Recently I presented at University of Western States Chiropractic College on the topic of the bench press. I often get questions from the clinical community about the bench press. The deadlift and squat are discussed quite frequently as functional and corrective movement patterns, but the bench press is the dirty little step child that never gets covered in these environment, making it the most asked topic from this community. If it is covered, the posturally correct flat back or “sternal crunch” bench press is considered the most functional and preferred pattern.
Yet the question always remains: why can you bench more with an arch then? Correct patterns on the squat and deadlift help you lift more but the bench does not. Additionally, it’s easy to observe more shoulder deviation and control of shoulder centration/position with the flat back bench than an arched bench. Often times, people with lack of control of shoulder position can be corrected almost immediately by placing them into an arch. This is counter to what one would expect if you’re moving from a correct/functional position to an incorrect.