Fun with Fan Mail

About the Author: Eric Cressey

In a given month, this blog will get over 25,000 unique visitors.  So, as you can imagine, I get quite a bit of “fan mail.”  I recently received this lovely note from a loyal Swedish reader of mine; it’s posted almost exactly as it was received (including incorrect spelling, spacing, grammar, and content, but edited for cursing):

“Eric is a fony , in his book he think bridging is OK so you actually fool yourself that you are lifting big but you just lift the weight 8″.Real athletes lift the weight, in benchpress, with their backs FLAT . Take your skinny bragging as and go f**k yourself . I hope you get cancer.”

My response:

Dear Fan,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful note.  It means so much to me to hear from my readers, especially my particularly loyal Scandinavian following.  The Germans may love David Hasselhoff, but he’s got nothing on my popularity with the Swedish.

In response to your observation that the weight only travels 8″ on each rep, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that some folks will only move it 7.5 inches because of larger upper bodies. Really, you make such a strong case for your position that I couldn’t possibly come up with anything to refute your argument, so I’ll only bow to your unrelenting knowledge and contribute to your argument.

Certainly, lifting with a flat-back is the way to go.  While we’ve evolved over centuries to a posture that has our spine in a S-shaped curve, clearly bench pressing is an exception to the rule, as you so graciously observed.  I stand corrected.

Your well-wishes for my continued success are greatly appreciated.

Respectfully Yours,

Eric Cressey

Note from EC: this is a sarcastic response.  For more information on why a subtle arch on the bench is useful and safe for bench-pressing, check out this article from Craig Rasmussen.  I’d also add that flattening the back forces the thoracic spine to flatten as well, and this causes the scapulae to wing out: not what you want under a heavy load.

Oh, I still love you, Sweden.