NOVA Strength & Conditioning, NOVA CrossFit, Tuesday, 07.11.2017
Why the arch? By Mike Miller
Why do people arch their backs during a bench press?
If you’re like me you’ve wondered this as well. The bench press targets the chest, shoulders, and arms, so why do some people, including world record holders, get their backs involved?
There are a few reasons why many athletes arch their backs while bench pressing;
1.) Positioning of the Shoulder
- The Glenohumeral Joint is the most mobile joint in the body, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. Good when we need to swing the arm to throw a ball, or drive a barbell up in an overhead squat. But not so great if it is floating freely during a bench press PR.
- By arching the back, we increase stability in the shoulder by essentially pinning the shoulder blades to the bench, decreasing the shoulders ability to float freely.
2.) Stronger Pectoral Performance
- When we arch, the bottom of the pectoral muscles are tilted upward, this allows for more recruitment of the muscle fibers in the mid and lower pec. Thus giving us more power to push more weight!
Usually the next question after why people arch is, “The back isn’t straight, won’t I hurt my back doing that?”
In short, no.
Because the spine is not being compressed by the weight of the bench press it is perfectly safe.
To know for sure, there is a quick test. Hop on the floor face down, and prop yourself up on your elbows or palms in a sphinx or seal pose. These two positions closely mimic the arch in the bench. If you can do these without any pain you should be fine.
Buy in: 800m Run
Every 90 seconds x 30 minutes (5 sets of each exercise)
Station #1: Strict Handstand Push Ups x 10-12 reps
Station #2: Bottom’s up Kettlebell Carry x 50 feet/arm AHAP
Station #3: Floor Bench Press 8-10 reps AHAP
Station #4: Alternating Cossack Squats with Kettlebell in Goblet Squat position x 16-20 reps
Cash Out: 100 double under for time