Trying to up bench

Discussion in 'Training Forum' started by anonynmous39596706, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. @insertnamehere I did not want to hijack someone elses thread, but I also did not want to miss the opportunity to get some expert advice, so i started this thread. Hope I did the quote thing correctly.

    Above is how I would have done it on a normal day and I would have added a set of 135x25 to pump it up. Most times I get the 25 straight and some times I have to give it a few seconds to breath the the last couple of reps. I am having a big party tomorrow so the wife absolutely forbid me to go to the gym because of all the thing that needed to be done. That is why I had to rush through, but the set list was correct as posted. It was half assed because all I could think about was that I was getting shanked when I got home.

    I work out 6 days a week because I have to go to couples counseling one day. Something about spending too much time in the gym and blowing off responsibilities. I don't even know, I just sit there thinking I am loosing my gains.

    split as follows
    tri's and bi's
    start over and skip Thursday where ever it falls in the rotation.

    Now for the questions. If I keep doing my BB style routine would you advise doing the heavy chest day before the tri's and bi's on arm day and go light normal on chest day? You said not to go to max every workout. When I hit 290 it is my max because I can't get a second but it does not feel heavy. It feels slow. Most bench sets are a 2 down 3 up pace. 290 is 2 down 4/5 up. I touch my chest lightly with the bar, slight pause, but can not get the explosive push. It moves but slowly. No pain or discomfort

    I had lost 100lbs through diet and exercise and have a hard time eating anything but super clean. I have a psychological problem eating over 2400 cals a day. If enough people yell at me I might up my calories if it would be beneficial.

    Thanks for the help, I really appreciate your time.

  2. jaymaximus

    jaymaximus Member

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  3. Thanks for the links Jay. From reading them I have come to the conclusion that I am not eating enough. I dropped another 2.5 lbs this week. That would be a good thing back when I was a fat bastard. My mind set does not allow me to eat bad food. My diet is strickly eggs, plain chicken, tuna, yogurt steamed veggies and kidney beans. very rearly will I eat anything else. Its hard to take in enough cals unlessn I eat non stop. I think I will add in nuts and cheese to see what happens.
  4. turcao

    turcao Member

    How about milk or cottage cheese?
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  5. There's couple of ways I suggest going about this and still keep your current BB schedule intact.

    1. Do your heavy bench days on chest day. Do it first and then do all the other bench variations and accessory work. Drop your top end single to 265lbs (this is 91% of your current max), do 5 to 10 singles, and add 5lbs every week. Its better to give yourself some room to grow, instead of potentially running into a wall two weeks in or even worse - an injury.

    2. Same as above except add a light to moderate day to your routine on bis and tris day. The weight used for this day would be calculated between 65 - 75% of your current 1RM max and done for 10 - 5 reps per 6 - 5 sets. Make sense? Here's what that looks like:

    65% of 290 = 188.5 = 190 - 6 x 10
    70% of 290 = 203 = 200/205 - 5 x 8
    75% of 290 = 217.5 = 215/220 - 5x5

    Choose any of the above percentage with corresponding volume. For strength purposes I would like to see you doing 75%, adding 5lbs every week. If you choose the lower percentages, use those sessions to perfect your set up, technique, and execution. Which ever you choose, add 5lbs per week.

    If you start feeling beat up, joints sore, or progress stops, substitute the 75% and/or 91% with a deload session or just take it completely off and reevaluate.

    If you still want to do 135 x 25, do it after the main work is done.

    Let me know if you have any questions.
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  6. Benching with chains really helped me quite a bit.

    Now if only I could bench 4 plates :(
    jaymaximus likes this.
  7. It looks like I am off to fame and fortune with this plan. I just have a few more quick questions. On both days do I still do the warm up sets eg. 135x6, 185x5 and then as outlined above or just stretch out and go for it? On the heavy day how do you determine if it is closer to 5 singles or 10? Do you think a full chest day every third day is too much(one heavy, one light)? I was thinking legs, back, chest(light), arms, shoulders, chest (heavy),off, repeat.

    On the subject of technique, I have a hard time understanding how to keep my elbows in to disengage my triceps? I read Brutus' post on bench technique and I am tryin to incorporate it all. I always bench with a flat back and it never moves though out the whole movement. Rotating my scalpular and pinching my shoulder blades seems to have helped, but keeping my elbows more inward seems to activate my tris more. Did I misunderstand something? Next I will work on activating my lats.

    Twenty five years ago I had worked up to 315 do to brute strength that is easier achieved by being young. Now if I get there it must be from going it correctly.

    Thanks for the help, it is greatly appreciated.

  8. Docd187123

    Docd187123 Member

    1) you want to warm up in such a way that it gets your blood flowing, the required muscles ready to handle the load/working sets, and makes sure you can perform the full ROM. If you're working up to heavy singles you want to conserve energy. If your top set is 315 let's say I would warmup something like this

    Bar x 5
    And work your top set for the required sets and reps

    Don't stretch necessarily. Just warm up and do whatever mobility work you need to to get the full ROM. If you need to do some foam rolling, dynamic stretching, etc do so but don't just static stretch for the hell of it as it will affect your lifting.

    2) you can base how many sets to do of singles on several factors:
    How fatigued you are, the more fatigued the less sets/less fatigue more sets, whether you're going to do a lot of extra accessory work after or not/lots of accessory work use less sets. You also want the least amount of work that produces the most results. Don't just go crazy on volume bc. Have a reason to.

    3) chest every 3rd day might be or might not be too much. Depends on how well you recover, how good you respond to frequency, how your training is structured, etc. Chances are you'll be fine as bench is the least taxing of all the powerlifts. Master powers for example benches to a top daily max 5-6 days a week. He can do so by modulating volume and keeping it low. I'm currently benching 3x a week but with higher volume than Masters. Bc it's higher volume I can't work it as frequently as he does nor do I use the same intensities he uses but it's made up for in volume. You could even make great progress benching once a week and pressing a second day. It's all in blyour ultimate goals and how you want to set up your training.

    4) you tuck your elbows in closer to your sides so as to engage the triceps more not disengage them. If you have strong tris it can work to your advantage and you want around 45deg between your shoulders and torso. If you have a strong chest it might be better with something not so tucked and more wider angle or flaring more of the elbows. I prefer a middle finger on the ring grip and elbows about 45deg. This also helps my elbow pain. Another thing to consider is that by tucking elbows more and touching lower on your chest you put less stress on your shoulders. If you have bad shoulders it's probably better to tuck your elbows more than a BBer style bench press to save your shoulders.

    4) you want a retracted scapula and imagine pinching your shoulder bakers together. This gives you a better base or setup and allows you to stay tighter throughout the movement to lift more weight.

    5) to activate the late you'll need to think of bending the bar or imagine you're breaking a pencil. Here's a good read on how to setup from a friend, Joliver

    If you are having problems with your bench, it could be a technical issue. It could also be that you aren't strong enough to press the weight, but play my game here....lets assume it is a technical issue.

    Technical issues seem to be the toughest to understand for most guys, but it is the easiest fix. You can sit down with a good PL bencher and he will pack pounds onto your bench with his knowledge--no gained strength--just a conversation. So lets talk about it.

    Problem number 1: People don't know what it means to set up and get tight. The bench press is a full body lift. If you don't believe it, your opinion doesn't matter because you are a shitty bencher. This isn't bodybuilding and focusing on isolating the "benching muscles" isn't a goal. Back to the full body lift thing. How is it a full body lift? Its called kinetic linking.

    What is kinetic linking?

    It is when you are tight enough on the bench that power application in a particular direction transfers the force up your rigid frame into the bar that has just touched your chest. Translation: You push with the "dug in" heels of your feet driving your arch up, and your upper back and shoulders into the bench as you press the weight. If you don't have leg drive, or don't use it, you are leaving serious pounds on the table.

    How do I get tight?

    Well, the simplest way to tell you how to do it is like this: Lie down on the bench and put your feet on it to create a wrestler's bridge (like you see Steelers4life doing to set up). Pull your shoulders back. Your foundation to press should be your upper traps. Arched back (not hyper-arched--back cramp will get you if you do), butt firmly on the bench, and feet firmly on the floor. Nothing should move. There shouldn't be anything loose when you prepare to bench.

    Your set up should be uncomfortable. It shouldn't feel good or natural. If you ask me to set up 10 consecutive times for a PR bench, I would be sweating like hell. My coach used to come up to me and knock the hell out of my legs to see if I moved after I was set up.

    Problem #2: Your active bench technique is garbage. This is not a bodybuilding movement!!! I am going to lay out a few steps at the for benching that would most likely help anyone. They still help me today.

    1) From the start to the finish of the bench, you must squeeze the bar tightly.

    2) Do not push up on the bar to take it out of the rack. Use a spotter to carry it out to you, and use your lats to pull it like you would a dumbbell pullover. Never push up. You will blow your set up. You cannot re-set after you break. You may as well put the weight back in the rack.

    3) Once the weight is unracked, let it settle for a second in your hand. Eliminate bar inertia--DON'T FIGHT THE BAR'S MOMENTUM ON THE WAY DOWN. If you do, enjoy your shoulders for today...they won't be there tomorrow. Plus, you will be out of your groove, and most likely miss the lift anyway. Let the bar settle.

    4) Do not flare your elbows like a bodybuilding press. You aren't trying to build your pecs. Moderately tuck you elbows. How much? I can't tell you that because I don't know the length of your humerus bone.

    5) Know where the force is coming from and keep the bar in that line. Your force will be transmitted through the elbow up the forearm into the wrist and hand. Keep the wrist in line with the elbow. Less joint will be cushioning your force transmission (this is the same reason you don't want soft soled shoes in the squat or DL). This takes a lot of practice. I bet I can search videos of the best benchers around and see them violating this rule. They all know it and admit it. If they still fight the tendency to get out of will have to as well. It also protects the wrist once you get into the big weights.

    6) Lower the bar with your lats. If you don't know how to do this, there is no way for me to explain it other than telling you to do it. You should always be training your lats in the same plane as your bench anyway, so this should be second nature to you after some practice.

    7) Find the point on your torso where you are comfortable bringing the bar to that includes the least shoulder rotation. A good way to test for this position is to decline press. Fill your belly full of air, and press to different touch points. You will ultimately find a point where you are comfortable and have minimal shoulder movement. Try to recreate that position on the flat bench.

    8) Once you have received the press command, or you have touched the chest, you will simultaneously fire your pressing muscles with slight external rotation and push your heels into the ground like you are trying to slide your body off the top of the bench. During the press, you must "spread the bar" and as you approach the top of the lift, "break the bar", like a pencil, away from your body.

    This is not an all-inclusive bench press lifts. These are just a few best practices that should get you started down the road of PL benching.

    As always, if you have any questions, feel free to PM me (or POB about any personal problems--he loves that).
  9. @Docd187123 That is some great stuff. I was doing it 100% wrong. I was under the impression that I had to keep my ass in full contact with the bench at all times. I bench with my back completly flat and if you saw me bench you would swear I was a paraplegic. I relax everything from the bottom of my rib cage down.

    My second problem is I always thought you had to unrack and rack yourself or it did not count. When I do my 90% singles is it all right to unrack myself your should I get a hand off?

    Now I feel like I have to get up in front of the room and say "Hello, my name is Rocco the Dog and I don't dead lift". I want to be a responsible member of the gym society. I am going to wacth a few videos but I have the feeling I will be starting a thread on that also but a quick question first. Deadlifts on back day or leg day?

    This might be the begining of the end to my hypertrophy days of lifting. Deep down I was a little envious of @Frank the tank 456's posts. Now I want to hang with the big boys.

    Doc, I really appreciate the time you put into posting your advice for me. I assure you I will put it to good use. I am going to work on set up every day before me regular workout. Next chest day is Wed. so I will post how it went.

    turcao likes this.
  10. Docd187123

    Docd187123 Member

    Your ass and a part of your upper back must remain in contact with the bench at all times throughout the lift. The more you can arch the better you increase your leverages but many lack the flexibility to have a big arch. You need to keep everything tight the whole way, once you loosen up under load you cannot tighten back up the same amount. Here are two setup styles, I prefer the slide through style but do whichever is best for you.



    Unracking yourself ruins your set up. Masters unracks himself all the time but he's a lifting freak of nature unlike the rest of us mortals. When you get someone to unrack or lift off for you, they should be lifting the bar and you shouldn't. You use your lats to pull the bar down to the starting position. I've been experimenting on how to unrack myself for heavy attempts without compromising my setup and I've been decently successful. It's hard to explain but I will if you want to try. If you can unrack yourself and keep your form decent and not affect your lifting go for it. If you need a lift off don't hesitate to ask for one.

    Deadlifts are in fact a partial leg exercise but they hit the back and posterior chain so much more. I don't have a body part split or a "leg" or "back" day but if it were me I'd do deads first on back day.

    Welcome to the dark side. Please fasten your seatbelt, keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times; and most importantly....enjoy yourself. It's always fun seeing how much people enjoy strength training.

    My pleasure.
  11. Rocco, you wanted expert advice and you just got it above! Keep us updated on your progress and don't hesitate if you have any questions.
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  12. jaymaximus

    jaymaximus Member

    I was just going to post the exact same thing Doc said. Like word for word (I had the same pictures and everything). But he beat me to it. Damn!
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  13. viking23

    viking23 Member

    Well I think you got all the advice you need. Make it happen Rocco! I found benching more often really helped me improve mine. Although so did critiquing my form. God I wish I found meso fucking sooner!!!
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  14. Thanks everyone. Today was bi and tie day so I did 5 sets of 135 singles to try to set up better. First thing I noticed were I always had my feet to far towards my head. Once I moved them so I could push off my heels an not just relax on the balls of my feet things felt better. I also noticed that by pinching my shoulder blades and rotating my scalpular caused my elbows to retract slightly and the bar came down lower on my chest. 135 felt comicly light. I also noticed my lats felt slightly pumped. In the past I was just relaxing everything but my chest and moving the bar with my pecs with my arms parallel with the bar.

    I started my tri workout with close grip bench. Proper foot position and tightening up made my normal weight feel lighter.

    One more day of practicing the proper set up and then Wednesday will be heavy chest. I will post how it went. Thanks again to everyone, I no longer feel like I am spinning my wheels.
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  15. Masters Power

    Masters Power Member Supporter

    Doc has it covered and I have little to add. Video from both slightly in front and from the side can help isolate problems Good luck.

    I do need to point out that this guy also unracks himself.
  16. Thank you. It was very helpful. I like to unrack myself because when I ask for a spot, some of the people I ask actually hear 'do you want to be my new best friend and talk to me the rest of the day'.

    Two more days and I will know how much of an improvement all this great advice has made.
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  17. Docd187123

    Docd187123 Member

    If I could do half the things Tuscherer could do.... :)
  18. Masters Power

    Masters Power Member Supporter

    I agree. He and Dan Green are my two favorites and unlike his squat and pull Dan's bench is far from a technical masterpiece so I try to follow Mike's bench approach.
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  19. Wunderpus

    Wunderpus Member Supporter

    An easy way to increase your protein intake is liquid pasteurized egg whites. 1 container is 250 calories and 50 grams of protein. I split it into 2 drinks a day, in the morning in my shake and at night mixed with Metamucil and water (not as gross as you'd think). That's an easy 50g's a day added, for like $3. You could really drink 2 cartons a day if you wanted an easy 100g's. I understand the struggle of not being able to eat enough, it blows.
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  20. I feel like I am eating more now then when I was over three hundred pounds. I was at Walmart and bought boxes of turkey burgers. Sixteen burgers for $6. Each one is 15 grams of protein. I also found chickpea pasta. Half a box is 380 cals and 28 grams of protein. I get fat when I eat carbs so the chickpea pasta is like a cheat meal that is not bad for me.
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