Another great article by Greg Nuckols on why the lats are not as important for the bench press as some believe. I love how in depth Greg goes into breaking it all down.
Next week, we’re finishing up a bench guide that will be similar to the squat guide we put out last month.
Several people have specifically asked me to address the role of the lats in the bench press in that guide. I decided that it would be better to address that issue with a separate article instead of devoting a ton of space in the guide to this topic.
If you know a bit about anatomy and you’re familiar with the bench press, but you don’t spend much time perusing online powerlifting articles, you may find it very, very odd that people are concerned about the lats’ role in the bench.
In common parlance, the lats are a “pull” muscle that you use primarily for movements like rows and pull-ups, which are essentially the opposite of the bench press. In more technical terms, they’re primarily shoulder extensors, with secondary functions as internal rotators, adductors, and horizontal extensors.
Of those four movements, three of them are counterproductive in the context of the bench; when you press the bar off your chest, you’re in internal rotation (yay lats!), but you’re also trying to accomplish shoulder flexion, abduction, and horizontal flexion (boo lats!).
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