Tuck the Scapula

Dig your traps into the bench. Pinch your shoulder blades together and down. This will protect your shoulders and give you a solid base to press from.
Dig your traps into the bench.
DIG YOUR TRAPS IN
DIG YOUR TRAPS IN
Omar Isuf
ARCH UPPER BACK
ARCH UPPER BACK
SCREW YOUR UPPER BODY IN
SCREW YOUR UPPER BODY IN
UPPER BACK POSITIONING
UPPER BACK POSITIONING
I like to put my feet up on the pad... to drive my hips up and really plant onto my traps... I can drive my scaps underneath. I can really create that lengthening in the neck. And then finally, it's going to be awesome for getting our hand placement... if you're driven way up, we're able (like a decline bench) to keep our armpits locked off as we set our hands to the bar. So we're able to keep our back tighter. If we have to reach behind us, it is very easy to let the armpits open, to let the scaps glide out, to start to lose some of that pinch and retract... Being able to set up from a bridge is going to be one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your setup. You want it to be a hip extension not just a lower back jammed up extension.
Big Benchas
Reverse grip the bar (flip the hands under)... all the way in, now pull yourself up and get the shoulder blades together and down. Like doing a chin up - lift your upper body off of the bench... get those shoulder blades together tight and down and the sternum higher.
Elite FTS
You want to lift your hips up high, while thinking about pulling your shoulder blades to your butt. This will help force you into scapular depression...you can go up onto your toes if you find you can get more arch that way.
Jeff Nippard
THE PULL THROUGH METHOD
THE PULL THROUGH METHOD
Jeff Nippard
Put your feet on the bench and push your hips as high in the air as you can. When you do this you feel tremendous amount of pressure on your traps in your upper back. Then I'll ask them to put their feet back on the floor and find that same pressure.
T-Nation
Optimal bench position is gonna allow the athlete to be as high on their traps as possible...If you do a glute bridge on the bench, that gives some space for you to be able to retract and depress the shoulder blades - to really feel the weight up on her traps. Then from here as she walks her feet down - trying to maintain that upper back tension... Use the rack to push your shoulders slightly towards your butt a little bit more and you can... walk your scapula into place.
Juggernaut
Pull your chest towards the bar and try to pull your shoulder blades together. That is going to be the foundation that you're going to press upon. Place them and your traps down on the bench...If you've done this correctly, you should have your eyes under the bar, you should be up on your traps/shoulders, you should have good arch in your spine... and then you place your butt down to set the position. If your butt sticks, you're not going to move. If your traps stick, you're not going to move. If any of that is wrong, you're going to be sliding around the second that you unrack that bar.
Neversate
PINCH YOUR SHOULDER BLADES TOGETHER
PINCH YOUR SHOULDER BLADES TOGETHER
The pull through method is where you set up with your upper torso behind the bench, with your hands at the proper grip width on the bar. You go up on to your toes and simulatenously hyperextend your lower back while driving your hips up in the air. Then I drive my upper traps straight down into the bench, and get my upper spine as vertical as humanly possible.
Jeff Nippard
What I like to do is row myself towards the bar to pull my shoulder blades together behind me. Once that is there, I keep them retracted behind me and then I place myself down on the bench on my traps. Now, make sure that you really work your traps into that bench because that is where you're gonna stick with your leg drive. If you're not sitting on top of your traps, they're gonna slide and you're gonna lose all that power.
Neversate
For me the easiest way to do this is by actually putting my feet up on the bench because that allows me to flatten out that lower back... feet up on the bench is gonna more or less prevent that... Then I'm gonna try to arch my upper back... by picking myself up and using the bar to push myself down... where I'm using the bar to pull my lats down.
Mind Pump
When I'm setting my upper back, I'll scooch myself down the bench towards my feet. Then I pull the shoulders together and then push from my feet, keeping the shoulders together to drive the shoulders down. So there's the two biggest things we want to think about in our shoulders is pulling them together and then pulling them down towards your butt. When you're in the right spot you should feel most of the pressure of your bodyweight at this point on your upper traps. Then what you want to do set your butt down, keeping your shoulders tight.
Calgary Barbell
Placing your weight as high on your traps as you can will create the most advantageous position for you to press from. Doing a glute bridge on the bench will help you feel the pressure in the right place on your traps, then you can walk your feet down into position while maintaining this pressure high on your traps as best you can.
Shoulder blades together and down.
IN AND DOWN
IN AND DOWN
Alan Thrall
PINCH THE PEN
PINCH THE PEN
Bradley Martyn
Shoulder blades together and down, like you're trying to put them in your back pockets.
Elite FTS
Put your shoulder blades in your back pockets. Hold your shoulder blades together and bring them down. You should feel your lats tighten when you do this. Your lats are important for lowering and creating the initial reversal of the bar... If you don't feel your lats when you bench, you are 100 percent benching incorrectly.
Alan Thrall
Squeeze your shoulder blades together, keeping them in this retracted position throughout the whole setup and execution of the lift.
Jeff Nippard
I'm pinching my shoulder blades together as if trying to squeeze a pencil between them. Next I subtly rotate my elbows forward. This slight movement cues me to depress my shoulder blades.
Jeff Nippard
Actively retract the entire range of motion - not just pin. The entire ROM, get your shoulders back and down.
Brendan Tietz
While lying down on the bench, really try to pull your shoulder blades together...really trying to pinch that vinyl or leather [of the bench] between my shoulder blades...during the entirety of the rep
Barbell Medicine
In terms of your weight being in your shoulders, you should think about tucking your shoulder blades in so that they pull towards one another.
Extend your right arm out in front of you as if you’re going to bench. From this position, slowly turn your hand clockwise and feel what’s going on at your scapula. If you’re cued into your body, you should’ve felt your scapulae “screw” back and down towards your spine. Try this on both sides now – so with the right hand you’re turning clockwise, and on the left hand you’re turning counterclockwise.
Robertson Training Systems
Some people just like their shoulder blades pulled straight back. A lot of people like some scapular depression along with the retraction.
Stronger By Science
Pinch your shoulder blades together and pull your shoulders back behind you as far as possible.
MPS Training
Once I move back to put my upper back on the bench, I pull my shoulder blades together and down. The cue I like to use is to stuff your shoulder blades in your back pockets. You should be very uncomfortable in this position; everything should be extremely tight.
To create a solid base for bench press, pull your shoulders down and back. Think about pressing your shoulders into the pad and trying to put the tips of your scapula into your back pocket.
Keep a tight upper back. Try to bring both shoulder blades together. Imagine pinching a pencil between them. Keep that super tight. But more importantly, this tight upper back needs to be maintained throughout the whole lift.
For pulling your shoulder blades back, think about how you would finish with your shoulder blades pinched back on any sort of rowing exercise. For pulling your shoulder blades down, think about trying to “tuck” your shoulder blades into your back pocket. Another cue that might work well is to “screw” your shoulder blades back and down.
Robertson Training Systems
Protect shoulders + solid base
KEEP SHOULDERS BACK
KEEP SHOULDERS BACK
People have to keep that bar stable. You don't want to bench and have that bar out and moving around... When his lats are tight, engaged, flexed, that bar's not going to move... I will have that bar as a broomstick and all I do is make them not be able to move when they're holding it. I don't want it to move any direction that I try to push it.
Elite FTS
If you can't properly retract and depress the shoulder blades (benching with a flat back) then the shoulder is not going to be stabilized it's gonna lead to shoulder pain and possibly injury.
Juggernaut
By keeping those muscles tight, you're gonna... balance the weight more efficiently and avoid a lot of shoulder injuries.
Mind Pump
#1 reason to pack the shoulders is to take the rotator cuff out of the situation...pack the shoulders, pull them down to take stress off the shoulder capsule
Elite FTS
Retracting and depressing your scapula in the setup of the Bench Press will help keep your chest high during the lift, reducing range of motion so you can lift heavier weights. It will also create a stable base to press from and that stability in your scapula will protect your shoulder from damage during heavy and hard training.
A lot of [injuries are] because the shoulder has rotated forward, you've got internal rotation, the scapula has winged, and there's an impingement to the anterior portion of the deltoid. So as long as you set up, you take your shoulders and scapula and tuck them together and down, this is gonna leave a lot of room in the shoulder joint.
Barbell Shrugged