Want to increase how effectively the bench press hits not just your chest but all the muscles of your upper body that are involved? Just raise your legs!

This one weird tip will significantly increase muscle activation.

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Bench press: raise your legs for greater activation

bench press

Researchers at the Universidad de Almeria, writing in the journal PLoS One, reported that raising the legs so that the knees and hips are flexed significantly increases muscle activation in the upper body during the bench press.

They took 20 young men and had them bench press either with their legs on the floor, as normal, or with their knees and hips flexed, off the ground. The activity of the muscles of the upper body was measured using electrodes.

The results speak for themselves.

How to make the bench press more effective

The pectoral muscles, deltoids, triceps and the forearms were all forced to work harder, as were the muscles of the abdominals, which also saw a significant increase in activation.

It’s worth noting that there are pictures of Vince Gironda performing his signature guillotine press with his legs raised in this manner. Clearly, the Iron Guru’s famous intuition about muscle activation was right once again!

See the source image

Gironda performing the guillotine press with legs raised

Interested in taking your bench to the next level?


“How much do you bench?”

Let’s cut to the chase. Not enough. We all want a bigger bench press. It doesn’t matter how much you bench, we all can and should be doing better.

The bench press is an iconic lift in the mind of the lifting and non-lifting public alike and it has been for at least the last 60 years. Because of this, there are almost as many ‘secret’ bench press hints and tips as there are gyms. And just like gyms, not all of them are good.

Click here to get the lowdown on three tips that are supposed to increase your bench. Which are good and which are garbage?

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