The bench press with legs up is an effective accessory exercise for powerlifting programs, as it recruits major upper body muscle groups that prime the body for serious lifts.
To complete this movement, the lifter lies on their bench and raises their legs off the ground, usually bent inwards, with the feet flat against the bench press platform.
Engaging these muscle groups specifically the pectoralis major, triceps brachii, and anterior deltoid- results in increased power and stability while barbell bench pressing.
In addition to priming major upper body muscle groups, performing this accessory can lead to improved technique when executed correctly.
All in all, incorporating the bench press with legs up into one’s powerlifting program can be beneficial for strength gains and appropriate progression on max lifts.
In this article, I’ll go over how to perform the ideal feet-up bench press, as well as the advantages of doing it, the muscles it works, and much more.
How to Feet-Up Bench Press
Feet-up bench pressing is a great way to work your chest muscles and develop strength. This exercise involves lying on a flat bench and pushing up with your feet against the bar.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you master the feet-up bench press:
Step 1: Start by adjusting the height of the barbell to be level with your shoulders, as if you were about to do a regular flat-bench press. Make sure that the bar is positioned directly over your chest, not too low or too high. You may need a spotter to help you get into position.
Step 1: Once you’re in position, place your feet firmly on the floor directly under the barbell with your legs slightly bent at the knee and hip joint.
Step 2: Place both hands firmly on top of the barbell, around shoulder width apart, ensuring that it remains balanced across your palms without rolling off either side.
Step 4: Take a deep breath and brace yourself firmly against the floor as if trying to push away from it while keeping your core tight throughout this motion – this will help ensure that you’re able to lift maximally without putting strain on any of other muscle groups involved in this movement besides those used for pushing and pulling weight up and down.
Step 5: Keep an arch in your lower back so that it doesn’t become strained while performing this exercise; ensure that you maintain good posture throughout each repetition of this exercise and don’t let fatigue or poor form lead to slouching or bad positioning in your upper body.
Step 6: With a controlled breathing pattern, exhale as you press up with your feet against the barbell until arms are fully extended before slowly lowering back down in a controlled manner to starting position, allowing for at least two seconds spent between repetitions for better results (i.e., 1 second for lifting up + 1 second for lowering). Repeat for desired reps/sets!
If proper form is not being maintained during each repetition, reduce weight or stop until proper form can be reestablished.
There should be no jerking motions when performing this exercise, regardless of how heavy or light the weight is being used!
Additionally, remember to keep safety first by using appropriate collars/clips and/or having spotters available depending on how much weight is being lifted!
Benefits of the Feet-up Bench Press?
Powerlifters frequently use the feet-up bench press as an assistance lift to improve their bench press.
Some of the benefits of this exercise are:
The feet-up bench press is a popular assistance lift used to improve one’s bench press and offers many benefits.
Practicing this lift allows powerlifters to focus on their form, building better control and core stability while working with a lighter load.
Mixing up the routine with this variation in peak force execution, helps stimulate muscle growth as well as increase coordination between the upper body and lower body.
Moreover, this technique has been shown to reduce shoulder stress due to the reduced range of motion being used during the exercise.
Muscles Worked In The legs Up Bench Press
The legs-up bench press is a strength exercise beneficial for both beginner and advanced athletes.
Primarily engaged when performing the legs-up bench press are the pecs, front and side delts, and triceps muscles.
This exercise does not only target those three muscle groups but provides extra stability on the upper back engagement recruiting more of the serratus anterior, lower traps, and rotator cuff.
Specifically, these stabilizing muscle groups are used to help keep the shoulder blades set and prevent the torso from rotating during the lift.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Bench Pressing, Should You Use Your Legs?
When bench pressing, leg drive is an effective technique used to maximize your performance.
During a bench press, driving through your legs helps you maintain a stable upper back position and increases the rigidity of your torso.
This shift in the form further improves your stability, which allows for a stronger force output and ultimately higher levels of strength building.
Leg drive is not only beneficial to those doing competitive powerlifting, but all athletes can benefit from this special technique when doing a bench press.
Why Do People Bench With Their Feet Up?
Many people are turning to the feet up bench press for their lifting workout routine as it gives them a more intense sensation than a regular bench press.
This is because it increases the range of motion and muscular activation of the pecs. By performing this variation, lifters can lift lighter weights but still get an effective and challenging workout.
Furthermore, doing this exercise will allow you to activate more muscles and increase strength over time safely and effectively.
On the bench press, where should your feet be?
Having the correct position of feet plays an important role in achieving proper ergonomics. It is recommended to keep your feet flat on the floor, making sure that your shins are in a vertical position.
Depending on what type of chair or seating you’re using, your feet can either be slightly closer to your shoulders or slightly more in front of you. Proper ergonomics ensure that you stay comfortable and strain-free during long work days.
Leveraging the legs up bench press to complement a strength training program can be a powerful way to challenge stabilizing muscle groups, increase muscular activation of the pecs, and further increase the range of motion experienced during the exercise.
However, it is important to note that this move should not be done exclusively as the priority should remain on performing a traditional barbell flat bench press; you should always look for balance in your training program.
Incorporating the legs up bench press into your routine will help you achieve great results and allow you to challenge yourself within your program.