Positional Requirements of a Pain Free Bench Press

We’re 59-minutes into amateur hour and time is almost up. The bench press cannot regress to meat up, bro culture any longer. If the front of your shoulder or pecs are hurt from bench day, this one’s for you. 

The bench press requires an incredible effort to maintain position such that the bench press can be the incredibly functional exercise with supreme loading potential that it truly is. If not, it’s just a sloppy grind-fest on your poor shoulders. 

Here’s what you’ll need..

Shoulders should be both depressed and retracted. Said differently, they ought to be set back and down. This means the scapular should be pinched together and the shoulder should be “packed” down into the shoulder capsule. This position should remain true at lockout. 

Keep in mind that achieving this position means the rib cage will elevate. Whereas we would call this ribcage elevation an “open scission” fault in most any other instance around the gym, the shoulder’s position under the loaded bar and into the bench changes the requirements for traditional optimal stacking of the ribcage over the pelvis for intra abdominal pressure to mechanics that mimic a throwing pattern. This instead stabilizes through cross body tension because the body is on the bench. 

Looking for supporting data?

I challenge you to find an 800lbs bench press rep with the back flat on the bench. 

What does this mean about your shoulders? It means, the bench press is largely a test of upper back strength to set and hold this position and that your shoulder shouldn’t roll forward to accomplish this task with your pectoralis major and front delts. 

5/1/24 WOD

DEUCE Athletics GPP

Min 1: :20 Double Under
Min 2: 10-12 Hollow Rocks

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:
6 RDLs

12 Alt DB Snatches (60/40)
6 Burpees




Bent Over Row

Then, Complete 5 rounds for calories of:
:45 Max Row
-Rest 2:15-