Bench Press Q/A – Jim Wendler

Bench Press Q/A

Question: I have a bad shoulder. How can I work around or through this?

Answer: This is something most veteran lifters have gone through. Rest is the obvious answer (as is an MRI and a good doctor, and I'll assume these steps have already been taken). Here are a few more tips:
  • Start squatting with a buffalo bar or a safety squat bar.
  • Eliminate any kind of pressing from your training other than the main lifts. Keep all assistance to pulling movements.
  • Pause all your reps at the bottom.
  • Make sure you warm-up thoroughly.
  • If you've had shoulder issues in the past, don't stop the rehab. It should always be done as part of your training program. You don't stop fucking once you get married, and you shouldn't stop shoulder love once it's healed.
  • Make band pull-aparts a steady part of your training. Do 100 reps every day. Another great "rehab" movements is the full-range plate raise.  This has helped my shoulders immensely  and has actually allowed me to press again.

Question: I have sore elbows and can't press without pain. What can I do?

Answer: I had some awful elbow pain and one of the best things I did was take a few weeks off and let the inflammation die down. After I felt better, I eliminated all direct triceps work, especially extensions. Using a wider grip while squatting also helped, as did stretching my shoulders before squatting. Using a buffalo bar would also help greatly.  

Question: I've heard board presses work well for increasing the bench press. What are your thoughts?

Answer: Board pressing can definitely help but the one problem that always rears its head is that people become great board pressers and not necessarily better bench pressers. They simply learn how to use the board and heave the weight off it.  If you have the discipline to use boards correctly, i.e., not heaving or sinking into the board, they can be beneficial.  

Question: How do I keep my butt on the bench?

Answer: This is simple – just do it. People lift their butt for one reason: to lift more weight. Keeping your butt on the bench is nothing more than having the discipline to do so.  Doctors have successfully replaced a human heart with a pig's heart. I think it's more than reasonable to expect you to keep your ass on a flat surface while pressing a barbell.