Becoming Unapologetically Powerful: Foot Position for the Bench Press

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Did you know the bench press is also a lower-body movement? Your legs play a role in building a stronger, more powerful bench press. This latest tip is an easy one that has a big impact.

You may have heard Jen quote her good friend Maya Winters, strongman-national-champion-turned-competitive-powerlifter, when she says, “The bench press isn’t a press. It’s a shove.” Think about instances where you’ve had to actually shove something; chances are you don’t just use your arms. You put your whole body into it, right? That same idea can be applied to the bench press. It’s a damn tricky lift where you are best served by recruiting as many muscles a possible to shove the bar away from your chest. Enter your legs. (An easy fix for the petite lifters whose feet don’t reach the floor: place small blocks under your feet so your entire foot can stay planted throughout the lift.)

Check out the latest video in the “Becoming Unapologetically Powerful” series, “Foot Position for the Bench Press,” to learn the ideal place to put your feet to begin utilizing leg drive while keeping your butt competition legal (meaning on the bench). Enjoy, and as always, leave any questions or comments below!

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Author:Jennifer Blake

Jennifer Blake’s leggings might be pink but her weights aren’t. A personal trainer at The Movement Minneapolis she is a powerlifting and strongman enthusiast with a passion for human movement, here to spread the good word that strong is fun. Facebook: Strong Is Fun, Twitter, Instagram
Comments: 11

11 Responses to “Becoming Unapologetically Powerful: Foot Position for the Bench Press”

  1. Nancy Brennan
    October 14, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    Thank you, that was very helpful!!

    • Jennifer Blake
      October 15, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

      You’re welcome, I’m glad you liked it, Nancy! 🙂

  2. Lesley
    October 15, 2015 at 7:40 pm #

    Your tips are so simple but so helpful.
    Clear instructions, video is great!

    • Jennifer Blake
      October 15, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

      Thank you, Lesley!

  3. Alyssa
    October 18, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    Love the “shove” thing! Any tips for a small person who has trouble reaching the bar to get it out of the rack while maintaining good form? Neither the racks nor the benches at my gym are adjustable so I can’t quite get it low (or high) enough to reach without help or moving my shoulder blades out of position.

    • Jennifer Blake
      October 21, 2015 at 8:15 am #

      Alyssa: Can you bench in a power rack? (Squat rack) If so, drag a bench over and bench press there. The j-hooks on power racks are adjustable and the holes go down low enough for even the shortest armed lifters to bench without having to reach too far for the bar. If you don’t have access to a power rack you can 1) have someone lift the bar off the pins for you (but you still might need to re-tuck your shoulder blades after the lift off if you’re having to reach for the bar while it’s on the pins), or 2) stack a small box or bumper plates under the head of the bench, if the bench and arms are not all one piece.

      I hope this helps!

      • Jennifer Blake
        October 21, 2015 at 8:17 am #

        Also, I just scrolled down and read that Dominique and I basically gave you the same advice. Jinx! 🙂

  4. Dominique
    October 20, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    Alyssa: So there are no power racks for squatting-> I can’t use the static bench press station for the same reason. So I reuse a power rack for squats and bring over a workout bench (similar set up as the video)… I’ve seen people put plates under the bench too, if they still can’t get the right position with the rack adjustments. If you don’t have that, you’ll probably need a spotter to unrack for you. I won’t bench unless I have good positioning-> in the past, I would just dumbbell press if I couldn’t use the squat rack for some reason.

    • Jennifer Blake
      October 21, 2015 at 8:16 am #

      Great tips, Dominique! 🙂

    • Alyssa
      October 21, 2015 at 8:37 am #

      Thanks, ladies! Unfortunately we don’t have a power rack at all, so I may need to experiment with elevating the bench and then also my feet so that they can still reach the floor cuuzzz I’m a shorty

      • Jennifer Blake
        October 21, 2015 at 8:53 am #

        Bumper plates or yoga blocks work well when placed under the feet for those who can’t reach the floor!

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