The Arch for the Bench Press

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I have gotten better at the drive with the legs since that last video above; in fact, I got too good at it (?) such that at the end of December when I tested my 1RM, I pressed a good weight (130 lb) but my butt lifted off the bench so the rep was no good. I tried twice more afterwards and pressed it both times, but again same thing
Visualize something similar to what you do in a getup - you push into the ground, and it ripples back up your body, across your torso and into the opposite side shoulder. Here, visualize the push going up your body, into your shoulders. (Opposite sides are still good - right foot into left shoulder, left foot into right shoulder.) I like to continue the imaginary energy path, visualizing the energy coming through my shoulders and going up and into the bar so that the ripple ends up pushing the bar away from me.



Level 5 Valued Member
Due to shoulder issues I don't Bench Press, instead using the Floor Press. For the Bench Press the elevation and narrowness of the bench allow you to pack your shoulders with or without arching. But the Floor Press has you lying flat on the floor so a natural arch of the back is required in order to pack your shoulders. And the arch is perfectly natural, you don't do much to figure it out, just arch until your shoulders can pack then stop. I'm wondering whether the arch required naturally for the Floor Press is a good starting point for those trying to figure it out for the Bench Press. Maybe try lying on the floor?

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Revisiting this old thread.... Because sometimes it's just cool to see progress, as others have shown on other threads.

I've continued to bench press for another year since my last video in this thread on the bottom of page 4 from 1/22/18. That video was 95 lb x 5. Today I was doing doubles, so the video below from this morning is 137 lb x 2, and this was the 5th and final set of these today.

Overall I can say that I now believe "The Arch for the Bench Press" is WAY more about developing the upper back muscles than it is about mobility. So my advice to my old self would be: keep bench pressing, keep getting tight (shoulder blades pulled in, chest up), and it will come.

And overall I can say that I'm really, really happy with what bench pressing has brought me in my strength development. You can bet I'm going to keep this in my training as long as I'm able! And I think I've got farther to go. Current 1RM is 155 lb, and I'm sure I'll get to 175 in another year or two.



Level 6 Valued Member
Powerlifting history factoid: The arch in the bench press was popularised by British powerlifter and six times world powerlifting champion Ron Collins and was, for a time, known as the 'Collins arch'.
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