Leg Drive in the Bench Press

Should leg drive be constant? Should it be one big burst off the chest?


Let's talk about some details around it: one of the big things that we like to talk about, is leg drive should be constant and it should actually start to take place before you even unrack your bar. So let's imagine setting in the bench press like you normally would, and you're going to turn on, or have leg drive taking place before you even unrack. And then as you unrack, continue the drive, then as you're going through the eccentric of the lift, turn up that 'leg drive' dial just a little bit coming off the chest. so all-in-all, leg drive should be turned on, for 80% of your total capacity to do so throughout the entirety of the lift. But there's definitely something to be said for turning it on an additional 20% as you go to actually press off the chest.


The analogy that we commonly use with breathing and bracing is that of a dial. You don't need to breathe and brace your full capabilities to pick up a pen, but when you're doing a maximal loaded squat obviously you're going to need to turn that dial up as much as possible. This is fairly similar to the bench press. I like to think about it as, about 80% capacity throughout the entirety of the lift before you unwrack, and then turning up that last 20% as you actually go to press off the chest.


When leg drive comes in one big burst off the chest, we lose motor control and stability during the eccentric as well as have a greater likihood of glutes coming off of the bench. By producing leg drive as a constant endeavor throughout the entirety of the lift we optimize our ability to handle load.


-Written by Coaches Brandon Morgan and Derrington Wrigt