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1/23/2015 8:09:50 PM - Aaron Gamache
I have noticed that most of the when you guys/gals bench, that there is enough arch in your back that, when you touch your chest with the bar your upper arms don't go much past parallel to the floor. With me arching as much as I can, I have to stop 2 inches off chest. Is there anything I can do to increase my arch
Aaron Gamache


Having a good arch for powerlifting (specifically for bench pressing) really boils down to muscle mass, thoracic spine mobility, and hip mobility (specifically the hip flexors).

As you'll notice with many of the fine, strong women on this team, they have tremendously better arches. They have less muscle mass (not that they don't have awesome backs, just not quite as much mass compared to the extent of us guys), really good t-spine mobility, and pretty flexible hips.

For a male to press big weights though, you want to have a big upper back. This alone should help shorten your bench stroke by about a good inch or two (depending on how big you already are). So really make upper back work a focus, not only for the thickness, but bigger surface area to press into the bench with.

Next would be to look into your t-spine mobility. Here are some of my preferred mobility drills:

T-Spine Extension over Foam Roller
Tripod T-Spine Extension/Rotation
Side Lying 90-90 Windmill

Joey Smith also put together a great YouTube video of how he has his athletes work on their aches during bench days.

Now for your hips...

I'm a big fan of getting some stretching in on the hip flexors almost every single day when it comes to powerlifters. We constantly put our bodies into anterior pelvic tilt for our lifts, and our hip flexors take a beating.

Here are some drills you can do:

Couch Stretch with Overhead Reach and Rotation
Lying Hip Flexor Stretch with band
Split Stance Holds

While these aren't end all be all's to having a great arch, they can certainly help you decrease your press and give you a good place to start.

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Hope that Helps,
Brandon Smitley

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