Breaking down my bench press

Yet another day of running around at work. I’ve been working at home in the evenings lately; I can’t get a chunk of time to focus on things in the office. I hate this.

But the gym is my happy place, where all I have to do is show up and pick heavy things up and put them down again (or vice versa). The gym makes sense. I like the gym.

Squat – 2x5x45lb, 2x5x115lb (warmup), 5x5x135lb
Bench – 2x5x45lb, 2x5x65lb (warmup), 5x5x105lb
Row – 10x45lb (warmup), 5x5x75lb
Bonus: 2x10x45lb triceps, 2x2x10x25lb dumbbell B/O row, 2x10x35lb lat PDs

Squats felt good, though my lower back is feeling kind of fried and the weights are starting to feel heavy and my natural tendency is to fall forward and cheat with my back which is no good. I focused today on keeping the force vector back over my toes and engaging my quads.

Bench– well, I came to bench today with a lot of enthusiasm. I’ve mentioned that I watch Jujimufu’s videos and a couple days ago he was a guest in the home gym of a woman named Jen Thompson, who happens to have the highest Wilks score for bench– this means that, adjusted for weight and gender, she can bench more than any natural lifter in the world. She’s amazing! Her website is here, and she also has a bunch of videos on YouTube demonstrating her bench press technique and how she trains. After watching them last night, I was ready to try it out for myself.

There were 3 main things I needed to dial in: my grip width, back arch and shoulder position, and leg drive. Grip width is a lot wider than I usually take, which lets the chest do more of the work rather than the triceps (which of those two muscles is bigger, right?) Back arch is very pronounced, and the chest high and the shoulders grounded into the bench, aiming to get the chest into a decline-like position for more strength. Finally, feet on the ground pushing back through the heels along the bench, without lifting the butt up. I was doing some of these things partway, but putting the pieces together was really interesting. My sets were good, and I’ll keep working on it as I continue to add weight to the bar. Technique is not something I’ve focused on, so I know I have a lot of room to improve.

Back to the Jen and Juji training video for a minute– I was so, so pleasantly surprised by this. I think a lot of lifter bros would have a hard time setting their ego aside and shutting up and learning from a woman. Jujimufu, to his credit, was very receptive and positive. I mean, when you have the opportunity to be coached by the best bench presser in the world, the appropriate thing to do is to listen and learn with gratitude.

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