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Author Topic: my bench press blows  (Read 2798 times)
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« on: July 09, 2011, 06:02:55 PM »

My bench press is very weak.  I am impressed by a lot of young bodybuilders who are 3-4 years younger than me that can bench 200+.  Unfortunately I can't do that.

My weights were very low (bar only or 2x 10lbs) when I first started working out.  Probably because I lost all my muscle from not eating.

I am very satisfied with my other lifts.

My squat is 190lbs x 6.  I just got there after doing 185lbs for 5 workouts.
My deadlift is around 220 x 5.  I did 235 x 3 the other day.  That was tough.
My bench press though is only 125lbs x 5.  I was at 120lbs forever, 115lbs forever, 90lbs forever.

How can I improve this?  I started working my triceps more and I think it's helped a bit.

I think my form sucks.  I tried putting my feet up on bar or on the bench.  Made me feel wobbly.

I don't understand the digging shoulder blades in thing.  I try it and then when I press off I go back flat on the bench.

I have my hands really wide now.  I think it's helping a bit.  My left side seems a bit weaker though, I don't like bad form.
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outby43
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011, 06:13:42 PM »

How old are you.   If you are Junior high or something don't worry about comparing yourself to others.  At that age people gain strength at different time.  I think your question depends on your age.  You said others are benching 200.... but 200 isn't that much which makes me think you are what?  13 or 14?
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John O
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2011, 06:22:31 PM »


My bench press though is only 125lbs x 5.  I was at 120lbs forever, 115lbs forever, 90lbs forever.


Your making progress. You have gone from 90 to 125. You won't make gains of 5 lbs a week you know. If you do, take up powerlifting!! Seriously I'm not a good teacher, but it does take time to improve you numbers, it don't happen overnight. Hit you triceps, shoulders, Lats, as well as your chest.
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2011, 06:46:24 PM »

lol I am 22.

I haven't actually seen anyone at my gym do more than 175lbs.

So should do some shoulder exercises with dumbbells and maybe shoulder press to improve my bench press?
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 07:00:35 PM »

lol I am 22.

I haven't actually seen anyone at my gym do more than 175lbs.

So should do some shoulder exercises with dumbbells and maybe shoulder press to improve my bench press?

Oh wow..Ok.  Eat clean and continue to lift hard.  You will get there. 

What gym do you go to man?  I find it hard to believe breaking 200lbs is a big feat in a gym.  Is it a post cancer treatment center?
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2011, 08:04:44 PM »

HAHA too funny bro.

Nope haven't seen anyone do close to 4x 45 plates before, not even a rep.

A lot of mix of people there.  A lot of old people, girls doing cardio, kids doing curls all day, and then a bunch of people who do a lot of stuff except bench press.  I see a lot of people doing dumbbell press.

I have been training 5 months now, 3 days a week.  But yes bench is my weakest exercise.  I would love to just get 2x 45lbs but It's rough.
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Yev33
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2011, 08:35:28 PM »

Stronglift's 5x5, do it exactly as its laid out, don't add workouts, don't add exercises, do it EXACTLY AS ITS LAID OUT.

 Thank me in a year.
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2011, 09:15:08 PM »

Stronglift's 5x5, do it exactly as its laid out, don't add workouts, don't add exercises, do it EXACTLY AS ITS LAID OUT.

 Thank me in a year.
I've been doing Starting Strength which was recommended by people from Bodybuilding.com when I started.  Followed it exactly.

I am happy with my deadlifts, squats, and rows.  Bench is weak and military suffers as well.

I don't know how long I should keep doing Starting Strength.  Love doing squats 3 days a week.  My favourite exercise!

I heard after I plateau I should move to a split or something like you said - 5x5 madcow or something.
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Yev33
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2011, 09:54:51 PM »

Generally most people will be able to use the stronglifts 5x5 program until they hit a 1.5xbodyweight bench and squat, and a 2x bodyweight deadlift. At that point you would switch to something like madcow 5x5 or 5/3/1. To be honest with you, at your strength level you would even benefit from bw push ups and dips.

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Yev33
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2011, 09:57:41 PM »

http://oldschooltrainer.com/reg-parks-beginner-routine/

This is a good beginner routine as well.
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2011, 10:32:28 PM »

Generally most people will be able to use the stronglifts 5x5 program until they hit a 1.5xbodyweight bench and squat, and a 2x bodyweight deadlift. At that point you would switch to something like madcow 5x5 or 5/3/1. To be honest with you, at your strength level you would even benefit from bw push ups and dips.


so should I just abandon starting strength then???  Have my gains not been good?  Like I said I thought they were decent except for those 2 exercises.  I have been eating and sleeping right.  167lbs up to 190lbs + in 5 months or whatever.

I don't do pushups at all.  I haven't actually seen pushups recommended in any routine?

Once I started learning about weightlifting I noticed the only real body weight exercise people talk about is pull ups / chins up.  Because after you get adjusted to your body weight you can dangle plates from yourself or wear a back pack or something lol.
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2011, 04:15:18 AM »

Are you training your bench 3 times a week? If yes, stop and go to twice a week. 5X5 is a great protocol, but be sure to your keep training weight the same for all 5 sets, and then once you can complete 5 reps on all 5 sets increase your training weight next workout. Work on your triceps, but don't worry about your delts so much.

I'd recommend: 1. Bench 5X5 or 4X6
                     2. Close-grip Bench (with the hands about 1 foot apart) 5X5 or 4X6

And that's all. No extra delt work, but maybe some rotator cuff work to keep the shoulder joint strong and stable, but those 2 exercises (bench and close-grip bench) some be your bread and butter, at least for now. Also, be sure and rest at least 4 or 5 minutes between work sets.
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2011, 01:54:31 PM »

Are you training your bench 3 times a week? If yes, stop and go to twice a week. 5X5 is a great protocol, but be sure to your keep training weight the same for all 5 sets, and then once you can complete 5 reps on all 5 sets increase your training weight next workout. Work on your triceps, but don't worry about your delts so much.

I'd recommend: 1. Bench 5X5 or 4X6
                     2. Close-grip Bench (with the hands about 1 foot apart) 5X5 or 4X6

And that's all. No extra delt work, but maybe some rotator cuff work to keep the shoulder joint strong and stable, but those 2 exercises (bench and close-grip bench) some be your bread and butter, at least for now. Also, be sure and rest at least 4 or 5 minutes between work sets.
Starting Strength alternates.  Only squats are done everyday.  So bench is 2 times a week.

I usually do warm up sets on the bench, about 4 different sets.  But I stopped that now because I think it tired me out.  I just warm up with the bar then go to my max.

Also can someone explain digging the shoulder blades in?  Does it really matter?
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2011, 02:21:28 PM »

Here`s an article I wrote on how to increase your bench:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/wescott1.htm

Any questions,just ask me and I`ll be glad to try to help you bro.
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2011, 03:51:35 AM »

Here`s an article I wrote on how to increase your bench:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/wescott1.htm

Any questions,just ask me and I`ll be glad to try to help you bro.

Nice article wes, I particularly like this part....

"The basic premise of the routine is progressive overload" and "This progressive overload forces the body to grow" Grin

And to the thread starter, another good way to increase your bench is to cut down the distance that the bar has to travel, and this can be done by...

1. Widening your grip on the bar.

2. Improving your arch, by tucking your shoulders down and under and pulling them towards your ass as you set up to do your bench, and at the same time arching your low back to bring your ass closer to your shoulders.
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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2011, 09:41:03 AM »

Excellent advice from Wes. It's all about the total number of reps done for a muscle area, broken down to sets (brief pauses between those reps). And most times, a lot of extra reps are not needed at all. 5X5's can suit most , for a time.

Offering a couple of things not generally done in regular BB'ing:  Wave or Oscillation strength workouts. Where the muscles get accustomed to handling a much greater weight, than back to normal weight, greater weight weight, etc, etc, etc. And all in the same workout.Works well for strength athletes and power sports like football. Pretty simple concepts to put into action.

If you have a PR, might try these:   Being a PR guy, and a little bias, I might suggest a 3 position pin partial rep training as a first choice. Seem some remarkable quick power increases in the bench, DL & squats with this protocol.   These heavy duty workouts seem to help increase muscle mass very well indeed.

Keeping it simple:

1st position..top) Place the bar pins around 2 to 4 inches from your top lockout position. Probably can use around a 100lbs over the your regular BP. Than just lockout.

2nd position..middle) Place the bar pins around 6 inches off the chest. With the other set of pins, place them around 4 to 5 inches from the bottom pin settings. Press up to the upper pin settings and back down to the bottom pins. Find the middle portion of the BP is the weakest for a lot of people. Adjust the weight to your needs. You will get much stronger in this middle range, than you might have though possible.

3rd position..bottom) Set the pins touching, or as close as you can, to the chest. Set the upper pins to 4 or 5 inches from the bottom pin settings. Press to that upper position and than back to th bottom again. Another very weak position for a lot of people.

Do 2 sets, each position, of 4 to 6 reps. That's 6 sets total. Than do a couple of regular light sets of your normal benches for 8 to 10 reps. Twice a week for all of the above, getting a much heavier workload than you are use to. Good Luck.






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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2011, 06:32:26 PM »

if you dont get to at least 250 in 6 months where going to be pissed lol mabey try to go to a gym with more stronger memebers that sounds stupid but its kinda like a fish in a small tank when you see people do stuff it starts regestering in your mind you can do it to. hell when I started I thought i would sell my soul to bench 250 in my life now im just under 400lbs with failry equal strength through out. I helped a skinny kid that couldnt bench 115 he hit 300 in 2 yrs basically doing the type of workouts you are fullbody based routines. It can be done eat big and lift heavy
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2011, 07:16:19 PM »

Totally agree with Chess315. To get stronger, hang out with strong men. Most of them will help you out. Some are complete A-wipes, so avoid them. Not always talking about the 280-330lbs guys. Try to work in with the lightweights or such. Pound for pound, some of the strongest guys in the gym. Their training tips and diet habits alone are worth there weight in gold. Good Luck.
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« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2011, 09:30:13 PM »

I have no idea what the 'pins' thing is your talking about.

I would love for someone to help me out.  But no one at the gym seems to know what they are doing LOL  Sad 

Back at the gym tomorrow morning.  I still do not understand this shoulder blade and back arc thing.  Every time I left the bar off I just go right back flat on the bench.  I tried keeping my back arc one time and the bar just about fell on my neck.
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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2011, 03:05:36 AM »

I still do not understand this shoulder blade and back arc thing.  Every time I left the bar off I just go right back flat on the bench.  I tried keeping my back arc one time and the bar just about fell on my neck.

Watch how he sets up here starting at at 56 second mark in this vid.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxfzWbEKd6s" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxfzWbEKd6s</a>

Maybe that can give you a better idea of what I'm talking about. You basically have to tuck your shoulders down and under (pull them down towards your hips). It's difficult to explain really well with words, but if you see it in video it can give you a better idea, I think.
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« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2011, 06:29:36 AM »

Stop benching for a while - its easy to overtrain a movement when all you do is focus on it - train your rotator cuffs or fuck benching all togeather if you are doing it for looks eg: bb - not saying you shouldnt do flat work at all but treat it as just another exercise focus on your uppers and use db's on flat .
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« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2011, 09:29:47 AM »

I agree with Will Grant, try other movements rather than the flat BB bench. Besides it's not the best pec builder for a lot of guy's anyway. DB's have a distinct advantage for BB'ers because of a better stretch and a balance of development for each side of the chest. DB's also offer a more natural pressing motion as opposed to the fixed grip position of a BB. Which, in return, may cause injury when trying too much weight, too soon..

See in at lot of gyms, that the men with the more impressive chest are not always the super heavy benchers. Repping out with 220-240 can do for you, what 420 may never do. Personal view is that dips (weighted) are a much better choice (for me anyway) than the flat bench. Good Luck.

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« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2011, 12:37:19 PM »

well the program I use is called Starting Strength.  It's all about just building full body strength.  The program says not to deviate but I guess if I am not progressing I should just drop it?

So you guys think I should do dumbbell press then?  Never done that before.

What weight should I start at?  Would I still be doing a 3x5?
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« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2011, 04:21:11 AM »

yes the good old "Bells" are great. I remember when i had a bit of shoulder pain i used Dumbbells and i had my hands slightly turned out and i got no pain. Go for the feeling and not your EGO.
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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2011, 09:54:47 PM »

been doing the dumbbell press for 2 days now.

I will respond back to this in a few weeks.  The program says not to deviate but maybe this will help my bench press in the long run.

I am doing 30lbs dumbbell press in each hand.
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