Senior Certified Instructor
Steve,The principles taught at the course are, of course, correct,
Concepts and PrinciplesI agree with the right cue for the athlete.
Missed Bench Press RepThe natural arc, that I like to see, in a bench press is not huge; I'm talking about maybe 2-3 inches. When I see people miss the rep with bench press, what often happens is they let the bar drift too much to their head on the way up. When this happens their elbows flair and their lats aren't as engaged as they were before.
Examine the various research data on will provide you with a greater perspective on this.I'm definitely not an expert and am not an elite-level powerlifter. But I do follow StrongFirst's teachings, and this is how they're taught.
Thinking Doesn't Make It SoThe StrongFirst courses and certifications teach what they do and in the way they do after much thought...
You Keep Saying the Same Thing.Concepts and Principles
The same concepts and principles work for everyone.
That means, if it "the right cue for the athlete", it the right cue for everyone.
I'll add to this a few items from my own experience.As a barbell novice I've found this discussion interesting and useful despite the difference in emphasis from the posters, so thank you all.
My take home interpretations are:
1) The bar path is likely to be an arc regardless of your body type. But is likely to be individually unique.
2) There is no good reason to try and exaggerate this arc - it will come naturally.
3) A good cue is to try and push straight up - don't exaggerate and end up with the bar over your face.
4) And then finally from Al - tread wisely if you try to really build your limit strength on the bench press.
The last point resonates with me.
I personally greatly prefer overhead pressing to benching - mainly because I get transient pain at the front of one shoulder when I bench and I figure that is not a good long term prognosis for benching. The pain is not bad and is minimised with a narrower grip and if I try and ensure an arc (avoiding sticking the bar over my face), but it is still the only lift that causes me discomfort.
Overhead pressing in contrast causes me no discomfort and in my opinion it's just a happier feeling.
What exactly do you find to be wrong with safety pins?There is no lift more liable to harm you when it goes bad - a good spotter is essential. In the absence of one I strongly encourage one to switch to dumbbell bench press or a Smith machine. Not the same but you'll still get 90% of the benefit.
They still require you to move the weight off of its line of support to rack it. If you are already failing this can put the shoulder in a very compromised position.What exactly do you find to be wrong with safety pins?
I agree that a spotter is very useful in moving the bar to and from the rack.They still require you to move the weight off of its line of support to rack it. If you are already failing this can put the shoulder in a very compromised position.
A spotter's main job (assuming they aren't prying the weight off your sternum!) is to assist in racking over the span between the pegs and the upper hold.
If your arms are locked this is not a big deal, if the arms don't lock out then the shoulders take a huge amount of strain as the weight comes off the line of support.