Breathing & Bracing For The Bench Press 101
When it comes to benching, unlike the squat and deadlift, I believe bracing is a more key element than how you actually breathe.
The axial loading changes the demands on the squat and deadlift. If you don't control your breathing and bracing abilities 100% to create the most intra-abdominal force you can, you're not going to be very successful. I
t's a bit different with the bench...
Bracing is the key element and that is a separate thing from how you breathe. Bracing is using your core musculature to tighten up your midsection.
Think how you would approach an incoming punch to the gut. You would tense up. You wouldn't say "hold on let me breathe first!". They are separate from one another!
You need to brace well in the bench in order to transfer the most force from the legs into the bar. You can push as hard as you want with leg drive but any loose links along the way is a leakage of that force.
It is also huge in maintaining stability. This is often why I recommend a belt, to at least give you a target to push into.
Breathing on the other hand is an effective tool to assist your bracing as well as expanding the area in which you breathe into. If you breathe into your belly as demonstrated, that area will rise.
If you breathe into your chest on the bench, that area will rise.
So if you touch low sternum and want to do everything in your power to cut some range of motion, it may not be a bad strategy to breathe into your chest while bracing your midsection.
If you're an equipped lifter and you touch even lower than that, it may be an effective strategy to breathe into your belly to assist with meeting belly to the bar and to help maintain stability.
Play around with it next bench session and see which you prefer to do, and if wearing a belt assists you with any of it!
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