Should you arch your back during barbell bench press?

Jack Howard

Barbell exercises are one of the most popular exercises in the world. This includes basic core exercises of the upper body. In addition to squat and deadlifting, it’s among the strength-triathlon. Barbell bench press (BBP) enjoys a great popularity in fitness clubs. Often there are many determinants of strength. The vast majority of gym regulars do the bench press, lying without arching their back. Arching is seen as dangerous for the back. How is it in reality? Should you arch your back during BBP?

Barbell bench press while lying down

Barbell bench press is not an easy exercise. Although this exercise is very popular and it would seem that any more experienced gym regulator knows how to bench press, you often see the incorrect exercise of this exercise in fitness clubs. Barbell bench press is an exercise that involves mainly the chest muscles. In addition to that, it also helps exercise shoulder muscles and triceps arms. With proper technique we also involve the widest back muscles.

Should I arch my back during BBP?

Arching your back when bench pressing is most commonly observed in tricycles and squat racking riders. Among the bodybuilders and regulars of the gym, we can usually observe them lying flat as a pancake - the entire back has contact with the surface of the bench.

Opponents of back arching generally talk about damaging the bridle for the lower back and recognize it as cheating. In the meantime, arching during BBP can prevent injury and will maximize the strength in this exercise.

Everyone should arch their back. It does not matter whether we are an amateur in the gym or are preparing for a triathlon. This arching may look a bit different when done by an amateur, not necessarily so big. Nevertheless, do not bench press with a flat back. It’s this position that is dangerous for our back. Even worse is the bench press with the feet on the bench. Quite often I observe this type of method while in fitness clubs. This is not the right way to bench press.

Arguments for arching your back

First of all, only such a position combined with tensing up our shoulder blades allows to relieve the shoulders and can protect us from injuring them.It’s worth remembering that the structure of the shoulders is quite delicate. Incorrect position when bench pressing can result in damage. Only the right position allows you to tense up the shoulder blades and allows for the right shoulder and outer shoulder positioning.

Secondly, back arching allows greater involvement of the lower muscle fibres of the chest. This gives you greater lifting capacity, better bar movement and a much more stable position.

Thirdly, arching allows the bar to be guided more towards the abdomen so that we are able to optimize the extrusion movement by engaging the triceps and the inner part of the chest, i.e. the stronger part of the rib cage. Running a barbell on the neck or upper chest involves more muscular shoulder muscles and a weaker part of the chest. In addition, such movement exposes the barges to high voltages.

Next, the abrasion of the natural curvature of the spine through the flat lying on the bench prevents the proper functioning of the gluteus muscles during bench pressing. This translates into a less stable position, less extrusion capacity, higher shoulder load, and greater back pressure.

Lastly, extreme back flexion in their lower part can actually lead to pressure on the hip joint. However, if you maintain adequate muscle tone, including the abdomen - there is nothing to fear. If you regularly perform squats and deadlifts, the back is a strong structure that you cannot damage while properly bench pressing.

Arching your back during bench press is more natural than you think!
Arching your back during bench press is more natural than you think!

How to properly arch your back?

Arching is not limited to gymnastic skills. Our task is to bend your back to the bow and to keep the position tense. The basic condition for mastering this skill is the frequency and consistency.

How to take the arching position:

  • We lie down on the bench, putting our feet on as well.
  • We grab the bar at the right width.
  • We lift our hips upward, dabbing simultaneously on the shoulders and neck.
  • We pull and twist the shoulder strongly, pushing the chest forward.
  • We pull our feet towards the barbell, bending our back at the bow.
  • Take off your feet one by one from the bench, placing them steadily on the ground.
  • We press our hands out with the barbell, the heels should be firmly on the ground.
  • We keep the body tensed as tight as possible.
  • We can bench press the barbell.

Bench Press arch - conclusion

When you’re bench pressing while lying, you should arch your back. This is not a dangerous position for our back. Arching makes it possible to avoid shoulder injuries and to maximize results while lying down.

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