Powerlifters bench press slightly different than how a bodybuilder would. Since there is an emphasis on strength, you can utilize the freedoms given within the respected powerlifting federation. That means that powerlifters aren't just using their upper body to push through a bench press. We're also allowed to dig our feet into the ground, arch our backs, squeeze our glutes, and use "leg drive," to help accommodate the weight during the lift. Each powerlifting federation may have slightly different rules -- some are generous, others have more restrictions. For this post, we'll look at a general idea on how to maximize your bench press like a powerlifter.
Arch Your Back
There will be a few arguments for arching your back. In powerlifting this may be beneficial to you because it decreases the range of motion. In other words, you're driving the weight for less distance. For this, as long your butt is touching the bench, you're within the USA Powerlifting rules.
Also, if you're not particularly flexible (like me), you'll need to gradually work on your back's arch.
Maryana Naumova (pictured above) uses a impressive arch, which of course helps her with executing the lift.
Sounds strange, but yes you should also squeeze your glutes. Remember, you want to use what you can to increase your power for the lift. Squeezing your glutes and also contracting your abs will stabilize your body for the lift. Executing any lift is all about control! Control the weight, don't let the weight control you.
Plant your feet onto the ground. You'll see a lot lifters on their tippy-toes during bench, however, if you want to optimize the lift, you'll want to have your entire foot planted to the ground -- heel & toes. Push through your heels. This helps distribute the weight and allows your entire body to help lift the weight.
In the photo above, you'll notice that the lifter's heel is digging into the ground. That's what you want. None of that tippy-toe stuff.
Here's a visual for bench press. There's some added tips here, but you can get a general grip on how to execute the lift. The video starts at 1:30.
Adjusting your lift alone can increase how much weight you can push for bench press. Test it out! Be proud of your numbers.