Mark Bell and Silent Mike Teach Us How To Bench Efficiently

Mark Bell, Silent Mike, and the Super Training Team continue to pump out great content, figuratively and literally.

The most recent video they shared was a 35-minute clip called, “The Definitive Guide to Bench Press Like a Beast.” This video was awesome. It was descriptive and informative, plus it provided practical cues for lifters to start using ASAP.

Although…the video is 35-minutes long, and while I highly suggest watching all of it, time isn’t always on our side. So to save you some time – I summed up a few of the key talking points from the video.

1. Comfort Within The Uncomfortable (:50)

Bell begins by discussing developing habits that become routine when putting ourselves in an uncomfortable position, i.e., the bench press. From your mental preparation, getting into position, and to the chalk you put on – everything should become routine.

A structured routine will then allow you to focus on the lift without wasted prep thought.

2. Positioning (2:40)

Silent Mike discusses how he positions himself on the bench and how to decide if you should bench with a wider or narrower grip. A few of the key setup points Silent Mike discusses in his routine that could be used for everyone’s include…

  • Eyes under bar and head positioning at the top of the bench.
  • Use the power rings to ensure the same grip every time and to adjust for your arm width.
  • Upper back tightness (squeeze through the whole press), this provides the body a platform to bench off of and creates stability.
  • Knees below hips, lock the legs in (driving heels to ground) and actively squeezing the butt to push energy to the upper body.

3. Bar Path (6:05)

Bar paths can vary, but for the majority of us, the bar will make contact with the lower chest/bottom of the sternum. Elbows should be slightly flared making the elbows remain under the bar or slightly in front it.

Bell tip: Pull the weight out of the rack, don’t lift it. Ideally, have someone provide a lift off for you, this keeps the back tight – plus you don’t have to lift off in a meet, so why do it in training?

3.5. Breathing (8:00)

A controversial topic, but breathing into the chest and belly can both be okay for the bench press. Judge this off of personal preference, and how the bar tracks on your body. Bell points out at Super Training they wear belts to avoid hyperextension of the back.

4. Mark Bell Sets Up (11:45)

Mark Bell takes you through his set up methods and key points he likes to focus on. He talks about how everyone has their own means of getting hyped up before the lift. Also, he gives a great cue and this is – think about bending the bar on the eccentric (downward motion) and absorbing the force before performing the concentric (upward motion).

5. Differences in Bar Path (15:00)

At this point in the video there’s the discussion of differences in bar paths from athlete and athlete. All of the logistics of pressing, along with examples are included by both Silent Mike and Bell.

6. Head Positioning (23:00)

The head positioning you use should be dictated by your press, most people feel comfort leaving their head on the bench.

Bell expresses that he lifts his head when he benches because it enhances his ability to pause and move weight. Find what’s most comfortable for you.

7. Arch (25:00)

Our body’s anthropometrics and  how we get positioned for the bench will create a natural arch – excessive arch can actually inhibit pressing for some.

8. Single Most Effective Exercise for Bench Pressing (28:00)

Bench pressing. For increased bench strength vary reps, sets, modalities, loading methods, and positions.

9. Examples of Bench Pressing Accessory Movements (29:25)

The rest of the video discusses methods for increasing bench through changing training methods. Plus, how to train for a sticking point, and much more.

“Leave no stone unturned with your training.”

Feature image from Supertraining06 YouTube page.