The importance of the leg drive seems counter-intuitive in the bench press. When setting up we start with planting the heels, pushing out the knees , and then take tension all the way up through the body to the hands. We are trying to make the longest kinetic chain possible, working against the positional shortcomings of the movement. If we keep in mind the primary importance of tension, then we can see how pre-tensing the largest and most powerful muscles of the body, those of the legs and hips, can contribute a great deal to the irradiation effect. Every part of the body needs to be tight and the lower body is very significant to this.
During competition it makes sense to use the most advantageous grip allowed within the rules. During the bulk of training, however, we want to use grip widths that promote strength development in the triceps and the health of the shoulders. For these purposes a moderate to narrowish grip is preferred.
Lack of Tension
Before the bar is unracked, the body is already tightened and prepared from the feet all the way up the body through to the hands. Be methodical by starting with how you plant your feet and then work step by step upwards through the body: knees pushed out, glutes engaged, belly full and hard, lats engaged, squeeze a fist between the shoulder blades, and finally crush the bar with the hands.
As the bar is lowered, think to yourself: “break the bar in half” or “pull.” Though you start off the set-up being as tight as possible, there is always room for more tension.
As the bar is pushed off the chest it is important to keep tightness in the rear shoulders and upper back.
Bent Arms While Unracking and Re-racking
Safety while benching is of the utmost importance. When unracking the bar, after getting tight keep the arms completely locked out while moving the bar over the face and throat to your starting position. When finishing your last repetition it is very important to lock it out to completion and then, with arms still locked out, return the bar to the rack. The general rule: the arms should be locked out anytime that the bar is passing over the face and throat.