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alienjenn

bench press for short people

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ok... when I bench press my legs aren't long enough to touch the floor comfortably... I CAN do it but it causes severe lower back pain and my shoulders come off the bench and I am not at all comfortable... I ended up putting my feet up on the bench close to my butt and doing my bench press... my back feels beautiful and I don't have an issue with it... and I am increasing my amount and it's amazing because I finally am able to bench 65#!!

 

I was told by the main trainer lady at my gym that I should put a box for my feet because FEET MUST BE ON THE FLOOR or I am ruining the point of the bench press... she wouldn't elaborate more... wouldn't tell me HOW the lift was ruined just kept insisting that I would ruin my bench press... 

 

so what's the difference?? feet on the bench or feet on the ground... 

 

if it is important I have (among other issues) a slight cervical kyphosis (it's mild enough not to require a brace beyond a super supportive bra ;) but it can cause intense pain if I am not careful with form and such) and I have arthritis in my lumbar spine... I am 5'4".... my doc is ok with me lifting (I go to a naturapath  who specializes in sports meds) he said I could lift as long as I listened to my body... 

 

my body says put my feet on the bench... :) but if it's totally wrong I am willing to try using a box to put my feet closer to the ground... I am not 100% against change... I just don't want to have pain :(

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Bench pressing should be one of the most uncomfortable things you ever do. Check out EliteFTS "So You Think You Can Bench."

 

Putting your feet on the bench can be beneficial if you are trying to work your chest more but are willing to move less weight. If you want to move the most weight you need the right setup to include leg drive and a tight back. This requires your toes on the floor, feet behind your knees, and only your traps and ass in contact with the bench. Like I said, one of the most uncomfortable things you will ever do.

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There should be blocks somewhere you can put down by your feet to raise the level of the floor for this reason. If not, grab some of those aerobic steps or something. The only reason say to do this is tht it will add stability and safety to the lift compared to feet on the bench. However, there are people who bench with their feet up there with no issues. If you're just going for general fitness, not competition, as high as you can get type numbers, then do whatever is comfortable.

 

I'm just going to call what you are doing a floor press, which works your arms more than your chest.

 

I'm short and had to use a box under my feet, until I hit my whooping 3 inch growth spurt in college, lol

 

 

It's not a floor press because since she's still on the bench, her elbows can comes down past her back and the bar can touch her chest. A floor press works because the floor stops full range of motion.

 

 

Bench pressing should be one of the most uncomfortable things you ever do. Check out EliteFTS "So You Think You Can Bench."

 

Putting your feet on the bench can be beneficial if you are trying to work your chest more but are willing to move less weight. If you want to move the most weight you need the right setup to include leg drive and a tight back. This requires your toes on the floor, feet behind your knees, and only your traps and ass in contact with the bench. Like I said, one of the most uncomfortable things you will ever do.

 

This is a competition bench press. Most people don't need to go to that extreme.

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There should be blocks somewhere you can put down by your feet to raise the level of the floor for this reason. If not, grab some of those aerobic steps or something. The only reason say to do this is tht it will add stability and safety to the lift compared to feet on the bench. However, there are people who bench with their feet up there with no issues. If you're just going for general fitness, not competition, as high as you can get type numbers, then do whatever is comfortable.

 

 

 

It's not a floor press because since she's still on the bench, her elbows can comes down past her back and the bar can touch her chest. A floor press works because the floor stops full range of motion.

 

 

 

This is a competition bench press. Most people don't need to go to that extreme.

 

 

I am just going for general fitness... and personal strength... and knowing that lifting does awesome things to my risk of osteoporosis and all that good stuff...  no competitions in my future... 

 

eh... the boobs mean that when the bar touches the chest the elbows are not past my back :(

 

so basically you are saying that I won't hurt myself by doing it with my feet on the bench? I was just very confused when I was told I would "ruin my bench press" by putting my feet up.... how is it different on the muscles?

 

 

Bench pressing should be one of the most uncomfortable things you ever do. Check out EliteFTS "So You Think You Can Bench."

 

Putting your feet on the bench can be beneficial if you are trying to work your chest more but are willing to move less weight. If you want to move the most weight you need the right setup to include leg drive and a tight back. This requires your toes on the floor, feet behind your knees, and only your traps and ass in contact with the bench. Like I said, one of the most uncomfortable things you will ever do.

 

 

my doctors only recommendation for lifting ANYTHING is that I remain within my comfort zone... with my specific health issues and chronic pain issues "uncomfortable" can quickly turn to "so much pain I can't move"... I don't care about moving less weight... I am ECSTATIC that I can even lift 65# (I started with 8# db and have painstakingly worked my way up... it's taken forever... but I am very very proud of it!!)  

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My wife is having a hell of a time getting her bench up, so I can definitely relate on that. You should still look at the video series on EliteFTS and see if you can use some of Dave Tate's cues and positioning. If you can't then so be it, there are a hundred ways to skin this cat. Either put your feet on the bench or on some blocks to get comfortable. Try varying your grip width as well. The narrower your grip the more triceps dominant, the wider grip is more reliant on the pecs. It's all a matter of finding where you are strongest.

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I just had a trainer tell me that I was benching wrong (powerlifting style - like the EliteFTS video). He tried to put a bosu ball at the end of the bench for me to put my feet on!! and when i proceeded to tell him i was fine and my powerlifting coach was teaching me - he said that "powerlifting and crossfit form is bad, and dangerous".

 

If that is the only way you are comfortable then at least you are doing it! I would also suggest trying it with blocks under your feet to see how you like i though :)

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The bench I have at home has a foot on the end that comes out. I take this out so the bench is kind of inclined, with my feet lower. It's the only way I can touch the floor. I like the idea of using blocks! Even with the foot out, I am just barely touching the floor.

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Feet on the floor is recommended for stability reasons. It creates an anchor from which kinetic energy can be transferred from the ground to the bar allowing you to apply more force. More force equals more weight which in turn equals more strength. So I too suggest using some blocks.

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I'm 5'2" and while sometimes I can't find the correct positioning, I am able to put my feet flat on the floor and push through my legs while on the bench. So maybe you just need to fool around with where you are on the bench a bit? Failing that, putting your feet on a box is a good idea-- I've also seen putting your feet on plates which is also good as long as the plates and floor have enough friction so they don't slide (at home this is not the case for me-- no rubber on either.)

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I'm 5'2" with stumpy little legs, so I get it. I'm flexible enough now to put my feet flat on the floor (though I look distinctly un-ladylike doing it because I have to spread my legs out wide), but for a long time I put plates under my feet when I benched. My bench is most powerful when I have my feet flat on the floor and can drive through my heels. Benching optimally should involve your whole body - feet driving into the floor, quads as tight as possible, the entire core braced like you're about to take a punch in the belly. If I'm focusing hard on maintaining all of that tension throughout the lift, I've got a 120# bench. When I don't I'll end up pinned under 105# every time. 

 

But I'd say it's more of an issue of limiting the amount of weight you'll be able to move and of reducing the number of muscles you're working than anything else. 

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I'm about 5'2 with short legs aswell... We have an adjustable bench, and I have to rest my feet on the feet things that curl out under the leg curl attachment. I don't even know if that makes sense?! But its really awkward.

 

Didn't think of putting anything under my feet... Going to have to get some blocks and try it too!

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UPDATE!!

 

 

I have been working with my lumbar and thorasic spine mobility (thank you secret santa and KStarr!!!)

 

I can now touch the ground and have my feet comfortably in the "proper" position!!!!

 

 

 

and... I can bench 100 for reps yo.... ;) (and I actually did 110 ONCE!!! which is superamazingawesomelywonderful!!)

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I just had a trainer tell me that I was benching wrong (powerlifting style - like the EliteFTS video). He tried to put a bosu ball at the end of the bench for me to put my feet on!! and when i proceeded to tell him i was fine and my powerlifting coach was teaching me - he said that "powerlifting and crossfit form is bad, and dangerous".

 

Powerlifting form is bad and dangerous?  What?!?  This dude should be dragged into the street and trampled by an angry mob.  Bosu balls were put here on earth by Satan to confuse people and prevent them from working out properly.  I agree about crossfit though, I am a... what's the opposite of the word fan?  I'm whatever that is for crossfit.  But powerlifting is essentially textbook weightlifting.  I am disgusted to hear this.

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UPDATE!!

 

 

I have been working with my lumbar and thorasic spine mobility (thank you secret santa and KStarr!!!)

 

I can now touch the ground and have my feet comfortably in the "proper" position!!!!

 

 

 

and... I can bench 100 for reps yo.... ;) (and I actually did 110 ONCE!!! which is superamazingawesomelywonderful!!)

 

Awesome sauce, Jenn!  Keep up the awesome work.  

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