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danki
11-11-2010, 07:58 PM
Hey everyone, im a non-competative RAW powerlifter, currently 5'11 210, and am buillding my way to 220. In addition I want to hit a 300lb bench. My goals are not purely strength numbers, but I have done pretty well all around just focusing on getting stronger.

As for bench, i tend to be weakest off the chest, or about 3 inches off. Here is my current general setup....

ME exercises:

week 1 CG bench to a 1RM
week 2 Floor press with pause to 1RM
week 3 foam press to a 1RM

DE/RE work 50-70% with or w/o bands 8x3

Assistance/technique work:

Bench practice low reps
DB bench
pullups
1-arm row
facepulls
triceps
incline db bench

Ok so my questions....

1) Should I be pausing on my ME, assistance, both or neither?
2) When doing ME, should I aim for a total number of reps above 90% for the day?

what i mean by this, for example some on my floor press workout my warmups to a max were:

45x5
135x3
185x2
205x1
225x1
235x1
245x1 "max"

And that was it.

3) For ME work, do I want to pick exercises that im weaker at than bench or stronger, or both?


Thats all I can think of for now, but any other advice? Im sure just gaining weight will help get me closer to 300.

Travis Bell
11-12-2010, 05:28 AM
I would pause occasionally but not all the time. If your technique is sound, you should be able to pause just about as much as you can touch and go.

You're not getting nearly enough work in with your floor press example

This would be better

45 x warmup
135 x warmup
185 x 3
205 x 2
225 x 1
235 x 1
245 x 1
245 x 1
205 x 5
215 x 5
215 x 5

Yes you want to pick exercises you are weaker at

You can also use the bands on max effort day to help add some variety to your exercise selection.

LanceGoyke
11-12-2010, 06:32 AM
I was once asked, "Are you four weeks out from a meet?"
"No," I responded.
"Then why are you pausing?"

If you're weak off the chest, I suggest trying a one board press. It may be right at your sticking point, and you may be able to do less weight than a full ROM bench since you're starting right at your sticking point.

danki
11-12-2010, 08:47 AM
Thanks for the advice guys, i'll give those things a try.

So if I can pretty easily lift more than my bench max on an exercise (like 4" foam press) then should I not use that as an ME exercise?

Also, should I use my full arch and leg drive on ALL pressing movements, including ME, DE, and RE for both barbell and dumbell exercises?

Thx again.

NUCadet97
11-12-2010, 09:44 AM
My 2 cents...Travis is dead on you are not getting enough reps in after max.

I also tend to have my sticking point just off the chest so I have been hammering two things my lats and 1-board. I also like to use reverse band benching at the very beginning of a training cycle.

As far as arching and leg drive goes I arch and drive on all barbell movements as for me I feel that practice makes perfect.

LanceGoyke
11-12-2010, 12:06 PM
Also, should I use my full arch and leg drive on ALL pressing movements, including ME, DE, and RE for both barbell and dumbell exercises?

I agree that practice makes perfect, but I would not suggest doing a full arch for each set. Leg drive, tightness? Yes.

I used to do it that way, and I got caught up in arching as much as I possibly could. My back BLOWS now. It wasn't just arching on the bench, but my set up certainly was a factor in making my spine a completely unstable piece of garbage.

If you've got good joints, I would arch on ME and DE, but never on RE.

EDIT: However, if you don't have a super intense arch to begin with, it probably isn't a big deal to you.

AdamBAG
11-12-2010, 12:29 PM
An easy way to add volume is to work up by 3s or 5s until they become too difficult and are close to a 3RM or 5RM. Then go to singles for a 1RM. I know some people don't like this method, but for me it's an easy way to get in plenty of volume. It can hurt you on your 1RM attempts, but it's not a true 3RM or 5RM, leave a couple in the tank so to speak.

I think that was a rambling way of saying don't go to singles too early.

danki
11-12-2010, 04:13 PM
Ok, sorry some more questions.

1) So I work out in a commercial gym without any boards. Could I rest a 10lb plate on my chest instead of a single board?

2) For ME exercises, what do you think about the followiong weekly rotation:

week 1 CG bench
week 2 1-board press
week 3 Incline bench

repeat

NUCadet97
11-15-2010, 12:17 PM
Ok, sorry some more questions.

1) So I work out in a commercial gym without any boards. Could I rest a 10lb plate on my chest instead of a single board?

2) For ME exercises, what do you think about the followiong weekly rotation:

week 1 CG bench
week 2 1-board press
week 3 Incline bench

repeat

OK I work out at a commercial gym too, make your own boards out of 2x6's and bring them...no biggie

NickAus
11-15-2010, 02:47 PM
OK I work out at a commercial gym too, make your own boards out of 2x6's and bring them...no biggie

This!

elilliebridge
11-15-2010, 03:26 PM
You should try doing some board presses man..... and ever since my pec tare i've been pausing ALL of my singles even for my warm ups. The boards really help me out big time with my strength throughout the entire lift. 1-3 boards are the best, and occasionally i will do 4 boards to really focus on my lockout strength and speed.

LanceGoyke
11-15-2010, 06:14 PM
OK I work out at a commercial gym too, make your own boards out of 2x6's and bring them...no biggie


This!

Second thumbs up.

danki
11-18-2010, 07:21 PM
Hey guys I want to thank you again for the advice and give an update, and maybe get a thumb up or down from you.

Here is what I did today on my ME upper workout......

11/18 "upper"

1) 1-board press (10lb plate)

225x1
235x1
245x1
255x1
205x5
215x5
225x3

2) Lat pulldown 3x10-15
3a) DB bench press + mini band (50's) 3x15
3b) Facepull 3x15


So I haven't got actual boards yet, but tried just resting a 10lb plate on my chest. It seems to work, and I actually liked it because I could place it lower on my chest which forced me to bring the bar lower.


And my last question, I'd just like to run my upper body setup for both days by you guys.


DE days

I actually changed these to RE days. I wasn't exactly sure how to do this so I kept the weights the same as DE days, but changed how I perform the reps. Instead of 8x3, I just do 24 reps in as few sets as possible going to failure or near failure [something like:12,8,4] . And the weights, are cycled something like 50%,60%,70%. And the volume drops a bit as the weight goes up, so something like 30,25,20 reps, respectively. This day looks like this:

1a) RE bench
1b) Weighted pullups RE (same method)
2a) Tricep exercise 15+ reps, few sets
2b) Upper back exercise 15+ reps
3) More pulling if needed (higher reps)

ME day

Basically as listed above, i'll probably cycle 1-board, floor press, and incilne (or 2-board). Then a few more push and pulls with more focus on 10-15 rep range, and more shoulders/chest/lats, instead of triceps.

I want to keep this as simple as possible, but without some guidelines I tend to do too much and dont make much progress. Im gonna focus on what others have told me before and now again, and get more reps in on my ME stuff, and then dont push too hard on all the accessory stuff.

Any other advice is appreciated.


***Also, if it makes a difference, im currently bulking, eating everything in site, trying to get to 220 from 210.

AdamBAG
11-19-2010, 08:31 AM
I think you are on the right track.

If you are going to replace dynamic work with rep work then I think what you did works fine. Just don't turn it into another max effort day. If you start to stagnate go back to a few three week waves of dynamic work.

The one thing that I see lacking in your program is tricep work. I suggest doing "high intensity" tricep work on your max effort day (3-5 board press, rack lockouts etc.). On your dynamic effort day do "low intensity" tricep work (think extensions, pushdowns etc.).

Going to Home Depot and getting a few 2 x 4s will help you a lot. Boards are a fantastic tool.

danki
11-19-2010, 08:51 AM
So even as a RAW lifter I need to focus on lockout/tricep strength that much?

AdamBAG
11-19-2010, 09:12 AM
So even as a RAW lifter I need to focus on lockout/tricep strength that much?

Yes, in my opinion, but others may disagree.

JSully
11-19-2010, 09:22 AM
So even as a RAW lifter I need to focus on lockout/tricep strength that much?

this is my fallback..

I'm extremely powerful off the chest, but I lose it about where a 3 board would be at.. so I've started really hitting floor presses and board presses and it's helped.

Don't neglect the lockout!!

mchicia1
11-19-2010, 09:41 AM
Just figured I would bring this up to fuel the discussion...

But is there any reason why you are making it complicated like this? Seems like at your weight, just hitting the bench consistently and focusing on perfecting your form should get you to 300 pounds pretty easily.

Another thing...once my military press got to a certain weight, my bench started seeing very good carry over. I was basically stagnant on bench in the 260-270 pound range...but as soon as I was able to press heavier weights for reps (155-165 lbs) my bench started to increase at a significant rate all the way to 300+ over the course of only a couple of months.

Also if you are weak off the chest, why bench with boards at all? If you are sticking 3 inches above your chest, it means you are not accelerating out of the bottom portion of the lift hard enough which indicates to me that your setup is off and you aren't getting enough leg drive.

But then again, I am definitely the novice out of the people who have already responded so take this with a grain of salt. Just trying to let you know what worked for me, because I recently hit 300 and I wasn't able to make great gains until I switched benching to once a week with the other upper body day as heavy military pressing.

danki
11-19-2010, 10:00 AM
So is there a rule of thumb for board pressing similar to rack pulling as far as carryover?

Doesn't Louie suggest something like if you can pull more than 10% better than your best lift from the floor, then you wont get much carryover?


Also, I dont see it mentioned much, but I was thinking of doing some supramaximal supports and eccentrics used sparingly just to get used to holding heavier weights. Maybe something like 275-300lbs. Anyone ever do these?

danki
11-19-2010, 10:11 AM
Just figured I would bring this up to fuel the discussion...

But is there any reason why you are making it complicated like this? Seems like at your weight, just hitting the bench consistently and focusing on perfecting your form should get you to 300 pounds pretty easily.

Another thing...once my military press got to a certain weight, my bench started seeing very good carry over. I was basically stagnant on bench in the 260-270 pound range...but as soon as I was able to press heavier weights for reps (155-165 lbs) my bench started to increase at a significant rate all the way to 300+ over the course of only a couple of months.

Also if you are weak off the chest, why bench with boards at all? If you are sticking 3 inches above your chest, it means you are not accelerating out of the bottom portion of the lift hard enough which indicates to me that your setup is off and you aren't getting enough leg drive.

But then again, I am definitely the novice out of the people who have already responded so take this with a grain of salt. Just trying to let you know what worked for me, because I recently hit 300 and I wasn't able to make great gains until I switched benching to once a week with the other upper body day as heavy military pressing.

Hey man, thanks for chiming in. Ya, I dont really know what my deal is with bench. It is definately my weak point, even though ive always liked it. When I was in high school I was very into benching. I was pretty proud of benching 225 at a BW of about 150. It doesn't seem right to me that I haven't progessed much since then, even though ive gained weight.

I generally dont do much overhead work. Ive tried it in the past, but my shoulders get jacked up.. I dont know if its somethign structural with my shoulders or just lack of flexibility , but I cant train overhead consistantly. Also, I was a pitcher all the way up to high school so my shoulders have been a bit dodgy. I think some of my coaches may have messed us up also with forced static stretching before playing. In the past year, when I went back to barbell pressing, I decided to take Jim Wendler's advice and go with a closer grip. I started out weak initially but now it just feels really natural.

Thanks for your advice though, it is appreciated.

mchicia1
11-19-2010, 10:35 AM
Hey man, thanks for chiming in. Ya, I dont really know what my deal is with bench. It is definately my weak point, even though ive always liked it. When I was in high school I was very into benching. I was pretty proud of benching 225 at a BW of about 150. It doesn't seem right to me that I haven't progessed much since then, even though ive gained weight.

I generally dont do much overhead work. Ive tried it in the past, but my shoulders get jacked up.. I dont know if its somethign structural with my shoulders or just lack of flexibility , but I cant train overhead consistantly. Also, I was a pitcher all the way up to high school so my shoulders have been a bit dodgy. I think some of my coaches may have messed us up also with forced static stretching before playing. In the past year, when I went back to barbell pressing, I decided to take Jim Wendler's advice and go with a closer grip. I started out weak initially but now it just feels really natural.

Thanks for your advice though, it is appreciated.

I pitched 5 years in college for a division 1 school. No excuses!

No but seriously, I bet its because you take too wide of a grip on your pressing. For bench I am index fingers on the rings but on millies I use pinky or even less than that. Feels perfectly natural and comfortable. Your lack of overhead movements may be your issue. The bench still uses a lot of shoulders. Not all chest and tris.

mchicia1
11-19-2010, 10:37 AM
Also, I dont see it mentioned much, but I was thinking of doing some supramaximal supports and eccentrics used sparingly just to get used to holding heavier weights. Maybe something like 275-300lbs. Anyone ever do these?

I mix these in from time to time if I am not feeling good that day. Like if my target weight is 275 and even 250 felt heavy warming up, I may pull out 300+ and just hold it (not a negative, just hold the weight for 5 seconds). This helps me focus on locking my shoulders back and gives me confidence that the weight only feels heavy because its all in my head.

danki
11-19-2010, 12:57 PM
I pitched 5 years in college for a division 1 school. No excuses!

No but seriously, I bet its because you take too wide of a grip on your pressing. For bench I am index fingers on the rings but on millies I use pinky or even less than that. Feels perfectly natural and comfortable. Your lack of overhead movements may be your issue. The bench still uses a lot of shoulders. Not all chest and tris.

Ya, the widest I ever go now is pinkies right next to the rings, and sometimes I do CG with my index finger close to the smooth part in the middle.

I'll take this advice to heart and see if working militaries in somewhere can be done. You do seated military press, or standing press?

mchicia1
11-19-2010, 01:40 PM
Ya, the widest I ever go now is pinkies right next to the rings, and sometimes I do CG with my index finger close to the smooth part in the middle.

I'll take this advice to heart and see if working militaries in somewhere can be done. You do seated military press, or standing press?

Standing, although I don't see why seated wouldn't be just as good if not better if you were purely focused on bench.

mchicia1
11-19-2010, 01:45 PM
Agree with Tommy...just do 5/3/1 LOL. Its so simple and it works really well. 2 to 3 movements per day with a lot of volume. All you need at the stage you're at. I don't think guys like us really need bands, chains, or boards until we are really towards the top of our genetic limit.

danki
11-19-2010, 07:11 PM
Who is Tommy?

mchicia1
11-19-2010, 07:41 PM
Who is Tommy?

Looks like he deleted his post. But he said do 5/3/1

danki
11-19-2010, 11:15 PM
Oh, ok. I have considered 5/3/1 in the past, but I just like the variety and freedom in Westside. This may be for better or worse, but I always come back to Westside type stuff and I can stick with it longer. If I dont start progressing soon here, I'll definately consider it again.

But I think at this point, even though I stress over exercise selection and rep ranges, I just need to lift heavier weights more times. I know it seems obvious, but I can easily forget this.

So for now, im just going to keep things pretty similar to how theyve been, but up the volume on my ME work a bit, and cut back elsewhere.

Thx again.

danki
11-21-2010, 10:28 PM
Just a little update for Mchicia,

Today was my RE upper day, and I tried some standing press. It WAS after I had already done bench, pulups, triceps, and rows, but I was only able to build up to 105 for 2 sets of 5.

This probably should be much higher so im going to put a bit more emphasis on overhead work.....

vdizenzo
11-22-2010, 05:50 AM
When I do overhead work I do it right after DE or RE. I consider it a supplemental lift and really squeeze out the lockout. This way I'm covering a tri and shoulder exercise at the same time. I'm actually getting back to them today. I do them seated in a rack and only bring the bar down to eye level.

danki
11-25-2010, 11:00 AM
When I do overhead work I do it right after DE or RE. I consider it a supplemental lift and really squeeze out the lockout. This way I'm covering a tri and shoulder exercise at the same time. I'm actually getting back to them today. I do them seated in a rack and only bring the bar down to eye level.

Thanks for this advice. I gave them a try standing on my DE session and my shoulders have been a little aggrevated since. Nothing serious, but im gonna try seated with a little angle to see if that is more doable.

chris mason
11-25-2010, 11:51 AM
Travis,

Why more reps after the max attempt? Why not move on to something like a dumbbell press for reps or the like?

danki
11-25-2010, 02:25 PM
Here was my ME workout from today. Just trying some new things, and my partner flaked, so I had to go DBs for my ME movement.

11/25 "ME upper"

1) DB incline paused

80x2
90x2
100x2
80x5
90x5
90x5

2) Sm. rev grip bench

185x6
205x6
215x6
225x6

3) machine shrugs

4plates per side 2x6

Farmer's walk 2x2 trips (110's)

machine shrug 3 plates, 2x12

4a)Dizenzo Rows 4x10 [up to ~ 100-110]
4b)2 sets tricep ext, 2 sets JM press (135) 18 reps, 10 reps