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Benchpress is a specific and highly technical movement.


Those who compete internationally and specialise in it, realise the mental application for bench is very different from that of other strength events.


Out of all of the strength events bench press is the most critical of psychological techniques and understanding of neurological responses, as every thought process will have a direct effect on the motor responses, physiological mechanics from your brain signalling and ultimately your physical output and result.


For those who compete equipped, you have an entirely unique set of different obstacles which band together - so if one element is off, then the rest will not follow and work.


Most benchers at one time or another experience anxiety, intrusive negative thoughts, panic and rush their set up, have confidence issues, post injury problems or trauma, often related to dumping the bar or the other things that happen that we won’t speak about!!


Emma Ylitalo-James is a psychologist and NLP Trainer with 15 years of experience as a therapist and lecturer who applies multiple approaches, learned through years of professional experience and 30 years as a competitive powerlifter. Now a bench press specialist with one of the biggest all time in history single ply bench records in the world of 215kg she is the holder of 9 world titles.


She applies her own techniques to her competing and has worked with hundreds of people in sport over the years to produce effective and ultimate performance with the one thing that strength athletes pay so little attention to; the psychological state which can make or break your lifting results, and ultimately your competing career.


Seminar Content


The Critical Bench Interactive Seminar takes a maximum of 10 participants. Every participant will have been asked to fill out a questionnaire prior to the day and so ALL issues of each participants can be addressed.


The morning is spent going over theory which will cover:

  • The neurological basis of physical response,

  • Identify your behavioural type and explanation of how you will respond differently to others (in other words why some techniques you may have tried won’t work for you)

  • Detailed explanation of your behavioural type and traits - how we apply this to competing and performance

  • How thought processes affect your physical responses and your internal perception.

  • How to alter your physical responses from changes to your internal dialogue and how you can do that.

  • Common issues of psychological performance on bench and how to overcome them

  • How to optimise your psychological process and therefore physical results

  • Post injury/post trauma psychological blocks - steps to overcome and work live in

  • Over analysis - how to rectify and what causes it



Afternoon Session: Active Sessions (putting the theory into action)

  • Each person will work through their bench session in rounds. From the information assessed from your pre-course forms you will address each of the issues as we work through your sets.

  • Explanation will be given to WHY you are having the issues and addressed

  • An individual routine will be assigned to each participant with individual specifications

  • You will have a follow up email outlining what has been discussed and a list of processes to follow and incorporate into your training and/or routine.



Next Seminars:

December 10th 2017 ; Manchester, venue to be confirmed

January 28 2018: Frome, Somerset


please go to the Course Schedule page for full details

Pricing: £120   (£95 for current BPU.WPC/ABPU members)



To book please complete the Contact Us form on the left hand side and we will answer you with a brochure and relevant forms


NB: I take a very limited amount of personal clients due to work load. Occasioanally I will have spaces as clients reach thier optimum level. If you would like to go onto a waiting list then please email me.






Critical Bench - the Psychological Edge

World Championships Riga 2011 smelling salts

The Seminar to understand your brain activity, thought process and how it affects your actual physical results.

Theory, personality assessment, real time individual application to your benching


* Required

To Enquire or book now

This seminar was previously only held in the USA as strength athletes at the time in the UK were not able to accept the brain had direct impact on their physcial results. Now, for the first time, by demand, this will be held in the UK.