Bench More Weight with Leg Drive! - Fix It Friday

The Problem - Lack of drive and stability from the lower body

A very common fault I see with people's bench press is lack of drive from the lower body. Where you place your feet and how you initiate drive from your lower body plays a huge role in your positioning on the bench, the amount of force you transfer into the bar, and the stability in which you have to press from. The bench press is just as much a total body movement as the squat or deadlift when performed correctly!

The Fix - Set your feet correctly and initiate the bench with your lower body

There are a couple ways in which people can go about setting up their feet on the bench. Neither is right or wrong, it is just a matter of preference and having the patience to master the set up. You can either take the toes back heels up approach, or the flat footed approach. These are the two general set ups in which you can use, from there each can be broken down into finer details

Toes Back Heels Up

In this set up you're going to want to tuck your feet behind your butt so that you are on the balls of your feet and your heels are up off the ground. To initiate leg drive in this position you want to drive the heels down. Your heels won't actually touch the ground but through the act of driving them down you'll see that your chest lifts and your lower body gets tight. Throughout the duration of the bench press, from hand off to finish, you want to be driving those heels down to elevate that rib cage to gain a better position

Flat Footed

If you prefer keeping the feet out flat, you can also bench very successfully this way as well. The key here is to point your toes out so you have more foot surface available to drive against the floor. In this position as well as the toes back you want to widen your feet as much as necessary to keep your butt from lifting off the bench as you press. To initiate leg drive in this set up you need to push your feet out hard against the ground yet again for the duration of the lift, just as if you're trying to drive your body back off the bench. If you set up on your traps properly and apply this drive with the legs you'll notice your chest lifts up slightly. That is the tightness and leverage advantage you're looking for with this set up

Start using that lower body and add big pounds to your bench!

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