As a strength athlete, I arch my back during bench press, this was developed in the powerlifting world to lift heavier weights as
a) the range of motion is decreased and
b) Leg drive is incorporated.
But this article is why you, whether you’re training for strength, aesthetic or just for fun, should arch your back whilst bench pressing.
Many people come to me saying “you’re going to break your back” or that I’m “cheating” and sure some people can pretzel their way into an exorcist style set up for strength purposes but today I’m talking about something less extreme.
First off I would like to talk about the biomechanical benefits of arching your back.
Now, how to do it:
6/5/2017 0 Comments
Disclaimer: First and foremost, I would like to say I am not a doctor, qualified chiro or physio. I am a qualified personal trainer who has been lifting for 4 years and powerlifting/training strongwoman for the past 2-3. I’ve had a wide range of injuries and hiccups along the way that I have both self-medicated as well as sought professional help with and I hope that some of these tips and tricks are able to help you.
Phew, now that the formalities are out of the way... Hi, how’s it going? Get comfy and read about my experiences pissing my pants in the gym. Warning, there will be times I share way too much info, but hey! We’re all human.
I first noticed this “dysfunction” (I say dysfunction because although its common, it’s certainly not normal!) about a year into my powerlifting journey when I started pulling heavier weights and used my belt like it was a security blanket. At first, I just shrugged it off because a large handful of women I knew experienced this, I know it’s a common occurrence from women who have had children but also among powerlifters and other strength athletes. I had finally joined the elite club of “team pissy pants.” It didn’t bother my all that much as it was only very minor and I just knew I had to bring a pad with me to my sessions. After a while it became more and more noticeable and I was feeling like I had to use the toilet before every set. It became more frequent and was much like Niagara Falls as far as volume was (TMI? Sorry… I did warn you). How can someone produce that much urine when they had just gone to the bathroom? It began to affect my lifting, I would start pulling a deadlift and it would be all I could focus on and I started missing lifts, sets and prescribed weights. Then it started affecting my day to day life, I would sneeze or cough or even laugh and oh god there would be a mess. This is when I finally took a stand against my body and booked in with my chiro Kylie Vincent Chiropractic. She confirmed what I thought was the case, I had an SI Joint out to one side and a bit of pelvic instability, putting pressure on my bladder and causing the incontinence. The pelvic instability came from a lack of glute and lower abdominal activation before my lifting causing too much movement in my pelvis.
Now the good news… I rarely experience my issue anymore.
How have I helped it?
Make sure your glutes are doing the work they need to do. Not only does it create a round, beautiful butt, it also ensures your back is staying stable and you’re less likely to experience incontinence. My routine includes:
3 x 10 banded squats
3 x 10 monster walks
3 x 10 glute kick backs
3 x 10 single leg, leg raises. I lay on my back with my legs at a 90-degree angle. I then tense my abs (under my layer of cookies) and slowly drop one leg at a time. Ensure your back doesn’t arch and your abs stay on! Drop the reps in you need to.
By implementing these few small changes, I have noticed a considerable difference! Gone are the days of fearing sneezing in public, or lifting heavy! I still have a few moments here and there on my nemesis lifts… Stones I’m looking at you. But all in all, I have definitely seen a noticeable improvement.
If you haven't already heard my story then sit down, get comfy and continue reading...
Backtracking to the age of eleven. I had been playing soccer for most of my childhood. After a while my young metabolism stopped working in my favour and my love of food got a little out of hand. Boy oh boy did i love food! Whole blocks of chocolate, YES! Whole tubs of nutella, YES! I could eat anything and wanted to eat everything. Slowly but surely i packed the weight on and kids started to notice and much as young kids do, they would make snarky comments. Subsequently this sent me on a downward spiral of binge eating in private and constant stop/start attempts to get skinny.
Fast track to the age of sixteen. I remember sitting with one of my friends balling my eyes out because i was eighty-something kilos. I was miserable, i had no self worth, i was depressed, anxious and had no clue on how to pull myself out. I had just started training at a gym which offered a 5 week bootcamp, which i signed up to. I gave up "junk" cold turkey and went to the gym 5-6 days a week and saw the fat just melt away. SWEET... or so i thought.
In the first few months i lost a whopping 12 kilos! I was determined to be below 70kg because to me that was my ideal weight. Over time as my weight-loss stalled i began eating less and less, and training more and more. It got to the point where i would stress about the calories of a lunch i ate out with friends or that time away from the gym would instantly blow me back out to unhappiness. Little did i know i was becoming obsessed with seeing changes. Checking my weight every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and becoming addicted to everyone telling me "I'd done so well." I trained for up to three hours a day to hopefully get smaller and smaller - oh how times have changed. I decided i wanted to help people who were struggling as i was and so i became a personal trainer.
I loved weights training at this particular gym and i loved the feeling of being strong! I decided i wanted to give powerlifting and strongwoman a crack. Over time i learnt about proper nutrition and how to fuel my body. I slowly stepped away from stressing about the scales and enjoy life again. I slowly crept back up to eighty-something kilos, but as a completely different person. I started competing in a sport i loved and seeing other people empower and cheer each other on. Over the past 3 years of competing I've gained different medals, records, and experiences i would never change.
At Sharpe Training i love people of all sizes, experience levels and with whatever back story! I never judge. I promise to continue to push, empower and create strong, healthy and powerful bodies!