Last updated on October 29th, 2022 at 03:05 pm
So, you want to know, “How Do You Not Slide on Bench Press?”
This is not something that most people ever think about until they’ve experienced the dreaded slide themselves.
In truth, this only really occurs when you’re benching heavy loads or simply using a lot of intensity in your lifts.
However, the second you start to feel yourself moving on the bench, panic tends to kick on.
You’re worried about a failed rep or even potentially dropping a loaded barbell on yourself.
So, in this article I’d like to give you a number of options that will help you to stop sliding on the bench during bench press.
How Do You Not Slide on Bench Press?
There are a number of ways you can ensure that you don’t slide on bench press. That being said, this also very much depends on the type of gym you’re using. The most obvious method would be to chalk up the back of your shirt. However, many commercial gyms may not like you using chalk. Therefore, you can actually purchase either carpet liner or rubber mesh shelf liner, both available for under $10. Then again, you can also stretch mobility bands lengthways over the bench.
Not ALL Benches are the Same
I would hazard a guess that if you’re sliding around on a bench during bench press, then you’re using a commercial gym.
Now, I’m not having a go at commercial gyms, as even I have mainly used one over the past 20 years.
However, for me, commercial gyms are typically more geared to things looking great, neat and tidy, while having a major focus on those that wish to get fitter.
Hence, why you’ll generally find a vast array of cardio equipment, and more often than not, a smaller free weights and weight machine area.
What this also means is that many of the benches are likely to be fairly new, with a smooth surface.
And unfortunately, this surface gets smoother with more use.
That being said, if you were to visit a “spit-and-sawdust” gym, a powerlifting gym, or even go to a powerlifting meet, you’ll find that the benches are very different.
In fact, even though the benches in most powerlifting gyms are of the highest quality, you’ll often find that they are fairly tacky, not smooth at all, and more geared towards lifting very heavy weights.
So, that’s the lowdown on benches, so now let’s look at how you can stop sliding about during bench press.
Your Main Options to Stop Sliding on Bench Press
Okay, I’ve never actually had an issue with sliding on the bench during bench press.
I think this has much more to do with how I train bench press, but I’ll go more into detail on this in a moment.
But for now, I’ve had to do a fair bit of research to determine how other lifters cope with the dreaded bench press slide.
I must say, I’m extremely impressed at some of the solutions people have come up with.
Now, the most obvious way to stop sliding during bench press is to use chalk.
However, I also realise that chalk is often viewed with disdain, especially in commercial gyms.
Therefore, depending on your gym, this could possibly be something that you won’t be able to use.
That being said, this simply involves chalking-up the back of your shirt, thus giving you more grip on the bench.
Now, obviously this will leave chalk on the bench afterwards, so make sure that you thoroughly wipe the bench down once you’ve finished using it.
However, also be wary of how your gym feels about you using this as a solution to stop sliding.
Carpet the Bench
Next, we have a couple of “alternative” methods, which are both absolutely fantastic.
That being said, it may draw some funny looks from other gym-goers.
But, then again, this should be of no concern to you, as your aim is to simply get stronger at bench press without slipping and sliding all over the bench.
Firstly, you can use carpet liner or carpet underlay.
As the name suggests, this is the material that goes underneath carpets and rugs.
Plus, you’ll obviously want to go with the non-slip variety.
Clearly, you don’t need a huge amount, and you’re also not worried about design and how it looks.
So, you should be able to get something like a 2ft x 3ft non-slip underlay for under $10.
If you purchase something bigger, you can obviously cut it into the size you want.
Along exactly the same lines you can also use rubber mesh shelf liner.
Once more, as the name suggests, this is the material you use to line shelves.
I actually feel this is the best option, as rubber mesh will always be non-slip and non-adhesive, plus it is much less expensive than carpet liner.
In fact, you may even be able to get the perfect size for your gym’s benches for under $3.
Wrap Bands Around the Bench
Finally, the ingenious use of bands.
I’m talking about mobility/pull up/mini bands.
You can simply stretch your band over the bench lengthways.
And trust me, once in place, you won’t be sliding anywhere.
Be Wary of Bench Press Leg Drive
The final thing that you need to consider is your use of leg drive while benching.
Of course, leg drive is a legitimate tactic to help you bench more weight safely and efficiently.
However, if you use leg drive incorrectly, this can often lead to you sliding on the bench, and even a failed bench press rep.
And one of the worst things I typically see in the gym environment is excessive use of leg drive.
Plus, this “excessive” use of leg drive will often see you form fall completely apart.
Firstly, you should always “drive” through the outer part of your heel.
Many people seem to drive through their toes, or another part of the foot, which will cause your feet to lift off the ground.
This in turn may even see your feet slide, which can be extremely dangerous and could even lead to a dropped bench press.
You may also notice that your butt comes off the bench, which is a definite no-no as a competitive powerlifter.
However, this also places a great deal of stress on your lower back.
Finally, driving excessively, or pushing with the wrong part of the feet, can typically see your back arch collapse.
Once more, the use of back arch is a legitimate bench press tactic.
That being said, a collapsed back arch will mean that your entire back region falls flat onto the bench, thus the greater chance of you sliding on the bench.
So, use leg drive when benching by all means, just make sure that you’re not overdoing it so that you lose your form.
Bench Press Form (Arch or No Arch?)
So, as you can see, there are numerous ways not to slide on bench press.
These range from chalking up the back of your shirt to actually attaching something to the bench to prevent your back from sliding.
A couple of great methods involve using either carpet liner or rubber mesh shelf liner.
Both are easy to find in most hardware stores, plus they won’t cost a great deal either.
Finally, you can use the ingenious method of wrapping mobility or mini bands around the bench, which will prevent you from sliding.
You should also be wary of excessive use of leg drive, as this may lead to your back arch collapsing, thus meaning it’s far more likely that your back will slide on the bench.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.