We had our first Strength Camp in a long time recently and we had a great time teaching the basic lifts. One of the problems I see with bench press is that people aren’t used to putting their feet flat on the floor and pushing through the feet and the legs. They also aren’t used to keeping their butts on the bench and maintaining a slight arch in the lower back. Your friend should be able to slide his hand under your low back when you’re on the bench. Unrack the bar with straight arms, don’t have your arms bent when you take the bar off the rack. When you unrack it, use your lats to pull the bar over your chest. And we haven’t even benched the bar yet! All these things are called the “set up” and you should practice getting all these right every time if you want your bench to go up!
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