Many people aren’t benching as much as they could be if they only just implemented the simple technique of leg drive. You will always here someone looking for advice on how they can increase there bench press. Well here’s an easy solution that could put some extra pounds on your bench.
How Leg Drive Works
Leg drive works through putting force through the floor with your legs to tighten your body, and also helps increase your strength in the first six inches off your chest on the bench. Like I have mentioned before the tighter your body is the more muscle fibers you will be able to recruit for a lift. So by increasing the tightness in your legs it will help you get tighter in the bench overall and recruit more muscle fibers for the movement. This tightness should come mainly from your Quadriceps. In addition with an exercise like the bench you are pressing the weight while trying to keep yourself stable on the bench itself as you lift the weight. Since using leg drive makes you overall more tight in the bench you have a more stable surface in which you can transfer more energy. Thus being able to lift more weight. One other way in which leg drive assist in helping you lift more weight is that when you use leg drive you get an initial boost of momentum. This helps you get the bar past the majority of bench pressers sticking point 4-6 inches off the chest.
To describe more how leg drive works when someone benches it is important to know the different ways in which people perform the bench press. The two major ways in which people bench is using leg drive to create a exaggerated arch in the back or using leg drive to only slightly increase your bench press arch and gain some momentum. It is slightly debated if you can actually do the first form of benching with proper form I slightly touch on this later in the Leg Drive Mistakes section. But when people use the first form of bench (heaving the bar more) it shows how leg drive works to help increase initial momentum in the bench. When someone heaves the bar more when they bench they are using leg drive to transfer momentum into their back through their hips and results in a larger back arch. This in combination with their lats being tight helps assists them to getting more momentum off of the bottom of the bench. To see some exaggerated bench press heaving I recommend checking out the video bellow.
How to Perform Leg Drive
find more information The first part of leg drive is setting your feet when performing leg drive you want to set your feet firmly on the ground. Though it does not matter if you prefer to bench flat footed or with your feet flat on the ground either way leg drive can be performed.
http://dailygroup.com/PDF/2011-2012 Workers Comp.pdf Then before you even take the bench press bar off of the rack you want to keep your legs tight. Initially you want to get your legs and glutes about 70 to 80 percent tight in comparison the getting your legs as tight as possible.
Following this when you the bar finally touches your chest or sternum area drive your heels or ball of your foot depending on your bench press style into the floor as if you are trying to push the floor horizontally away from your head most of this motion will come from your quads. This will transfer energy from your legs through your hips to your upper back or traps. Which will slightly increase the arch in your back for a moment. At this point your legs should be 100 percent tight and driving the bar upward.
Finally repeat the first step after finishing your bench press repetition and performing multiple reps. When performing multiple reps you still want to keep your legs tight throughout the entirety of the set.
Who Uses Leg Drive
Anyone who is an elite bench presser will tell you that they use leg drive. Some of these people include Mark Bell inventor of the sling shot, Steve Gentili(Benches 600 Ibs), Larry Wheels, and Eric Spotto just to name a few huge bench pressers. It would be very uncommon to find someone who is an elite bench presser who doesn’t use leg drive.
Common Mistakes When Using Leg Drive
Though leg drive has the capability of increasing your bench strength if you make these mistakes it may lead to injury or a decrease in efficiency of your leg drive. When performing leg drive on the bench press make sure you don’t push your but of the bench. First and foremost if you are a competitive power lifter this will make it so your lift is disqualified. Also it may cause pain or injury in your lower back. A way to fix this is to widen your legs and try pushing the ground in the direction away from your head. Another problem people have when trying to perform leg drive is using it too much to heath the bar. Like I mentioned earlier some people heath the bar more than others when they bench. But if you do this too much it will cause your bench to be more uncontrollable. If your bench is more uncontrollable you may get injured. So to fix this problem make sure you are keeping a tight back and your chest up while implementing leg drive. Leg drive should be very subtle and almost unnoticeable.
Improving Leg Drive
To improve leg drive make sure you incorporate a lot of exercises during your leg workout that will increase the strength of your quads and your gluts. Some really good exercises for increasing quad strength are the barbell back squat, barbell front squat, and quad extensions. This will help so you have more power when pressing through the floor to initiate leg drive. Some exercises to increase Glute strength are Barbell Hip Thrusts, Dumbbell Lunges, regular Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts. Increasing your glute strength will help to transfer the power from your quads, through your hips and into your upper back.
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