The bent press is also known as the screw press. It is not to be confused with a bench press although the name sounds similar. Rather than a real press it is more of a moving support. With practice, very large weights can be handled.
It’s a challenging lift and that is what makes it fun to do. Right now my goal is to handle bodyweight, which is 185 lbs. As of writing this my best effort is 155 lbs.
• Make sure your collars are tight as tilting to one side or another very often occurs with the bent press.
• Line up your hand in the center of the barbell. Being off a bit can throw the whole exercise off. For this reason, I mark the center of my barbell with a piece of tape to make it easy to find.
• To do the bent press you’ll need to get the barbell in place. This is typically done by shouldering the barbell which you can find in this post.
• Make sure you have overhead clearance (aka you won’t hit anything) as well as being able to drop the barbell (because there’s a good chance you will)
• Stance should be slightly outside shoulder width. Foot position may differ but the foot on the side that you’re bending over towards is likely pointed out.
• The upper arm stays glued to the flexed lat as you begin to descend.
• Both knees can and shoulder bend during the exercise.
• The free arm should rest against the knee for extra support and stability.
• As you descend the working arm gradually straightens out, while coming off the lat. Ideally, you do not press out with the tricep at all during the lift, but just bend completely away until it is straight.
• One of the trickier parts is the transition from the locked out arm in bent over position to overhead squat.
• Understand that you need a heavy enough weight to really do the bent press in decent form. Too light of a weight (one you can normally press) and you’re likely to cheat to some degree.
Before anything else, make sure that you get a barbell from a trusted company. Weight plates could fall off a barbell, which in the case of the Bowflex recall, led to property damage. When it comes to fitness, safety should be our utmost priority.
The barbell bent press takes a good amount of technique. It is great to first use a kettlebell as that’s an easier object when getting started. But practice the technique and you’ll be able to get good at it.
Like this exercise? Find many more like it inside of Deceptive Strength: Becoming Strong While Staying Small.
You can also learn from Arthur Saxon, the man that lifted 370 lbs. in this manner here.