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View Full Version : My Bench Press has been lagging for... well, pretty much forever. Help?



Dgro
05-01-2008, 03:31 PM
Basically, I feel that my Bench Press is, proportionately, my weakest lift. In the past year I've increased about 20lbs to my 6rm (I gained about as much in my own bodyweight; let that sink in for a minute <_<). Furthermore, while the other exercises I consider most important are improving at least once every three weeks, Bench Press has been stagnant.

For instance, I Deadlift 325x5 and Squat 270x6, and both are moving steadily upwards. I've failed 170x6 on Bench for about 6 weeks in a row (IIRC), and in fact my last attempt was worse than the past few before it (only 3 reps as opposed to 4). My other chest exercises (DB Press, 150x6; Dips, BW+75x6) are much stronger proportionately and, again, increasing fairly regularly.

Current training, once per week:
95x10
115x6
135x5
155x3
170x3 or 4 (attempting 6)

So I'm just wondering why the hell Barbell Bench Press is the only exercise of mine that I've hit a wall on. Is this regular at all? I'm thinking I should first try switching up the set/rep scheme, but I have no clue in hell where to start. Any help is appreciated.

Disclaimer; yes, I use the arched-back, traps-pinched, leg drive (etc etc) form.

ribs
05-01-2008, 03:43 PM
Your problem is very familiar to mine. Iv'e tried everything to get past it. I have noticed only recently that with flat bench i need to do it every 4 to 5 days, not every week as all the other exercises. Problem is it screws up your routine a bit.

joey54
05-01-2008, 03:46 PM
drop back down to 155 and aim to get a good 6 reps with that. continue to progress slowly. thats a simple way to do it. others might have better ideas. Maybe Travis B. can comment?

ZenMonkey
05-01-2008, 03:47 PM
What is you entire routine? You know we need the vital statistics to help you.

joey54
05-01-2008, 03:49 PM
What is you entire routine? You know we need the vital statistics to help you.

yeah that too. maybe you are missing something which could help your bench, or doing too much of something which is not allowing your bench to progress.

Xellarz
05-01-2008, 03:53 PM
Yeah, drop the weight down and get in some quality higher reps for a few weeks.

Another option is attack your weakpoint. Where do you fail?

skakid613
05-01-2008, 03:55 PM
that happened to me before....i dropped the weight and started doing 3:1:1 reps. 3 seconds down, pause for 1 second, and 1 second to lift the weight back up. i worked my way back up to the weight i was stuck at and was able to progress from there

Dgro
05-01-2008, 03:57 PM
Oh, sorry. You can check the journal in my sig.

Or, I could just type it out. Here's the deal;

1:
Deadlift
Dumbbell Press
T-Bar Rows
Abdominal Curls***

2:
Squat
Dips
Lateral Raises
Bicep Curls***

3:
Bench Press
Chinups
Glute-Ham Raises
Abdominal Curls***

***alternating every other workout

Sets/reps are slightly different for every exercise, but I generally do something along the lines of;
8x 50% 6RM
6x 70% 6RM
3x 85% 6RM
6x 6RM

Like I said I've been getting steady gains in every lift besides BB Bench. So I think all in all the program's working for me.

nhlfan
05-01-2008, 04:17 PM
you need to get at least one more pressing exercise in on day 3. Try some board pressing or incline dumbbell pressing, or something.

then, possibly swap the pressing on day one for some dynamic effort benching. 5 or 6 sets, nothing too serious.

ZenMonkey
05-01-2008, 04:25 PM
I think you have things a bit too spread out. For example, dips the workout before bench will be detrimental to what you can push on your BB bench day.

When you say DB Press is that flat, incline, or overhead?

Reko
05-01-2008, 04:32 PM
I think you could benefit from more volume I would bet, also you could improve with some variation too. After a while your lifts will becoem stagnant if you do the same thing over and over again, so try switching up the exercises every couple of weeks.

Dgro
05-01-2008, 04:42 PM
I think you have things a bit too spread out. For example, dips the workout before bench will be detrimental to what you can push on your BB bench day.

When you say DB Press is that flat, incline, or overhead?

Even with such low volume? And, for what it's worth, I just took a week off and came back and pressed 170x3. DB Press is Flat by the way. I'm wondering if I should just start focusing on DB Press more since my body seems to like that movement a lot more...?


I think you could benefit from more volume I would bet, also you could improve with some variation too. After a while your lifts will becoem stagnant if you do the same thing over and over again, so try switching up the exercises every couple of weeks.

I'm definitely a low-volume kinda guy. I used to do much higher volume and I actually started regressing after a few months. And I have been switching up certain exercises and the order I do them in.


Thanks for all the replies thus far. I guess I'll try easing up on the weight and building back up. I haven't seen anyone recommend changing my set/rep scheme, so I should just keep it as it then, or what?

joey54
05-01-2008, 05:08 PM
for your overall program reps aren't as much of a concern to me as the order of your days are. I would do the squat focus workout in #1, the bench focus workout in #2, and the dead focus workout as #3. Sorry, but I haven't looked at your journal, are you going mwf? Maybe for the assistance work you are doing, have an RE focus for some sets, maybe like 3 sets of 8-12. I would also get rid of dips and laterals and throw in an overhead press.

So like Day 1
Squat working up to your 6 rep set
Standing Military press 3 sets of 8-12
Bent Over Barbell Rows or T Bar Rows 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Day 2
Bench working up to your 6 rep set
Chins 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Glute Ham Raises 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Day 3
Deads working up to your 6 rep set
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Front Squats 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Work in a few sets of bi and tri work, and abs where you see fit.

Or, just follow the Ripptoe routine.

Zen, Xellarz, Reko What do you guys think? Also, should he worry about deloading in weight for the big 3 every 4 weeks or so?

Notorious
05-01-2008, 05:10 PM
Try upping the weight instead of the reps. See what you can do with 175.

Also, no Military Press?

dblockspky
05-01-2008, 05:30 PM
A couple things you can do off the top of my head...

1) Do more volume during your chest workouts or add an extra day of benching during the week.
2) Use smaller plates. I.e. gym I go to has 1.25lb. plates. Drop the weight to a number you can do 6 times, then the next week add 2.5 pounds instead of 5 or whatever you program requires you to increase by now.
3) Eat better
4) Switch up your training... sometimes in order to break out of a plateau in a lift the best thing to do is to NOT do that lift. Try DB benching, weighted dips, or the other plethora of exercises you can do for your chest.

I'm sure you'll have it in no time.

Dgro
05-01-2008, 06:07 PM
The only reason I don't do any sort of OH Press is because I can't without ****ing up my shoulders. Just trust me on it; I've tried doing them, I've seen a doctor, and my RC's simply can't handle it. It's genetic.

Could I ask why you're suggesting I move up to 8-12 reps on nearly every exercise? Does it have anything to do with my Bench directly, or do you think I'd get better results all around, or what?

And why drop Dips? Is the idea so that I'll have more energy left for Bench day (giving the pecs more time to recover)?

And yes, it is Monday/Wednesday/Friday

Thanks

joey54
05-01-2008, 06:20 PM
The only reason I don't do any sort of OH Press is because I can't without ****ing up my shoulders. Just trust me on it; I've tried doing them, I've seen a doctor, and my RC's simply can't handle it. It's genetic. This makes sense

Could I ask why you're suggesting I move up to 8-12 reps on nearly every exercise? Does it have anything to do with my Bench directly, or do you think I'd get better results all around, or what? I am thinking better overall results. Also some variety and a focus on building muscle, though your other rep range will build muscle as well


And why drop Dips? Is the idea so that I'll have more energy left for Bench day (giving the pecs more time to recover)? Pretty Much

And yes, it is Monday/Wednesday/Friday

Thanks


In the end it is up to what gives YOU the best results. You might have to mess around a bit, but it sounds like this program is working pretty well for you, so why change. Again, doing dips before bench isn't optimal. Can you do any type of shoulder press to replace that?

BigTA1982
05-01-2008, 07:52 PM
I bet its your form on the bench and how you grip the bar. Read that bench press article they have on here. It has some good info on it. The biggest problem I see people doing is just flopping down and repping out the weight. To get higher bench press you need to lay on the bench and grip the bar properly. When laying on the bench make sure you are sqeezing your glutes and your shoulder blades together with your chest out with a slight arch in your back. Also your feet need to be placed correctly. When gripping the bar, your arms should make as close to 90 degree angles as possible when the bar is at your chest. I hit a plataue at around 250ish and I started doing this form and my bench went way up over 300 pounds.

joey54
05-02-2008, 05:31 AM
I wanna bump to see what the others I already asked think about post #13 and also to see what they think about the overall order of the program.

Dgro
05-02-2008, 11:57 AM
I bet its your form on the bench and how you grip the bar. Read that bench press article they have on here. It has some good info on it. The biggest problem I see people doing is just flopping down and repping out the weight. To get higher bench press you need to lay on the bench and grip the bar properly. When laying on the bench make sure you are sqeezing your glutes and your shoulder blades together with your chest out with a slight arch in your back. Also your feet need to be placed correctly. When gripping the bar, your arms should make as close to 90 degree angles as possible when the bar is at your chest. I hit a plataue at around 250ish and I started doing this form and my bench went way up over 300 pounds.

*points to opening post* <_<

joey54
05-04-2008, 02:36 PM
for your overall program reps aren't as much of a concern to me as the order of your days are. I would do the squat focus workout in #1, the bench focus workout in #2, and the dead focus workout as #3. Sorry, but I haven't looked at your journal, are you going mwf? Maybe for the assistance work you are doing, have an RE focus for some sets, maybe like 3 sets of 8-12. I would also get rid of dips and laterals and throw in an overhead press.

So like Day 1
Squat working up to your 6 rep set
Standing Military press 3 sets of 8-12
Bent Over Barbell Rows or T Bar Rows 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Day 2
Bench working up to your 6 rep set
Chins 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Glute Ham Raises 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Day 3
Deads working up to your 6 rep set
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Front Squats 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Work in a few sets of bi and tri work, and abs where you see fit.

Or, just follow the Ripptoe routine.

Zen, Xellarz, Reko What do you guys think? Also, should he worry about deloading in weight for the big 3 every 4 weeks or so?


Bump again for the 3 mentioned in the post. Really interested in what you guys have to say, for my own knowledge even.

Xellarz
05-05-2008, 02:57 AM
Sorry for not responding earlier.

I do kinda like the routine you posted. Depending on how hard you hit the GHR it might adversely affect your deadlift, not saying I'd change it...I'd probably try it out and if it works, great, if not - modify.

As for deloading...umm...tough call...but I'm gonna go with no deloads. Then again, Poliquin was talking about how he noticed certain people he trained progressed much better than certain others...he then noticed that those who were progressing better were the ones who would deload every 4th workout...so I dunno, like I said, tough call.

Songsangnim
05-05-2008, 05:37 AM
Oh, sorry. You can check the journal in my sig.

Or, I could just type it out. Here's the deal;

1:
Deadlift
Dumbbell Press
T-Bar Rows
Abdominal Curls***

2:
Squat
Dips
Lateral Raises
Bicep Curls***

3:
Bench Press
Chinups
Glute-Ham Raises
Abdominal Curls***

***alternating every other workout

Sets/reps are slightly different for every exercise, but I generally do something along the lines of;
8x 50% 6RM
6x 70% 6RM
3x 85% 6RM
6x 6RM

Like I said I've been getting steady gains in every lift besides BB Bench. So I think all in all the program's working for me.


The problem might be that you are training chest three times a week. In almost every chest exercise the shoulders are used. The shoulders are also used for back exercises...so you might be overworking them. I'd drop the dips and lateral raises from workout 2 and put the glute/ham raises in their place.