While we’re often taught to pin our ribs and tuck our hips during things like squats, deadlifts and pressing movements when we get under a bench it all seems to go out the window. So how the heck do we breath and brace then?!

The goal of bench pressing is to generate horizontal (away from body) pushing off the chest. If our gal here is to maximize the weight being used it would be wise to use *more* that just our chest muscles 💪🏻 unless isolation is the goal.

When benching you want to still take advantage of Inter abdominal pressure (IAP) while bracing and holding that deep belly pressure while pushing against your entire trunk. NOT a held breath. So think — take a deep breath into your belly and push your core into your abs and back and sides. All around. You should still be able to breath if needed and are NOT pushing downward toward your pelvis.

Then using your legs (yes LEGS!!) to drive you like you’re pushing your self off the bench backwards while your feet are driving outward and into the floor. Power starts at the feet baby 👏🏻 and a strong lower body position could add a lot of weight to your bench if you haven’t been using it before!

While I use an arch to lift you don’t have to — but I do highly recommend retracting your shoulders and using your braced glutes + legs to help you do this!

Set up. Deep brace. Lower the bar to the base of your sternum. Press straight out and slightly back (not forward). Repeat as needed to prescribed rep range!

Also yes, always there’s 101 cues or other tips or ways to teach people to set things up. This is simply a post on bracing and leg drive. More set up specifics are for another day!

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Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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Exercise Scientist, ultra runner, lifter, human.