Are boards only good for guys who bench in shirts? Or is there some correlation to increasing your raw strength?
For me board presses were everything when I wore a shirt. The more I hammered my 2,3,4, and 5 board the stronger my bench was. I was to the point of hitting a 705 raw 4board and and a 750 for 3 raw 5 board. Of course I was a fat bulbous ballon with a very short ROM but none the less the stronger those got, the stronger I got.
When I went raw I still hammered the boards. My boards got stronger but my raw bench didnt correlate. I found that my groove for the boards was awesome for my shirted stroke but terrible for my raw groove. I dumped the boards and used reverse bands for overload and started progressing again.
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I think the applicability of boards for a raw lifter depends on the needs of said lifter. If lockout is your issue then boards can be a great help. If your problem is off the chest etc. then they are less useful.
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I have benefited from board training but am naturally weak at lockout. I actually brought my bench up 20-30lbs in one meet prep (nothing amazing 375-405) primarily using boards. Frankl had me work tons of doubles. My bench days were primarily work out to say 325x2 to chest, then 345x2 to 2B, 365x2 to 2B, 380x2 to 3B, 395x2 3B, 410x2 to 4B, 430x1 to 4b, then 400x2 3B, 385x2 3B, 370x2 2B. The next week would be up all sets 5lbs etc. For me it was the right thing as I got my body accustomed to heavy weights and gave me confidence with the lockout.
Once again i agree with scott. I think for a shirted bencher they are key. They never helped my raw bench. I believe for a raw bencher close grips are key. With that in mind did you use a narrow grip on the high boards scott?
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I utilize a two board once a month now. It's helpful for me, afterwards everything seems so much lighter. And in the past implementing it helped me get through a flaw mid way up my bench. Yeah the stroke ends up being different than raw, so it doesn't carry over quite as well as you would like, but I also do a lot of regular raw benching in 5 rep range that I think makes up for it. And then I use other exercises when I want to get especially heavy.
I will at the end of some workouts go up to like 85 percent and do a full rep and a board rep it two brd rep it 3 brd and complete as many reps as possible. But I do not find them to be a great tool for raw lifters as a staple to your training.
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Boards, anywhere from 1-board to a 5-board have absolutely played a part in my raw bench progress. I'll use one in some capacity at least once every single bench day.
I am an infinitely better bencher both raw and equipped since I have stopped using boards. Other than perhaps warm ups in a shirt, I have little use for them.
Vin, how do you overload for the top end in the shirt? I agree no boards made me a better raw bencher, but it still didnt help my control and very top end lockout in the shirt.
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I do see some use for boards for tri strength. A close grip for reps can have its place, but it is still not a necessity.
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I like boards sometimes and think they have definitely helped. Mostly my mid-range to lockout is the worse part of my raw bench though. I only benched 365 off a 3-board before my first meet where I did a 370 contest bench. I think they made the biggest difference between 370 and 402 and less after that. Now, I can usually at least get 20lbs. over my full-range bench to a 3-board. However, I prefer chains and bands most of the time, because it's still a full-range lift, just progressively harder to lockout, and also the slingshot for overload. When I do boards it is always 2-board or 3-board mostly and paused on the board each rep other than warmup. I like to do them once every 4-6 weeks or sometimes a set or two at the end after regular benching.
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I personally like how it translates to the football field, especially for being a lineman.
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