Sometimes it’s the tiniest tweaks to your form that can offer the biggest changes. And this new hack is no different.
After recruiting 20 experienced male weightlifters, scientists asked volunteers to complete eight reps of 60 per cent of their one-rep max, both with feet raised and planted.
During the tasks, researchers measured the muscle activation of the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii, forearm, rectus abdominis, external oblique, and quadriceps.
Results found that all muscles had higher levels of activation when participants had raised their feet and flexed their hips, most notably Quads and obliques.
However, there is a caveat. Subjects in the study only lifted 60 per cent of their one-rep max, meaning that while they may see more gains from the change in technique, it’s unproven whether the same method would work with higher weights – both in terms of stability and seeing improvements in strength.
“The bench press. exercise with active hip and knee flexion at 90° significantly increased activation … compared with the bench press. exercise with the feet on the ground, with the same load in both positions,” write the researchers.
“For this reason, to perform the bench press exercise with flexed hips could be recommended for training in sports where the upper limbs and hip flexor muscles are required.”
If you do consider altering your form, we’d recommend chasing down a spotter to ensure it’s something you can do, especially with heavier loads.