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Coach Case Belcher, his mustache, and Coach Damon Stacy from Four Barrel CrossFit demonstrate the basics of how to do a bench press for CrossFit.

Getting set up properly on the bench is your first key to bench pressing properly, and increasing your lifts at higher weights. A good way to get set up properly is by doing the seated drill to pack your shoulders and correctly position your forearms.

To do this, pull your shoulder blades back and down to give yourself a nice packed shoulder position. Be careful not to lose this position as you bring your shoulders down.

Your forearms should be parallel to the floor and your elbows should be close to your sides. Make sure not to wing your elbows out or get your hands out too wide. This will cause you to lose your shoulder pack which will compromise your pressing position.

You’ll notice that in this position, the bar will make contact with your body below the chest, not actually on the chest. This is a big mistake many beginners and even experienced lifters make as well, which can cost you vital pushing strength and also compromises your shoulder packed position.

From here, sit underneath the bar with the same position. Most people will be between 18″- 24″ with their hands. Going any wider than this will hurt your pressing position. Even though you may see this in a lot of gyms, try to avoid going too wide. You’ll get the most pressing strength with a narrower grip than you are likely used to.

Once you’ve got your grip down, next, you’ll want to set your base by driving your heels into the ground, squeezing your quads and glutes, and getting a small arch in your back to set your core. This will help your core support the lift all the way through so your arms aren’t stressed with the entire load of the barbell, allowing you to ultimately lift more for longer, and working more muscles.

From here, it’s all about keeping your form throughout the lift.

As you unrack the barbell to perform your bench press, breathe in and press up using your shoulder pack to press against, keeping the shoulders back and down, keeping your forearms vertical, and then moving the bar straight down and back up. Make sure your bar is hitting just below the sternum where the ribs make their apex as you complete the rep.

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