The correct form for the bench press requires that both your feet are touching the ground and your glutes, as well as your upper back remain anchored to the bench. Keep both shoulders back while keeping a slight arch in your lower back. So if this is the proper form how does a ceiling thruster lift? We've all seen them, they'll load up the bar putting both feet on the bench while they arch their back towards the ceiling as they attempt to press the weight.
Why do people do it? They want to brag about how much they can bench. Don't be fooled by these boastings, it's the same thing as someone who says they benched 400 but you see the spotter holding his biceps in pain from the spot he just gave. Yeah forced reps are great, but ceiling thrusting is something entirely different. If you take one of these guys and make them use correct form you will see that the weight will drop dramatically! Not only that but you'll see that the development of a ceiling thrusters chest is not up to par with their proclaimed benching ability. Obviously, because when you cheat you aren't putting the full stress of the exercise on the muscles involved.
Besides the fact that they aren't getting stronger, or developing they will probably wind up getting hurt too. Ceiling thrusters put tremendous stress on the discs in their back. I've seen people at the gym that thrust their hips so much during the incline bench press that the only part of their body touching the actual bench was their upper back! Okay so if you have bad form you probably feel pretty low, but there's hope. So here's what you can do to help yourself or someone you train with. Start by lowering the bar to your chest and pausing for a two count before pressing. Your ego might get hurt and you won't want to lift chest Monday nights anymore, but your strength will be real. Start from the basics and use correct form, which is the only way to size and power.
During my football days the coach would tie a belt around a five pound weight. The belt would than remain under the lifters lower back when he was maxing out. The weight would dangle but did not touch the floor. If you arched your back too much, the weight would pull the belt out from under you, and the lift wouldn't count. Regardless of whether you want to bench 600 lbs., do 225 for 30 reps, get shredded, or build a 60 inch chest the form will always remain the same. The bench press is a core lift used as a foundation. So do this lift right and the rest will follow!
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