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Training discussion on bench press form, within the Bodybuilding Forum; Hi, sometimes when lifting i put my feet up on the bench to keep my back flat on the bench. ...


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Old 12-09-2007, 02:26 PM   #1
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Hi, sometimes when lifting i put my feet up on the bench to keep my back flat on the bench. Are there risks to doing this? should I keep my feet on the floor? I dont want to arch my back but some benches are a little too high to keep my feet flat on the floor.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:05 PM   #2
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Why don't you want to arch your back? If you're worried about arching your back too much, then wear a belt. But keeping your back flat kills your power. Arching your back will give you better leverage. If your bench is too tall, then put a plate or two under your feet on the floor. You will probably be okay as long as you keep your butt on the bench...no one I know has hurt their lower back unless their butt was way off the bench.

If you do put more than one plate down, then be careful because they can slide. I have a bench at home that is about 95 feet off the ground. I put rubber mats under it and I have some shallow wooden boxes that I put my feet on.

There is nothing specifically wrong with keeping your feet on the bench although it makes it difficult IMO and feels unnatural.
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Old 12-09-2007, 03:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross86 View Post

I have a bench at home that is about 95 feet off the ground.

ha...you and me both...i just use some old speaker boxers i had laying around...i used to put my feet up on the bench....but on the boxes feels alot more natural...

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Old 12-09-2007, 03:18 PM   #4
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I'd recommend against the feet up benching. It is actually pretty complicated to explain because it's not a cut and dry situation (hardly anything ever is).

There are probably people who would be better off with their feet up due to lower back problems caused by etension/rotation problems. But those people may also be advised to limit flat bench pressing.

If you put up your feet it will limit your abilty to get in a proper position and provide a good stable "platform" with the upper back. It WILL limit the amount of weight you are able to push.

The problem is similar to the other side of the coin that you will see with powerlifters. They will really get their hips way up in the air and exaggerate their back arch a lot. Basically this makes it more like a decline bench and reduces stress on the shoulders and they can lift more. But as a general training technique this excessive arching should be avoided. What you want is feet firmly planted and a "neutral" lower back, which is one that is naturally slightly arched.

I noticed you said you don't want to arch your back. Can you explain what you mean by this and why?

When you put your feet up on the bench what you do is the opposite of the excessive arching thing. You flatten out your back. So it is no longer neutral. This impedes natural power transfer from the lower to upper body..a big part of benching. If you flatten out your lower back you also can't arch the upper back. Effective retraction of the scapula is impeded and this rouned back posture while lifting can cause the scapula to wing. Something you don't want.

So you want the knees bent, feet firmly planted, a good tight neutral arch of the lower back, shoulders down and back with scapula retracted (pinched) together...all this will lead to the best longer term "health". Especially at the shoulders. As well as the biggest numbers.

Maybe you can find something to place on the floor on both sides of the too high benches to place your feet on. Perhaps some extra plates or steppers. My bench is too high as well and I actually put my feet on gallon paint cans filled with sand So whatever works.

BTW, I was posting at the same time as Ross and Pity so if any of this is a repeat of anything they said, my apologies.

Last edited by EricT; 12-09-2007 at 05:09 PM.. Reason: lots of typos

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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Old 12-09-2007, 05:10 PM   #5
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I think the less arch you have in yur back the better form you are holding since (as powerlifters demonstrate) arching your back enough causes flat to become more of a decline. Some times i see guys doing dumbbells with there feet in the airholding their legs up off the bench (hard to explain) . I guess maybe im thinking by having your legs up makes your core unable to be flexed during lifts.
Not really sure where im going with this one...
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Old 12-09-2007, 05:15 PM   #6
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A natural back is a slightly arched lower back. This does not mean you need to or want to exgerate it but it also doesn't mean you want a "flat" back which is equally bad. But I'm not sure what you are trying to say. Are you saying you agree or that you still want to keep your feet on the bench?
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:11 PM   #7
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i think you answered my question that having your back flat on the bench is equally bad as over arching.
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:33 PM   #8
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instead of explaining how i keep my legs up here is a picture. i have been benching with my legs up since high school so i may just be used to it. i have always thought putting my legs up helps me throw out all the use of my lower back muscles or whatever it is that helps you bench more.

i do it just because if i lift a certain amount with my legs up i know i can throw on more weight if i put my legs down. so for me its more of a mental thing. im just trying to throw out any advantage.
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:46 PM   #9
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Why did you post a picture of yourself getting ready to do a warm up set and not a working set?
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:55 PM   #10
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lol naw not a warm up set lol. i did post it so i wouldnt have ot type a whole bunch of sentences describing how i put my legs up. so i remembered i had this pic of me and my homie messing around in the gym and posted it
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