Setting Up the Perfect Arch for Your Bench Press, Every Time

How to set up a bench arch: Instructions on how to create a tight setup for a strong bench press.

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In powerlifting, a bench press is considered the act of lifting a barbell while laying on your back, bringing the bar down to touch your chest or abdomen, pausing, then pressing the bar away until your elbows are locked and you are back in your starting position. In most federations, your upper back (traps), buttocks, and feet must remain in contact with the bench and floor at all times, and in some federations, your head must remain in contact with the bench as well. One key aspect most powerlifters utilize to aid them in the bench press is the coveted arch. Some lifters are naturally good at curving their back to form a huge arch, while other lifters struggle and perform their bench press with a rather flat back. I myself have been credited with having a great arch, with many lifters asking me what I do to get my arch so tight. Below, I’ve laid out the steps I use every time I set up for my bench press. This setup puts me in the same position every time, resulting in practically the same lift every time.

The key words here are every time. The more you do this, the better, faster, and easier this setup becomes! Practice this for every set you perform, including warm ups and max effort sets. Do not slack on setup just because the weight is lighter.

So without further ado, here are the steps I take to set up the perfect bench press arch, every time.

1) Retract the scapula – up, back, and down.

2) Grip the bar – in my case, pinky on the rings, bar in bottom of palm, over wrist.

3) Dig in traps, start arch formation.

4) Feet on ground, and force them back as far as I can. Butt planted. The further back my feet, the tighter my arch. Also, this keeps my knees way below my hips, and stops my butt from ever leaving the bench.

5) USAPL rule – heels down.

6) Squeeze the bar hard, Squeeze glutes hard. Get bar handed to you. Pull the bar apart. Engage lats. Brace. Start lift.

Start to finish, takes about 30 seconds.

To see this in action, here is a video in which I perform this routine 3 times in a push/pull competition in 2015. Take a look:

Give this a try. Bench pressing is a lot more technique driven than meets the eye, and this set up has dramatically increased the amount of weight I can move.

“Legal Steroids”: An Embarrassment to the Supplement Industry

What are legal steroids? Just how safe are these products? Can they really be trusted?

Yesterday, I was conducting research on new supplements to add to our line of products, when I stumbled upon an intriguing line of supplements, sold by a company called CrazyBulk: “legal steroids”. I was flooded with all sorts of statements and claims that, to the layman, sounds absolutely amazing and wonderful. “100% legal steroids for fast and massive gains!”, “100% legal, RX-grade steroids”, “No prescription needed!”. The products were all cutely named to resemble common, extremely potent steroids: D-Bal for Dianabol, Anadrole for Anadrol, Decaduro for Deca Durabolin (pretty clever, huh?). And all of these products were for you to buy, legally, online.

Ignoring the fact that true anabolic steroids are a controlled substance in the U.S., and ignoring the fact that true steroids are best utilized via injections and not encapsulated supplements, I still searched for these “steroid” ingredients, to see what this company was actually selling to its customers. While several of its “legal steroids cowardly hid behind the guise of the proprietary blend, the few “steroids” that did list its ingredients made me want to laugh and cry, simultaneously. What I found was absolutely pathetic, and down right degrading to the supplement industry.

To Long, Don’t Care to Read: It’s all Bullshit, with a capital B. These wolves are pulling wool over your eyes, and they’re gorging your wallets in the process. It’s truly disgusting.

For example, let’s dissect one of their top sellers: Anvarol. As the name may indicate, this “legal steroid” is meant to imitate the effects of Anavar, a synthetic anabolic steroid derived from dihydrotestosterone. It is also a Schedule III controlled substance in the U.S. due to its potential for abuse. Why would it be abused? Real Anvarol is used by professional athletes in order to cut body fat from their body, fast, while increasing gains in strength. So what does the “legal steroid” Anvarol have in it to imitate this potent steroid? These ingredients:

  • Soy Protein Isolate: 150 mg
  • Whey Protein Concentrate: 150 mg
  • BCAA: 75 mg
  • Wild Yam Root: 50 mg
  • ATP: 40 mg

So, essentially, what amounts to nothing but a severely underdosed protein capsule. A protein capsule which has a whopping 375 mg of protein in it. Not even a gram! The Wild Yam Root claims to imitate that of a supplement ingredient called DHEA, however, unlike DHEA (which you can simply buy as a standalone supplement), prolonged ingestion of Wild Yam Root has been linked to creating kidney and liver fibrosis. In other words, it’s destroying critical organs. And the ATP? Might as well be rice flour, as cells do NOT intake ATP from their surroundings. It is produced within the cell itself. Want to increase ATP production? Take a supplement that actually works: Creatine.

So, what Anvarol basically amounts to is an underdosed, hazardous protein pill. If ingesting protein resulted in profound weight loss on that scale, we’d all be absolutely shredded and muscular as a result of diet alone!

It’s Bullshit.

Want another example of their unethical products? Check out Winidrol, a Winstrol imitator. Another anabolic steroid used to reduce body fat and retain lean mass, it’s also used by cheats in horse racing. It’s potency has led the FDA to control its distribution, and is only acquired via prescription to eliminate abuse. So what does Winidrol have to offer as a replacement?

  • DHEA
  • L-Carnitine
  • Wild Yam Root Extract
  • Choline Bitartrate
  • Linoleic and Oleic Acid

The first indication that this is a shady capsule is the fact that they do NOT list their ingredient quantities. Red flag. We have no idea how much of what ingredient you are actually getting. What we do know is that each capsule will be severely underdosed, as the total weight of ingredients amounts to 50 mg. That’s right, FIFTY milligrams. Pathetic. We see Wild Yam Root pop up again, so again this supplement becomes a hazardous material. DHEA has its use in the supplement industry, but NOT as a fat loss supplement, and certainly not so underdosed. And ironically, Linoleic Acid has been linked to obesity due to promoting the body to overeat, and through damage to the brain. That’s right. An ingredient in this supplement has been linked to brain damage. 

What’s scary is how hard it was to find real information about these “legal steroids”. Look them up online, looking for real person reviews and critiques, and do you know what you’ll find? Nothing but copy-pasta praise for the capsules. Not a single critique, and practically the same review from hundreds of websites, created presumably to fool Google and you into believing it is a legit product.

These so-called “legal steroids” are not only a disgusting misnomer, they are actually dangerous to take. To try and classify these groups of capsules as “supplements” is disturbing, and unfair. It’s what creates misinformation about the supplement industry. Do your research, friends. Know what you are putting into your body. Ask questions. Dig deep. It’s your body. Give it the nutrition, respect, and care it deserves.

And stay away from Bullshit “legal steroids”.

This is an unbiased review of CrazyBulk and the ingredients they list in their products. I wrote this piece because there were no true CrazyBulk reviews showing up on Google, and I felt it was fair to warn potential customers lured into their scam. For them to try to sell these products is unethical and dangerous. There are no legal steroids in the U.S.