The very first thing that the beginner should accept as a fact in connection with the “Bent Press” is that everyone can do it, if only the job is tackled in the right way. I mention this because I know that quite a number of people-otherwise good lifters among them-believe that it is a feat which can only be successfully accomplished by certain individuals who have been singularly blessed by Nature! The idea, though so common, is quite wrong! There is nothing to stop any man who has the full use of his four limbs learning this lift and eventually becoming good on it. That is, providing that he does not, at the commencement, attempt to rush matters.
Learn the style that I have described and you will have a graceful, effortless press that will look like one continuous motion rather than a series of unrelated, jerky movements.
Through this lift you can make a better showing than with any other. You can easily learn to press a person weighing as much or more than yourself, and press other heavy objects as well as a barbell.
The above photograph is the only one which has been published showing me with the bell at the shoulder in the act of pressing. In it I show how to take up a firm position with the feet, and it will be noticed that the right leg is straight contrary to the position generally assumed by the beginner attempting to learn the body press, and even by many a lifter who has had years of experience. In the photograph I show exactly where the elbow should be placed, and it does not require much imagination to gain a correct idea of how the body should fall in the downward direction.
In practicing the bent press, I would recommend that you start at a low poundage and work up to near your limit: Each time you lift, think of only one pointer and do that correctly. Forget about all the other ones. This will make it so you will be able to perform this one pointer without thinking of it. Then, take another one, etc.
I am listing a number of pointers that you should master before you consider your style correct: