Bench pressing big weight required a strong arch to keep you supported and protect your shoulders. One key area of the bench that is we don’t work on enough is the arch itself. This article assumes that you already have the basic understanding arching, its benefits and that you know how to use an arch when bench pressing.
Starting out the first thing I have my athletes do is open up their thoracic spine with a foam roller and stretch out their lats.
Those two areas with improved flexibility can help you get a little tighter when setting up with the bench press.
Once the back and lats are opened up and hopefully a little more flexible we then try to do some light activation exercises to open the chest up and the shoulder area. My personal favorite is grabbing a light resistance band and doing some rotations over your head and behind. I would recommend grabbing a light band, creating some tension by pulling the band apart and doing 10 to 15 rotations. Depending on how tight you maybe I sometimes suggest that they take the band a little tighter and repeat that once more to increase the ROM (Range of Motion).
Once we have opened the thoracic spine, increased some blood flow and muscle activation the last thing we do is grab a foam roller, now depending on how flexible you are maybe just a half foam roller will do. We place the foam roller on the bench press around the lumbar ( lower back area) and have the lifter lie down like they are setting up for the bench press with the foam roller under their back and hold that position, maybe add a little movement. Just enough to help them try to bring their butt down on the bench and their shoulder blades. Starting off with a smaller half foam roller for the less flexible and progressing to a full foam roller in time as their flexibility improves.