Q: “I found your blog from an article you wrote about the bench press. I have a question about the Guillotine press which you recommend as a better alternative to the normal-style bench press for building mass.
“In one of the diagrams in your article, it shows a drawing of someone doing the guillotine press with his feet up on the end of the bench. Is this correct?
“Most weight training magazines, and personal trainers, have drummed it into me that your feet should be flat on the floor for bench presses, so I’m a bit confused as to which is the best/safest way. Also, with the guillotine, do you recommend keeping the shoulder blades squeezed together, and also keeping your lower back with a slight curve (i.e. slightly off the bench), or should you try to flatten it out on the bench?
“Thanks for any comments.”
My Answer: Lifting your legs up is optional. Ideally you want to flatten out your lower back on to the bench, and to do this, you would need to raise your legs off the floor.
For stability, planting your feet firmly into the floor is best, but it depends on how high your bench is and how tall you are. The lower your bench, the more stable you are, because you can plant your feet flat onto the floor. The higher the bench, the more difficult it is to do this for the vertically challenged, such as myself. For those of us with short legs on unusually high benches, we either end on our tippy-toes with a flat back, or with flat feet and an arched back. Neither situation is good.
But if you’re able to plant your feet on to the floor without arching your back, then go ahead and do so. I personally like to plant my feet flat on the bench. You still get the stability, but without the overarching of the back. Keep the shoulder blades squeezed back to maintain a stable base.