I've been stuck at a bench max of 250-260 for it seems like about a year. I've been lifting regularly the past 2 years and one of my goals is to bench 300. I am not a small guy, 6'2" at 220 BW, and I don't want to weigh more than I do now. I work in cardio whenever I have time to maintain my weight and use the typical post-workout protein shake. As of late I have been deadlifting and installed a pull-up bar in my home gym to build a stronger back. I am looking to increase overall strength and muscle mass, but the 300# bench is what I've been chasing. Without getting too detailed on my routine, do you think it's possible to maintain my BW if not drop some and continue to get stronger? I know it's the classic case of bulk vs cut, but I really want to avoid weight gain, as i feel 220 is heavy enough for me.
Without knowing what you already do, maybe try adding weighted dips to your routine and rows, if you don't already. Also, look for a different bench routine to change things up and checkout Westside Barbells' book for a TON of info.
What does your chest routine currently look like? How long have you been doing it? What have you previously tried to break through this plateau?
The others are correct, we would need more information in order to help you. Things like how you train your bench, your assistance excercises, your diet would be a good start.
As far as loosing weight and getting stronger, while it is possible, it's also harder.
How much bodyfat are you carrying? If you are already pretty lean, it may be pretty tough if you don't gain any weight. I trained for 12 years and was 6'1" and 215 and my BP was 250-260. I then started training specifically for powerlifting and gained a bunch of weight and got my BP up to 315+. The change in training certainly helped, but I don't know that I would have gotten there while staying less than 220. With my frame and leverages I just couldn't carry enough muscle mass at 220 or less to get my BP to 300+.
I'm not staying what you are wanting is impossible, but be aware that doing it while keeping your weight at 220 may make it significantly more difficult.
Unless you are active in some kinds of weight based activity, bodyweight does not matter. Focus on getting stronger. As you add muscle, your weight will go up. But your body fat will go down (thru proper nutrition).
A few years ago I weighed 235. And looked like a slob,. Nice double chin, even nicer belly and I was weak. Benched around 200#. Squat? back hurt to much to try. Decided to get back into weights. I hit the weights, hard. I now weigh 250# and, according to my wife, I have never looked better. My waist is smaller, lost the double chin, and I am alot stronger. Rather be myself at 250# then what I was at 235#!
My point? Who cares about the weight gain (if any). Lift heavy, eat right and the rest will take care of itself!
Can you post a vid of your bench? Improving your form is a great way to increase your bench, and most people stuck usually can improve their form.
I was stuck at a bench max of 285 and after about a year I only got it up to 295. For 6 months after I hit 295 I was cutting to be a little more fit for summer and I couldn't increase my max even 5 lbs to hit 300.
I did the Increase Your Bench 30 lbs in 30 Days routine from this site and in a month my bench went up to 315.
Honestly I think more than the lifting part of the program what really helped me make the jump in my bench was putting on weight. I decided I didn't mind bulking a little since summer was over. I figured if I got too fat I could always cut again and drop the weight. I gained about 15 lbs in a month. Obviously it wasn't all muscle but all of my lifts have been going up regularly since I started eating more.
IMO, I would say just try keeping your current diet but adding in one extra snack a day that is about 500 relatively healthy calories. Maybe an extra sandwich or something as a snack. Even if you want to maintain a weight of 220 the best way to increase your LBM might be to bulk up to about 230-235 over the next 3 months or so. Then cut back down to 220 and try to maintain as much of the muscle you gained as possible. If you keep eating at maintenance, your bench will stay stuck at 250 and you aren't going to gain any significant amount of muscle.
What pushed me through my plateau was watching that dave tate video on benching and really working on the form. Also, I threw in skullcrushers twice a week (heavy for 3 sets each time). I blew past the plateau once I figured out how to keep my lats tucked.
Also, I have not gained a pound in 2 months and my squat went from 315 to 375, deadlift 400 to 450 and bench 265 to 285.
A typical bench day for me looks like this:
-warm up with bar
-Max if I'm feeling good that day
-Work back down doing as many reps as possible with 225, 205, 185, 135
On days I don't max I will work on some more sets of 3-5 with moderate weight. For assistance training I do heavy skull crushers once per week, cable push downs, close grip bench. As stated before, I'm deadlifting and using the pull-up bar for back. I lift at home, so I basically have access to an adjustable bench, lat tower, squat rack, pull-up bar and dumbells. In the past to try breaking the plateau i've done lockouts on the bench rack with heavy weight, pushing it the final 6-7 inches of the lift. I have not done that enough to know if it helps. As far as the weight gain/loss, I now realize that if I want to get stronger i will have to endure some weight gain.
I don't know my BF %, but I am not lean maybe 15-18%. I gain weight easy, but have to work much harder at losing it. Sounds like I'm in a similar situation as you were, and If I want to get stronger I will have to bulk up some more. Thanks.
Originally Posted by Sean S
What type of program are you using? Does your program include progression or just heavy lifting. If you been stuck for 1 year I can't imagine doing a program that had any progression or you had to be lifting 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off. Honesty is important. Advice about doing skull crusher, push down etc etc isn't going to help you.
Start a journal, find a program that involves progression, stick with it and you will improve. Again, honesty is important because being stuck at 250 for a year isn't realistic.
When my Bench was stuck for a long time it was either two things. I wasn't training consistently or i was just bench pressing every week without a program.
I am going to start the 30# in 30 days progression routine on Monday. I will update my progress as I proceed. Thanks to everyone in advance.
Let us know how you get on. There is the old MM2K Bench Program I was going to suggest if you didn't have a routine to go with but you can go with the one suggested. The reason why people find they gain numbers on their bench on a program like MM2K and others but stall/stagnate is that you get into the groove and don't just train haphazardly.
Originally Posted by stryker755
I finished the 30 day bench routine last week and did well with it, was able to finish my last sets (245x2x2). I maxed out today, failed at 265. It is a mental thing because 250 (starting max) went right up no problem after that. Just wanted to report back my results, I definitely think the program helped but I need to get past this mental block. I need to get back in the swing of things with a new routine. I did eat a good amount more than usual while on the 30 day routine, more protein as well. I will continue to do so and keep lifting hard. Thanks for all the input.