I've been meaning to put together a plan for my Benches. I'm basing this off what has worked tremendously well (in my opinion) for my Squats and Deads and where my strengths were when I competed in 2006 a time when I felt my Bench form was far more conducive to equipped benches. Also somewhat related to Btb's frequent squatting thread.
What's wrong now
I'm still far too chest dominant. When I Bench my elbows have a subtle tendency to flare out at the bottom. It's not massively noticeable as you can see from my videos but it's definitely there and isn't productive. I don't think is necessarily shoulder dominance either as my theory is that front delts should contributing to pushing the arms directly up when lying down on the Bench.
How do I know this?
Back in 2006 I was very tricep, shoulder and upper back/lat dominant. My Bench was only around 140kg but it was done with a close grip. I stuck a shirt on at that point and made almost an immediate 190kg equipped bench. I was just strong in the right areas. Nowadays after my 3 years stint of bodybuilding i'm far more chest dominant and my equipped bench isn't much stronger but I'm perhaps 20kg stronger raw.
Why this is an issue
For one it's just not going to produce a big equipped bench.
For two it restricts how much benefit I get from board work, reverse band work, floor press etc because even on partial movements I have the tendency to push off with my chest. This means less tricep strengthening from those exercises and less carryover.
The messed up thing is then, if this isn't completely fixed then that groove will just get stronger and stronger on assistance work and it will never get fixed.
Solution - A complete rehaul of my Bench exercises and form.
- Temporary elimination of any full range max type of work, including assistance work and max effort work. Anything where my body will have the temptation to muscle up the weight with my current form.
- Speed work, with bands. This will be full range but light enough to regroove into the correct path.
- Max effort work dedicated only to partial range work and finished when I feel my form breaks down, not before. This will reinforce the correct groove on heavy weights.
- Regular overhead pressing as my only full range pressing, aside from the speed work. This should encourage front delt dominance rather than chest.
- A lot more upper back and lat work to push off the bottom. A LOT more! More for stability than anything else.
Thoughts on the above would be appreciated. More later.