How to fix your bench press – part 1: the Setup (EliteFTS collection)

“How to fix your bench press” was a series of three articles originally published at the EliteFTS website. The parts were:


    1. 1. The setup
    2. 2. The execution
    3. 3. Programming and assistance work

On my website, I reproduce part of the article and the link to keep reading it at the EliteFTS site.


How to Fix Your Bench Press: The Setup


A lift is not exactly “a” movement. It is a complex of movements sometimes called a sport gesture or, for simplicity, a compound movement. A compound movement is just a movement that engages more than one joint. The bench press could be seen as an exercise with more than one compound movement, for example.

A lift is not a simple thing as flexing your elbow; it is a set of motor tasks and it has a learning curve. Like any complex motor task, learning a lift requires a phase of acquiring tacit knowledge. Then, by exhaustive repetition, the most important elements of the lift become automatic (also known as “autonomous” phase) 1.

A sports gesture is not like walking or driving, which are motor tasks that evolve through the cognitive-associative-autonomous phases and the individual can just keep doing it until senile dementia or some brain damage affects it. A sports gesture reaches the autonomous phase and may still degenerate in technique, change (for any reason or combination of reasons) and improve. Also, it can unfortunately reach the autonomous phase with automatic ineffective and mechanically counter-productive movements or positions.

It needs to be fixed.

Fixing a lift is not only for the novice or the mediocre lifter that had the misfortune of learning it from suboptimal sources. No, everyone may need to fix their lifts. The hardest ones to fix are precisely the very high performers. You may not be aware of it, but these are the people who struggle the hardest to fix their lifts. They are already near the top of human performance. Sometimes a one-kilo heavier lift will mean an all-time record. Fixing a ridiculously small issue on the setup or grip may grant him that historical kilo.






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