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Thread: seem to be stuck on my bench

  1. #1
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    seem to be stuck on my bench

    Hey guys,
    Glad I found this site. A little about me. I am 6ft even and weigh in at 258 pounds at 30 years old. Max bench is 375 to 380 but have been at this point for a long time and just can't seem to break it. I have switched up my training from repping 275 for 4-5 sets of 10 to doing 315 for 5 for 4-5 sets along with doing incline bench, dumbells and cables. I still just can't seem to break past that point. Am I to a natural max point? I don't squat heavy because I grew up at a ski resort where I would ski in the summer and mountain bike in the winter, so the legs and butt are something I would prefer not to put any size on. Do I need to be squating heavy to get better gains, or can I just stick with light weight and high reps.

  2. #2
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    Have you tried heavy weight and lower reps? The best thing to do is usually what your not.

  3. #3
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    I work up to heavy weight, but have never just thrown on like say 335 and did 4 sets of 3 or something. Do you think that would be a better approach. Or when you say lower reps do you mean like maybe 345-355 for like 2. I want to get a good workout and try to lean up while still getting a bigger bench, but I know its hard to do both at the same time. I was at about 248 and decided to bulk a little so I put on 10 pounds, but still no change in the bench....

  4. #4
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    Id try a 5x5 program. I'm not the most experienced lifter here though so id wait
    for a few more opinions but a 5x5 might work out if you can handle the volume

  5. #5
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    Ultimately you are going to have to use a program that has some sort of built in progression over time. Just going in and doing the same weight for the same reps is going to cause you to plateau.
    I would recommend you go into the members journal section and look at some of the pro's journals over there to see what they are doing just to get some different ideas.

  6. #6
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    no harm in trying. I have tried alot of different programs. I use to pyramid down, I would start heavy and work my way down to light. Now I start light and work up to heavy. Back when I first started lifting I did they 4 sets at 5 reps, but haven't tried it since. I'll watch out for other opinions, but no harm in trying. I just want to make sure I haven't gotten to my natural max. I been stuck for a while.

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    Out of curiousity, your pyramid scheme worked well than for most of your lifting career?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean S View Post
    Ultimately you are going to have to use a program that has some sort of built in progression over time. Just going in and doing the same weight for the same reps is going to cause you to plateau.
    All that needs to be said.
    Sarvamangalam!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyeD View Post
    Out of curiousity, your pyramid scheme worked well than for most of your lifting career?
    I'd say it has worked pretty well for most of my career. I've had pretty steady gains doing it. I do mix it up and do dumbells, cables and hammerstrength, but I always start my workout with the flat bench. It kinda has me discouraged, I'm really just considering dropping down to around 230 and getting shredded instead of going for power since I already have pretty good mass at 260.

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    ^^ yeah you'd look mean if you went on a cut and maintained strength. That's my vote

  11. #11
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    i had that problem to but i found this site called criticalbench.com try typing increace bench press program and there is a great artical that will help

    criticalbench.com/program

  12. #12
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    Are you really sticking to one program.....honest with yourself? What I mean is some people claimed they tried 5x5,, 8x3 etc but if you could look at their training logs, every week a new rep scheme is being done and progression isn't being applied.


    So are you really sticking to a program that adds weight to the bar? I myself was stuck trying to bench press 300lbs for the longest. Some weeks I would hit 275 a couple of times, other weeks 290, or 3 set of 8 with 225. Heavy lifting but I wasn't sticking to a program that added weight. I trained like this for a very long time.

    Then one week I decided to do a 6 weeks program.... where I added 5lbs to the bar every week... After those 6 weeks I hit 300lbs.

    6 weeks of progression training beat out my 5 months of heavy lifting.

  13. #13
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    I've actually never gotten into the logs and everything like I should. Back when I first started and was doing the 4 sets of 5 we stuck with that program, but to tell you the truth the partner I have been lifting with is kinda spuratic. He just left, so I'm kinda glad that I can go back and dial in my program and stick to a schedule. Only bad thing is now no spot, so that's never a good thing, but I'm fine repping 315. I think monday I'll try to do the 5x5 with 315 and see how that works. The way I use to do it is pick a wieght that I just couldn't quite finish the 5x5 and stay there until I could then move up some weight. your 5lbs a week is pretty impressive if you can keep doing that every week. My partner did that to me a few months back, I was so mad because this fool was jumping up 10-15 pounds a week. I always outpressed him when we had lifted before until that point. When he hit 420 on his bench he told me he was taking deca. I could have strangled him, I was killing myself to keep up with him and he was roiding out. Oh well, at least he wasn't passing me up like that natural lol

    Quote Originally Posted by blackboard View Post
    Are you really sticking to one program.....honest with yourself? What I mean is some people claimed they tried 5x5,, 8x3 etc but if you could look at their training logs, every week a new rep scheme is being done and progression isn't being applied.


    So are you really sticking to a program that adds weight to the bar? I myself was stuck trying to bench press 300lbs for the longest. Some weeks I would hit 275 a couple of times, other weeks 290, or 3 set of 8 with 225. Heavy lifting but I wasn't sticking to a program that added weight. I trained like this for a very long time.

    Then one week I decided to do a 6 weeks program.... where I added 5lbs to the bar every week... After those 6 weeks I hit 300lbs.

    6 weeks of progression training beat out my 5 months of heavy lifting.

  14. #14
    LuNa
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    Quote Originally Posted by speed3 View Post
    I'd say it has worked pretty well for most of my career. I've had pretty steady gains doing it. I do mix it up and do dumbells, cables and hammerstrength, but I always start my workout with the flat bench. It kinda has me discouraged, I'm really just considering dropping down to around 230 and getting shredded instead of going for power since I already have pretty good mass at 260.
    Do you squat, deadlift?

    How many times do you bench in a week, you might be training it too often.
    Last edited by LuNa; 11-14-2009 at 04:00 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuNalicious View Post
    Do you squat, deadlift?

    How many times do you bench in a week, you might be training it too often.
    I do not dead lift and I squat light for reps because my legs and butt were alway kinda out of proportion with my upper body since I use to ski and mountain bike all through middle and high school. So my legs are the size I want them, I just want to get my upper body huge. I normally bench twice a week, heavy on monday and light on Friday. Is the light squatting what may be killing me? I normally put 135 or so on and do 4 sets 12 reps or so, but get a really deep and controlled squat.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Magilla's Avatar
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    Coupla years ago I was stuck at around 385#. Now I am older so some may not make sense for you. Some changes I did included...

    1. Switched to a 4 day lift week (was five). You get stronger away from the gym.
    2. Ate more protein. Well, drank it more. But more protein.
    3. ditched the IPOd and put myself on a "rest clock". This keeps me from screwing around with the IPOD and to focus 100% on the task at hand. Every two minutes I start the next set. The IPOD was a huge distraction for me.
    4. Move the workout times from 1:20 to about an hour. Abs, back are done seperatly (at the office).
    5. Every once in awhile, deload.
    6. Squated a lot more. Alot. This fired up my entire system. Still does.

    Hope some of this may help.
    Stats: (11/1/2009)
    Ht: 6'1"
    Weight 250#

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by speed3 View Post
    I do not dead lift and I squat light for reps because my legs and butt were alway kinda out of proportion with my upper body since I use to ski and mountain bike all through middle and high school. So my legs are the size I want them, I just want to get my upper body huge. I normally bench twice a week, heavy on monday and light on Friday. Is the light squatting what may be killing me? I normally put 135 or so on and do 4 sets 12 reps or so, but get a really deep and controlled squat.
    Squat heavy, deadlift heavy. Neglecting half of your body just because "they are already the size you want them" will slow down progress for the rest of your body.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by speed3 View Post
    I've actually never gotten into the logs and everything like I should. Back when I first started and was doing the 4 sets of 5 we stuck with that program, but to tell you the truth the partner I have been lifting with is kinda spuratic. He just left, so I'm kinda glad that I can go back and dial in my program and stick to a schedule. Only bad thing is now no spot, so that's never a good thing, but I'm fine repping 315. I think monday I'll try to do the 5x5 with 315 and see how that works. The way I use to do it is pick a wieght that I just couldn't quite finish the 5x5 and stay there until I could then move up some weight. your 5lbs a week is pretty impressive if you can keep doing that every week. My partner did that to me a few months back, I was so mad because this fool was jumping up 10-15 pounds a week. I always outpressed him when we had lifted before until that point. When he hit 420 on his bench he told me he was taking deca. I could have strangled him, I was killing myself to keep up with him and he was roiding out. Oh well, at least he wasn't passing me up like that natural lol
    If you start 5x5 or a program where you add 5 lbs. per week, you don't start with the max weight you can do the prescribed reps for. Don't start with a weight you can't quite do 5x5 with. Start with a weight you can do 5x5 with relatively easily with. Then add 5 lbs. per week. By the time you reach your old 5x5 max you will likely blow right through it. With any program, you should start light and work your way up over time.
    For you, I would recommend doing the 5/3/1 program since it has set percentages to lift at each week and has a logical progression so you gain strength over the long-term. Go to the elitefts website and buy the e-book.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by speed3 View Post
    I've actually never gotten into the logs and everything like I should. Back when I first started and was doing the 4 sets of 5 we stuck with that program, but to tell you the truth the partner I have been lifting with is kinda spuratic. He just left, so I'm kinda glad that I can go back and dial in my program and stick to a schedule. Only bad thing is now no spot, so that's never a good thing, but I'm fine repping 315. I think monday I'll try to do the 5x5 with 315 and see how that works. The way I use to do it is pick a wieght that I just couldn't quite finish the 5x5 and stay there until I could then move up some weight. your 5lbs a week is pretty impressive if you can keep doing that every week. My partner did that to me a few months back, I was so mad because this fool was jumping up 10-15 pounds a week. I always outpressed him when we had lifted before until that point. When he hit 420 on his bench he told me he was taking deca. I could have strangled him, I was killing myself to keep up with him and he was roiding out. Oh well, at least he wasn't passing me up like that natural lol
    Its just good to log especially when you stuck. You could be benching heavy every week and giving 100% but if your body is used to a weight your max will probably stay the same. I did 4x5 and after 6 weeks of adding 5lbs, I gain more strength vs trying to hit 90% of my max for months. I'm not saying this method will work forever or for everybody but it worked for me.

    You're already very strong so its easy to hit the gym, bang out reps with 315 that will look impressive to everyone else but your nervous system probably isn't impressed. It takes discipline because week 2 or 3 you might feel the need to bench something heavier but you will be better off in the long run going from 315 week 1, 320 week 2,325 week 3, etc.
    Last edited by blackboard; 11-14-2009 at 08:55 PM.

  20. #20
    The Flyfisher rbtrout's Avatar
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    Getting your entire body stronger will help your bench press, so yes, squat heavy and deadlift heavy. You might also look into Wendler's 5/3/1.
    Give chalk a chance.


    49 years old

    665 squat
    700 deadlift
    325 bench

  21. #21
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    Quick update. I only had a quick chest day today, but I did get a baseline on my 4x5 start. I threw on 295 and was able to pump out 4 sets of 5 with no spot. The last set was pushin hard, I doubt I would have completed with 315. Since that took all I had to muster out that last set of reps for 5 should I do the same next week or bump it up 5 pounds? I normally do a light chest day on Friday's to. Like 225 and rep out 4 sets, cables, and dumbells. Anybody else hit chest twice a week?

    Quote Originally Posted by blackboard View Post
    Its just good to log especially when you stuck. You could be benching heavy every week and giving 100% but if your body is used to a weight your max will probably stay the same. I did 4x5 and after 6 weeks of adding 5lbs, I gain more strength vs trying to hit 90% of my max for months. I'm not saying this method will work forever or for everybody but it worked for me.

    You're already very strong so its easy to hit the gym, bang out reps with 315 that will look impressive to everyone else but your nervous system probably isn't impressed. It takes discipline because week 2 or 3 you might feel the need to bench something heavier but you will be better off in the long run going from 315 week 1, 320 week 2,325 week 3, etc.

  22. #22
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    Yeh, I am right now but I'm just phasing in and started my 5x5 yesterday evening. I'm certainly no professional though and I'd just take my reply for what it is (an answer to if I do chest 2 times a week). I'm just like you I do very little squats and no deadlifts, minimal leg press as well. My routine has been active a month from which I'd not lifted since jan thru june of 2007 of which I'd had little results besides adding a little to my bench press routine. I usually split things up though and worked 2 certain areas each day but I usually go 6-7 days a week. Yep I know it's over-training but I'm just wanting to shed some fat and get stronger while doing so.
    I'm considerably weaker than you though my 5x5 today was with 145lbs. My highest bench press was 235lbs so I'm not sure how the 5x5 translates to what my 1rep max is now but my last 2 sets were grunts and I had trouble but managed to muster them out.
    I also had the same ? about that too. Should I move down from the initial 5x5 as I think I've read before or should I add 5 more lbs. I'd imagine move down to 140 5x5 then next chest day 145 5x5 and add 5 on if I can each week.
    btw ill post in the new member section later on when I've got the time....

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