Today’s post is mostly for the meatheads…the guys who worry about a big bench press. Their is one cue I find myself using all the time with my athletes as I am teaching and coaching the bench press. It has seemed to work both for my athletes as well as myself. I have seen greater strength as well as shoulder health while implementing this cue.
What’s the cue you ask? I know you are patiently waiting.
“Break The Bar”
Why “Break The Bar”?
Telling one to “break the bar” during a the bench press helps to create tension in the upper back, creating a much more stable shoulder.
You thought the bench press was just a chest and triceps’ exercise right? Actually done right, they bench press can use the entire upper body in some fashion.
The upper back is pivotal in bench press performance. It helps created the “foundation” in which a house of a bench press is build.
First you must build a strong upper back but then you must use it with the bench press. By telling someone to “break the bar” you are telling them activate their upper back muscles, especially the rear delts and the lats.
How to “Break The Bar”?
When I cue an athlete to break the bar, I am cueing them to do two things. I am cueing them to horizontally abduct against the bar, or pull apart their hands, as well as to “screw their hands” into the bar. I may also tell the athlete to try to “bend the bar” as another cue for “screwing their hands”.
Attempting to pull apart their hands against the bar will activate the rear delts and upper back.
Telling someone to try to bend the bar will turn on your lats.
Together these help create a more stable platform to press some huge weight. As they say, “You don’t want to fire a cannon from a row boat.”
This applies to the bench press as well. You can’t press big weight without having a stable shoulder. Both of these cues are also effective for creating shoulder stability during the push-up, but instead you are doing it against the floor.
Give it a try! See if it helps you start benching more or with less shoulder pain.