The recent trend on all of my training videos is to make some sort of comment about my bench arch. People want to know what my secret is to having such a big arch.
Well, in this article, I’m going to reveal what I believe to be the secret to a big bench arch.
If you’d rather watch than read:
How to Increase Your Bench Press Arch
The first key to making big improvements in your bench press arch is to stop thinking of arching as some sort of flexibility trick and start thinking of arching as a skill. Why? Because skills are something that you can build up over time with practice. You get good at what you repeatedly do.
Here’s the thing. I’ve been benching at least two times per week for three straight years. Many times, I’ve even benched as much as four times per week. Every time I bench, I use the biggest arch that I can. Even when I’m warming up with the bar, I practice getting into the biggest arch that I possibly can.
In terms of mobility work, every single one of my bench workouts is a mobility workout for my arch as well. I do dozens and dozens of reps during each bench workout and, that entire time, I’m arching hard. And, believe it or not, arching helps improve your arch.
Bench Press Arch Technique
Again, the number one piece of advice that I can give to those of you who don’t have a good arch is to start viewing arching as a skill. As with any skill, you need to perfect your technique. If you don’t have an arching technique, go ahead and copy mine.
Bench Press Arch Technique:
- Lay down on the bench, bridge up by pushing your feet into the bench, and drive all your weight onto your traps
- Place your hands on the uprights, dig your traps deeper into the bench, and push your shoulder blades together
- Walk your heels under your butt and kick your feet as far behind you as you can
- Push into the uprights to drive your shoulders closer to your ass and to increase your arch
- Drive your heels into the ground as hard as you can to reinforce your position
And there you have it: a good bench press arch technique.
Bench Press Arch Mobility
I am no fool. I know most of you came to this article looking for some sort of a crazy Kelly Starrett mobility drill where I have you mashing some muscle in your back with a lacrosse ball, but, generally speaking, I don’t recommend that sort of mobility work for those without pre-existing, diagnosed issues.
However, what I do have for you is what I call the “bench press arch stretch”. And it involves… holding a bench press arch to stretch out your arch! Amazing, right!?
Here’s what you’re going to do:
- Set-up an arch on the bench press as shown in the technique section above
- Push up into the arch as high as you can using the bar
- Drive your head as close to your ass is possible, hold for 10 seconds
- Push back up into an upright arched position and hold for 10 seconds
- Repeat this process 5-10x before benching
This is the best mobility drill I’ve found for improving the bench press arch because of how specific it is.
Specificity and Mobility
In my opinion, the best way to improve mobility is through specificity. For most of you who don’t have true injuries, the fastest and most effective way to increase your range of motion in a position is to simply assume that position and hold it for a stretch.
Sure, you can do all sorts of mobility drills for separate body parts and hope that it adds up to better positioning, but unless you’re trying to get that last bit of mobility from your body, your time is much better spent just working on the position itself. Remember, we are powerlifters NOT gymnasts. You don’t need world class mobility; you just need to be able to effectively assume mechanically efficient positions to maximize your lifts.
If you want to arch more, you have to arch more!
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