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In the link below, Mark Rippetoe of Starting Strength says that when positioning oneself for a bench press:

Your eyes should not be gazing directly beneath the bar, but rather looking just past the "foot side" of the bar.

Any idea what the "foot side" of the bar is? When lying on my back, should the bar be right above my eyes?

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+1. I think there should be a rippetoe flag. – J. Won. Mar 11 '11 at 21:56
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I know you already accepted the answer on this one, but hopefully I can clarify things (if not for you, for someone else).

Rippetoe is trying to describe where your eyes should be looking, and that the eyes should not follow the bar. Essentially you are staring at the same point on the ceiling throughout the set.

  • When unracking the bar, the bar will be above your eyes, possibly a little more toward your hair side.
  • With arms fully locked, move the bar to it's "up" position without changing your gaze.
  • When the bar is in the "up" position, it will be in your field of view closer to your feet (foot side). It will not be directly above your eyes. Don't shift your gaze, but see it.

Each rep, the goal is to put the bar in the same place every rep. Bring the bar down to your sternum and lift back to the same position in your field of view each time.

All of this is much clearer in the Starting Strength book. If you are serious about lifting weights, I highly recommend buying the book. It is well worth it.

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Yes, the bar should be roughly above your eyes. By foot side, he means you should be looking just slightly towards your feet, rather than straight up at the bar.

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Cool, thank you. – JDelage Mar 11 '11 at 19:12
Bar above the eyes? No way! Bar above the sternum. – Eyal Mar 14 '11 at 8:18
@Eyal bar above the sternum when lifting, not when unracking! – Greg Mar 14 '11 at 15:06

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