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While many of us quarantining prepped for the weekend by debating whether to wipe with a pine cone or one-ply toilet paper, Garret Alcaraz was busy crushing goals.
The senior with Down syndrome from Tehachapi High School in Tehachapi, CA, initially set out to make the leader board with this one-rep max. But with his 355-pound bench press, Alcaraz ended up setting a new school record instead.
Alcaraz’s feat of strength went viral, even getting shared by ESPN’s SportsCenter and Arnold Schwarzenegger. We spotted the video on Reddit, and here are some comments that stood out:
A couple of things about those comments:
Leg drive: Driving your feet into the floor as you move the weight off of your chest — aka leg drive — is a technique aimed at helping with stability and power. Applied properly, good leg drive should help improve your numbers on the bench press. Garret utilized little to none of his lower-body, which means he put up 355 using only his upper-body strength. Damn.
Grip: You’ll notice the commenters pointing out Garret’s use of a narrow grip. Typically, a narrow grip indicates the placement of the index finger gripping the smooth portion of the bar. This grip targets the triceps but can also place stress on the anterior (front) delts.
On the other hand, a wide-grip — pinky fingers places on the outside rings — places more stress on the chest but also on the shoulders. (Here’s a more detailed explanation regarding grip and the bench press.)
Which is best? A variety, or whichever grips don’t cause shoulder pain. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, consider grabbing a pair of dumbbells and going with a neutral grip (palms facings each other). With a neutral-grip bench press, the chest and tri’s still get worked, but the strain on the shoulder joints is diminished.