Are you feeling it in your shoulders whilst bench pressing?

I often hear complaints about people not feeling like they are activating the chest while bench pressing. This can be frustrating and can reduce overall motivation.

What can we do to fix this?

Checking the position of your elbows and shoulders at the start ensuring they are in the correct position can make a huge difference in how you feel performing the bench press, and it can help you with your ability to move more weight for more reps.

Shoulders & Elbows

Try this quick test to demonstrate how the pectoral muscles should feel when fully contracted.

Stand up tall and place one hand on the opposite side of your chest. Now with your free hand, raise your elbow so it is parallel to the ground, and perform a pressing movement. You will feel the chest activate and contract as you do this, but not too much.

Now, while keeping your hand on your chest, bring your free arm down 45 degrees so that it is closer to the body. This time perform the pressing movement while keeping the elbow in this same 45 degree position. The pectoral muscle will contract a lot more efficiently, and you should feel it almost ball up as you reach the end position. This is want we want to feel when we bench press!

So, next time you set up to perform a bench press. Remember to keep your shoulders and scapula pinned to the bench. And keep your elbows in a closer position to the body. This will allow the chest to activate more efficiently and ease stress on the shoulders.

Happy benching people!