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The Bench Press is probably one of the most popular exercises performed in a gym, yet one of the most controversial. One of the most asked questions when it comes to this topic is “Why wear a lifting belt when benching?”.
Proper use of a lifting belt can increase your performance and prevent injuries during hard lifts, so let’s see how we can take advantage of that during benching. Before we can answer the question, it’s important to bring into discussion what is the proper way to bench press, because having a good form is one of the most important things to focus on.
A good foundation about the form of an exercise will help you progress and prevent an unwanted injury.
Bench Press Setup
- Lie down – Position yourself on the bench with a flat back.
- Squeeze your shoulder-blades together– This is probably one of the most important steps, that will help you perform the bench press correctly and will keep you away from shoulders injuries. Grab the bar, raise your chest and put your shoulders-blades back and down, squeeze them, then lay back on the bench. At this point, your body should make contact with the bench in 3 places: your head, your upper back, and your glutes. Your back should be slightly arched.
- Feet Placement – Drag your feet back and keep them on the ground, until you feel stable. This way you will be able to use leg drive.
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- Unrack – Straighten your arms to unrack the bar until it’s above your shoulders
- Lower the bar – The place where the bar makes contact with your body depends on your grip and arm length. Try to lower it in the same spot every repetition. Keep your forearms at 90 degrees to the ground.
- Press – Press the back to the initial point, above your shoulders. This entire time try to keep your glutes on the bench.
If you want more in-depth details about the bench press form, I recommend that you watch Layne Norton’s guide.
Benefits of wearing a lifting belt when benching
Now that we know how to bench press properly, let’s talk about what benefits wearing a belt when benching has. The simple fact that a belt makes you feel safer and more powerful has an impact on your performance.
When it comes to exercises like squats and deadlifts, adding a lifting belt can improve your form and you will notice an increase in strength in a short period of time if you are using it the right way. However, for the bench press, things are a little different, because a belt will not have such a noticeable impact on your performance, but in the long term, it will help you for sure.
- It makes you ready – You can use your belt when benching as a tool that reminds you to get ready. It’s really important to make your body as tight as possible before a big lift.
- It helps you maintain your arch – Even though the level of your arch depends on what your purpose is (hypertrophy or lifting as much weight as possible), a belt can help you maintain your position better.
- It helps you mentally– The mental part is really important as well, therefore just the simple thought of having a belt equipped can make you more confident, especially when you are about to lift something that seems intimidating. The extra focus that a belt gives you can have a positive impact on your performance.
- It helps you with bracing – Learning how to brace your core and breathe correctly is really important when it comes to compound movements, which includes the bench press as well.
Here you can find more details about this topic.