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Powerlifting Bench Press

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How to perform a powerlifters bench press?

The bench-press is the second movement that is measured in the powerlifters competition and is considered to be the best test of upper body strength because it involves all the major joints and muscles of the upper body. However if you ask any powerlifter how much they bench they often get upset.

The reason why a powerlifter would get upset with this kind of question is that the bench-press is just 33% of the total strength measured and the strength of your bench-press does not indicate your total strength. The bench-press when done correctly uses very specific muscle groups.

It is a compound exercise and it should be done early in a routine to ensure fatigue of one muscle group does not limit the entire exercise (for example, working triceps before the bench). This exercise uses pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, long head of biceps brachii and coracobrachialis for flexing the shoulder.

It also uses triceps brachii and anconeous (predominately) for extending the elbow. But it gets even more complex as hand spacing on the bar will dictate whether the shoulder flexion (wider grip) or the elbow extension (narrower grip) will be predominant.

Upper and middle back (especially latissimus dorsi) are also utilized during this lift. In addition to these major dynamic (phasic) muscles benching activates stabilizing (tonic) muscles. These are the core (obliques, transverse abdominis, quadratus lumborum, erector spinae, multifidus), scapular stabilizers (middle and inferior trapezius, serratus anterior), and humeral head stabilizers (rotator cuff muscles).

When doing a powerlift bench-press there are five very specific phases of every accepted powerlifting bench-press. This article is far too short to go into the specific detail of each phase only a brief description of each phase will be discussed here.

Phase 1: Setup (Prepare yourself by putting on your lifting apparel: shoes, shirt, singlet, belt, and wrists wraps, in that order. Chalk your hands heavily to get a good strong grip and your shoulder blades and butt to prevent any possible sliding off the bench).

Phase 2: Unracking this example is actually a simulation of the maximum lift performed like the one on a meet. The only step that is different than in normal training is ďInhale DeepĒ, where you will inhale before every repetition and not just before the first one. During competition, the spotters are allowed to assist you with this step).

Phase 3: Descent (Descent must be done in a very controlled and somewhat slow manner. Descending too rapidly will make you lose control and bounce the bar off the chest which is not allowed to do. So be sure to control this part of the lift. The strongest focus is required for this stage).

Phase 4: Ascent (During this stage you must put forth all the resources that you have in order to drive the weight up. Since your descent was done slowly and bouncing off the chest is not allowed, you canít count on inertia to aid you in going up. The bench shirt in this situation will act as a sling and help you additionally. NOTE: If you wear a shirt, the bar should touch the chest at the sternum (breastbone). Without the shirt the bar should touch somewhere between the nipples and the sternum).

Phase 5: Racking (When the bar is up and the elbows are locked the only thing left to do is racking the bar. The lift is not complete until you conclude this step. Only afterwards will the lift be fully finished. Donít let the fact that you managed the weight so far to steal your focus, because it isnít over yet. During competition, the spotters are allowed to assist you with this step).

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DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

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