If you have a hard time feeling your pecs working when you do the flat barbell bench press, THIS is a technique you're going to find extremely useful.
It's a very simple adjustment to the barbell bench press that's going to open up the rib cage and allow you to feel the pecs contributing to the movement more effectively.
Essentially, you're going to be setting a single Step riser on top of the flat bench...then you're going to lie back on it and do the exercise exactly as you would on a flat bench.
Set the riser at about the mid-point of the bench. You'll need to adjust this when you lay back on it as positioning will be very individual.
Your butt will be in the normal spot and it'll be on the bench. Your upper back is going to be on the riser, with your lower back basically curved around the bench, which is what forces the rib cage to open up and also forces the shoulders back behind you.
Essentially, it's a way to make sure your body gets into the proper position for pec activation in the bench press by giving it no choice.
I like to do all my benching in the power rack for safety (I train alone)...if you do the same, you'll need to adjust the racking pins and the safety rails up a bit to account for the increased height.
One thing to be aware of is that this setup is more unstable than the regular flat bench...not because it's designed to be but because that's just how it ends up. Start with just the bar the first time you do it to make sure you've got the exercise setup properly, then add weight gradually, making sure you're going for FEEL in the pecs, not massive weight.
To give you an example, I've just got 135 lbs on the bar, which is light for me, but I really felt it strongly in the chest...more so than with double the weight...because of the position it forces the pecs into.
This is a VERY effective technique and if you have issues feeling your pecs working when you do bench press (and you have access to a Step riser), definitely give this a try.
Using a Step Riser for Dumbbell Bench Press
This can very easily be done with flat dumbbell bench press as well. Just get used to the different pattern of getting the weights into position with lighter weight before moving up to heavier dumbbells.
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