. It's also one of the movements that's more likely than not performed incorrectly. Even the name of the exercise is technically incorrect.

Your pectoral muscles are involved in a variety of movements, but their primary function is to PULL your arms across your chest in front of you . . . as in a dumbbell flye. That exercise is as pure a pec movement as you'll ever get! That being the case, the pecs should be viewed as "pulling" muscles, not "pushing"muscles, and the bench press should be viewed as a "pulling" movement, not a "pushing" or "pressing"movement.

With that in mind, try to view your pecs as pulling together at the sternum, or breast bone, when you perform the bench "press" (this holds true regardless of the angle of the bench).

You do this by keeping your back arched on the bench, and being sure that your sternum is higher than your shoulders throughout the exercise. It's like shrugging your shoulder blades together behind you. Does that make sense?

You'll probably have to drop your poundages quite a bit to get the exercise right, but they'll go back up once you've got the movement down pat. The big pay-off is much better pec development with fewer of the shoulder problems normally associated with benching.

This is the "Reader's Digest condensed version" of proper bench press form, but it's enough to make a big difference in your chest development.

Try this month's tip for 30 days. Then [ E-mail ] me and tell me about your progress.

- Poppa

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