Bench Press Has More Technical Rules Than Any Other Lift

+ news and resources for bench press

Last week, readers asked us for advice on bench press. So that’s what we’re covering here. We’re also sharing resources, news, and a discount for competitive lifters. As always, we’re also including a poll to ask what you want to hear more about in our next newsletter.

This Week’s Resources

The Bench Press Has More Technical Rules Than Any Other Lift

If you compete in powerlifting, a specific set of rules for bench press must be followed to pass a lift successfully.

Interestingly, the bench press has more technical rules than any other lift.

Here are the powerlifting rules for bench press: The main powerlifting bench press rules state that:

  • You must keep your head, shoulders, and buttocks in contact with the bench.

  • Your feet must stay flat on the floor.

  • You must pause the weight on your chest before pressing and have a constant forward motion of the barbell.

  • The barbell cannot touch your belt.

And there are more. Here’s the complete guide to powerlifting rules for bench press.

If you know these rules, you're well on your way to a successful lift in competition. However, there are several additional rules that you need to follow if you want to leverage the bench press effectively.

There are also several ways you can “cheat” the rules based on your own individual mechanics, which you'll want to know in order to lift the most weight possible in the competition.

Are You Competing This Year?

If you’re competing this year, ramp up your training with our Game Day for Powerlifting Course.

And, as a thank you for being a member our our community, use the code ONEHUNDRED during signup take $100 off your enrollment.

Here’s what coach Avi Silverberg said about the course:

Having coached over 100 National-level powerlifters and serving as Team Canada’s Head Powerlifting Coach, I’m painfully aware of the demand for proper game-day strategies. 

Lifters put in all of the hard work training for a competition, and then fail to understand the variables within the competition that let them compete at the highest levels. 

Athletes and coaches alike have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and can spend hours talking about how to optimize every little part of their technique or programming.  


They don’t bring that same level of attention to detail around game-day strategy.  

Unfortunately, the only way that you can currently learn about game-day strategy is by going head-to-head with another athlete, and then having to figure it out as you’re competing.  This is like being sent to war and then having to figure out how to use a gun when you’re already in battle.

With this online course, you’ll learn everything you need to know to be successful on game day.  

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Remember to use the promo code onehundred in your cart to get the discount.

The bench press arch refers to a person arching the upper and lower back to create a separation between the bench and their back.

This technique is used by competitive powerlifters to increase performance.

Powerlifters lift more weight using the bench press arch because it puts their shoulders in an advantageous position, reduces the range of motion of the lift, and recruits more muscle fibers in the lower pec and upper back.

The result is a higher 1 rep max.

Questions surround whether this technique is beneficial to non-powerlifters, whether it's safe or cheating, and how exactly should someone set up a powerlifting arch effectively.

Is the bench press arch cheating?

Based on the rules, the surface area between the shoulder blades and glutes do not need to make contact with the bench. So putting your spine into extention is completely within the boundaries of the rules.

We cover these questions, and more, in our guide.

Quick question before we move on:

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Powerlifting Programs on Your Phone

The PowerliftingTechnique Training App, designed for lifters of all levels, offers customizable programming and focuses on improving technique in the primary powerlifting movements: the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

This app emphasises technique improvement, which leads to more efficient lifting and decreased injury risk.

Additionally, the app offers video analysis and feedback, which is crucial for effective learning and adjusting your technique. The app's educational content provides a deeper understanding of powerlifting concepts, helping them make informed decisions about their training.

Does Dumbbell Bench Press Help Your Barbell Bench Press?

If you are focused on improving your bench press, whether for personal goals or for your next powerlifting competition, it might seem like the best thing to do is to only train the bench press. But introducing a new stimulus through the dumbbell bench press can help you beat your previous personal best.

How does the dumbbell bench press help your bench press?

The dumbbell bench press helps the barbell bench press because they are similar pressing movements. It introduces a unique stimulus through an increased range of motion. 

It also has direct carryover to your bench press because it trains the same muscles even though it targets them in a different way.

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