Ive recently been stuck on 5x5 210 lbs. bench and Im never able to get that 215. That five pounds feels like a brick house and every Monday seems to be more depressing than the last.
So recently I decided I needed a change in form and moved my hands further apart on the bar and also tried to develop a nice arch in my back, Almost exactly like Kenny Powers' video.
It was disastrous, was barely able to get the first set of 215. I went a whole week without drinking alcohol(huge accomplishment for me) along with a ton of protein.
I'm assuming the wider grip is taking away my tricep strength which I heavily rely on with the closer form. I used to put my ring/middle finger on the first circle and my new spread is my pointer finger just on the outside of the first circle.
So my question is, would it be worth it IYO to start from scratch(195 5x5) with the new form and build back up using the wider grip and depending less on the tri's? Hopefully when I work back up the new form will help me expand past 215 and focus more on my chest resulting in heavier lifts.
currently 199 lbs.
I saw go up to a heavy max one week or maybe even two weeks in a row. Then do 5x5 the next week. Then the 215 will feel like after a week or two of handling more weight than that. I don't think you can do 5x5 forever and make progress.
maybe it's what you do after your bench that isn't making your bench go up....... maybe take a look at your assistance work. are you using good strength exercices for your tri's and back and such?
Thanks for responding barbel,
My tris are usually shot after doing chest.
On Wednesday I do dips, skullcrushers, sometimes close-grip press. I also do squats.
On Friday I do deadlifts, pullups, bent over rows.
I really think its my bench form and I think that needs to be perfect in order to lift 15 pounds over my bw 5x5. My squat and DL are nowhere near where they should be which I have been working on constantly.
You switched your form. The movement is VERY different to your nervous system and stressing the involved muscles in a unique fashion. You SHOULD be weaker initially. Keep at it for a week or two and you will find your strength increasing nicely.
Now, if you really want to increase your bench give my program a try. I can virtually guarantee you a 20 lbs increase in your 1RM within 30 days.
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How long have you been doing the 5x5 scheme for your bench? I used that rep scheme for several months when I was getting back into lifting a couple years ago and while I made good gains for awhile, it eventually got stale. I'd suggest switching things up, maybe trying a new routine. There are a lot of good published routines out there, pick one and go with it for awhile. You might be surprised at how you start making progress again. I switched to a Westside style template and after a couple of months I decided to do 5 sets of 5 as a ME exercise and was surprised to have increased by 20 lbs. Just my 2 cents.
I would say switch it up if you hit a plateau. Change to floor press, or add some chains, or bands, or just change your rep scheme, for 2 weeks, go back to the 215, and give it a run. You might be suprised at your strength.
if you insist on "training chest" , then maybe you should bench first then do tris and then do your chest prehab style...... also, you should fit your program together better. maybe try 5/3/1
I agree that the 5x5 won't be the end all in terms of gaining strength. Eventually, people stall on them and have to look to something else. I also agree with what barbell said about strengthening the muscles that press. Your chest doesn't have as much to do with benching as you probably think it does. That's not to say it doesn't play any role, but other muscles are more important.
All that being said, I think Chris hit the nail on the head with the form comments. Changing your form drastically takes time to learn and master. It is natural to be weaker at first because it is unfamiliar to you and your nervous system. Give it time, though, and it will pay off. I can't even imagine going back to the way I used to bench (typical gym rat style).
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Matt those videos are great, Im most definitely ready to start the powerlifting form. Going to concentrate on perfect form and go back down in 5x5 until Im back up to 210, after that Ill take the others' advice and switch to a different routine such as 5-3-1 or 3x3.
One of my main problems is when I get fatigued my elbows wont stay tucked in and I'll rely on shoulders. Another problem that can be perfected with the lower weight for a few weeks.
Also Ive been reading posts about CNS fatigue and reps till failure. If i cant finish a 5x5 should I decrease the following week or just try it again? If i try it again and fail that's two weeks of CNS fatigue which members agree is a huge problem.