Tuesday, April 28, 2009

To Tuck or Not to Tuck...

... that is the question. Years ago, it seemed all the popular "rage" to really tuck your elbows hard when benching. It took the stress off the shoulders and placed it on the triceps. Over the years, I've seen everything from what looks like a close grip bench (elbows touching sides) to elbows out, bodybuilder type bench. So what's right and what's wrong?

First, it depends on the width of your grip. Closer grip will obviously have elbows tucked more. But the problem is when people go to a competition grip (wide- outside power rings) and still tuck their elbows too much. This will lead to you getting "handcuffed", which basically means your body is not in the correct mechanical position and makes it impossible to push. (I've been guilty of this several times myself). You can even get handcuffed if you're using a bench shirt. We were taught to bring the bar low and really tuck. If you do this, chances are the bar will drift right back into the rack.

Second, as I just mentioned, it depends on if you are benching raw or with a shirt. Raw benchers most likely will not have to tuck as much. Shirted benchers will tuck a little more to get the bar in the groove of the shirt, but like I said above, don't over do it.

So, when you put these two things together, you should be able to figure out how much to tuck. Raw bench with a close grip - sure, you can get away with tucking your elbows alot. But as soon as you move out wider, your elbows have to follow. Remember, your elbows and wrists need to stay in line with each other. If your hands go back first, the bar will fall on your face.

Happy Benching!

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