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The Bench Slide

The ONE TIP Missing From Your Chest Workouts!

Posted by Scott_Herman - May 4th, 2015

When it comes to getting the most power out of your bench press shoulder positioning can be the difference between breaking a max record or tearing your shoulders to pieces.

One of the most common mistakes beginners make when bench pressing is they bench across their shoulders instead of across the chest which is the muscle you are trying to focus on when benching. This simple mistake can lead to years of damage being done to the shoulders and unknown amounts of gains being left behind due to lack of chest engagement when performing the movement.

This form mistake is also the biggest reason why people justify doing “half-reps” or stopping at 90 degrees. They say going all the way down is bad for your shoulders, and I agree with them 100%! But I agree with them only because their form is wrong to begin with.

At least once a week I show someone this technique and all of a sudden I am their new best friend. Shoulder pain is gone, they can finally “feel” their chest being engaged throughout the movement and they instantly see that once perfected they will be able to substantially increase their overall strength.

Barbell Bench Press

To perform the “Bench Slide” on the barbell bench press you need to first get into your barbell bench press starting stance. Plant your feet on the ground, open up your hips, squeeze your glutes, arch your back, and place your hands on the barbell. Once in place, without moving your feet, swing forward while keeping your hands on the barbell so that you increase the arch of your back and “slide-down” the bench. Once you have slid down about one foot, retract and drive your shoulders into the bench as you slide up toward the barbell and stop once your body is returned to your bench press starting stance. At this point you should feel like your shoulders are retracted back as much as they can and you are now ready to perform the movement with your maximum power and zero should pain!

Dumbbell Bench Press

To perform the “Bench Slide” on the dumbbell bench press you need to grab your dumbbells and sit on the bench with the dumbbells in your hands resting on your quads close to your knees. Once in place, retract your shoulders “back & down”. It is very important you focus on bringing them “down” because if you only retract your shoulders “back”, this could still lead to you benching too high and cause shoulder pain or an injury. Next, with your arms straight, roll back and kick the dumbbells up with your knees by pushing off your toes. This will allow you to maintain your retracted shoulders as you roll back and get into your bench press stance to being the movement with your maximum power and zero shoulder pain!

Be sure to let me know if this tip helped you in the comment section below! Now go make those GAINS!

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I've always wondered about this. First, it looks like a really painful set-up. Second, it looks like you'd be forcing half reps because the point where the bar would touch would be higher than normal. It also looks like an accident waiting to happen (no offense) like seeing someone bench pressing with their feet up in the air. I'm probably just not understanding this. I always put the bar on my xiphoid process anyway (guess there is an advantage to having one that projects).

jcgadfly  Edit  Delete  Close

Addendum: OK, I'm more aware of my arch now (particularly with dumbbells). I still look at you and you're just about head bridging. 

jcgadfly  Edit  Delete  Close

I've read as many "proper" ways to bench as there are article writers. I may be doing it right and not knowing it because I can't see it. It looks like a really exaggerated arch though - almost like you're bridging. No offense meant.

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Well, this is the proper way to bench so that you avoid putting pressure on your shoulders.  Takes a strong core to arch like that, have you tried it with light weight?