Coach Myers demonstrates how wrestlers can bench heavy and keep their shoulders healthy.
In the wrestling world, Bench Press has gotten a bad wrap. The knock on everyone's (yes, everyone) favorite lift is that wrestling is a “pulling” sport and the lift can be dangerous for your shoulders. While I agree that bench may not be the most important lift (see deadlifts, squats, rows, etc.) for wrestling, pressing does need to be prioritized in your strength training plan just like all other compound movements. Benching can be tough on the shoulder, but only when your form is bad and the programming doesn’t take into account certain things to balance the shoulder joint and prevent injury.
Watch the video to see Kollin Moore (Olympic Alternate and 375lb bench presser) demonstrate the proper bench form and also these 5 keys to benching heavy and remaining injury free:
1. Narrow Grip, not super wide.
2. Squeeze the bar with your pinkies to keep lats engaged and elbows in.
3. Focus on “rowing” the bar down to your chest rather than dropping it.
4. Contrast with a heavy rowing movement - ideally with the same width grip as your bench.
5. Use prehab movements in between every set, keeping the overall set volume of pressing to pulling at 1:3 during all workouts.
Coach Myers is the strength coach for the Ohio Regional Training Center at The Ohio State University. With the Ohio RTC since 2012, he served as Ohio State Wrestling’s primary strength coach from 2014-18, helping the Buckeyes win three Big Ten titles, their first-ever team NCAA championship, and two runner-up finishes.
A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), Coach Myers owns the Old School Gym in Pataskala, OH, and is a founding partner of top supplement company Max Effort Muscle. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook, learn more about his strength and conditioning programs for wrestlers of all ages here, and check out Coach Myers' new website here.