This is a misunderstood concept in most gym goers and people who follow the fitness industry. This simply means you’re letting the latissimus dorsi work in the bench press.
What are the “lats”?
It is a muscle better known as the Latissiumus Dorsi in anatomy. This muscle adducts (moves the arm away from the body), medially rotates the humerus bone (think of placing your hand on your hip), and pulls the arms towards the body while pulling up or climbing.
What does this have to do with bench pressing I thought bench was chest shoulders and triceps?
Even though the bench press is mainly chest, shoulders, and triceps, it is more of a full upper body lift. Pressing may target these muscles primarily during the pressing portion, but the lowering phase and stabilization of the exercise are being assisted with other muscles.
During bench press many people say in order to reach your full capacity on the press, you must “tie your lats into the bar”. Here is a helpful way that can help you “feel” how it feels to tie the lats into the bar.
The lats are internal rotators, so placing a band behind the bench press will allow you the feeling of the lats tying in. Another thing that will help you tie your lats into the bar and save your wrists is the grip.
With the lats being an internal rotator, choosing this grip will allow you to use them while pressing.
For bench arch and scapular retraction check out :