The Relative Strength Bench (RSB)

The Relative Strength Bench Press is a measure of a load lifted relative to your bodyweight. This article will break down the step-by-step process required to perform a bench press with the ideal technique for optimal strength and safety.

How to Bench Press

Relative Strength Explained

We truly believe that measuring your strength by simply loading more weights onto a bar is not a true reflection of how strong you are. This is why we always utilise the ‘relative strength’ variation of all strength assessments because the only way to really assess your strength is by linking the load you can bench, against your bodyweight. So the way to work this out is simple, take a note of the maximum wight you can bench (in kg) and divide this by your bodyweight (in kg) and you’ll be given a ratio. This ratio is what you then need to concentrate on in order to improve your own strength, so you either need to bench a heavier load whilst remaining at the same weight, or lose weight and increase the load benched in order to increase your performance level.

Relative Strength Bench Press Guide

Foot Position

The set up for the bench press starts with the feet being placed flat to the floor when in a lying position. If the bench is too high then you may need to use a block, step or weight in order to create a stable base for the feet.

Back Position

With the back in a neutral position and the head in-line the shoulders will be slightly retracted and the eyes directly below the bar itself.

Grip Width for Bench Press

Grip Width

The best grip width used to increase strength is that of 1.5 times biacromial width (1.5 x the distance between the boney protrusions on top of the shoulders).

Bench Press Grip Width Test

Width Test

In order to know if your grip width is correct if you lower the bar to the lower sternum and rest the bar in this position you should have created a 45 degree angle between the humerus and the torso. You will also need to have a vertical forearm when viewed both from the side and the front.

Bench Press Enclosed Grip

Enclosed Grip

Throughout the entire assessment you will be required to adopt a fully enclosed grip with the fingers and thumb on opposite sides of the bar.

First Movement on Bench Press

The First Movement

From the set up position with the bar fully extended above the chest the first movement will be a slow controlled decent down to the lower sternum level. Here the bar must come to a definite pause.

Bench Press Arm Angle

The Pause

When reaching this point if a 45-degree angle is present as well as a vertical forearm then you can enter into the next phase of the lift, this will be to return the bar to a position above the chest with the elbows fully extended.

Lifting Phase

The lifting phase must be done in one smooth motion with continual movement applied to the bar in a vertical direction, returning to the initial start position.

Bench Press Tutorial Video