or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Health & Body › improving bench press
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

improving bench press

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I'm stuck with my bench press, and I have set as a goal to improve my bench press. I set my self 6 goals to hit, and I have hit 4 of them, and see how I will hit another in the next couple of months, but my bench press is stuck.

last week I worked for a session with a trainer. the mandate was very specific, I wanted his help in improving my bench. he worked with me mostly on stuff that was more core related, and things like pushups, pullups, flipping a big tire, that kind of thing. all good, but not directly related to what I am looking for. also, I wasn't sore at all the next day. not that that is bad, but I expected more.

I was sort of expecting him to work with me on triceps and back and some muscles that could be recruited to improve my press. things that I might not have thought of, intuitivly. I know that there are lots of websites that discuss the press and improving the press, and I have been looking at them, but they are all pretty involve comiting to a path of action, and I am not sure which one is best.


anyway, any suggestions? suggestions for specific ideas, books, webistes, etc.
post #2 of 37
In "4 hour body" Tim Ferris has a Template for improving the bench press. Can't remember who worked it out for him right now. But it was a systematic approach, starting off with moderate intensity (weight) and high reps (~10) and working your way up. In this template you would work on your bench once a week, and do regular, wide grip and narrow grip bench presses in this session.

As to which path is the best - I would think it depends a great deal on where you start off.
post #3 of 37
What is your goal? to just increase weight?

if i were you i would look at your technique 1st. take a read through this.

Phase 1: Setup (Prepare yourself by putting on your lifting apparel: shoes, shirt, singlet, belt, and wrists wraps, in that order. Chalk your hands heavily to get a good strong grip and your shoulder blades and butt to prevent any possible sliding off the bench).

Feet Back: Metal Militia Technique (First lie down high on the bench so that your head is hanging off the bench. Unlike in bodybuilding bench, place your feet as far back underneath as you can. Don’t get on your toes; keep the entire sole flat on the floor. This will provide a solid leverage point for arching your back and pressing the bar from).

Bridged Back (Grab the bar with an underhand grip and pull yourself up towards the bar and down towards your feet, so that your forehead touches the bar. Do NOT move your feet of the ground; just arch your back into a bridge. After touching the bar with forehead, first rest your head on the bench, then traps and upper back while maintaining an extremely strong bridge.

Squeeze Shoulder Blades (Roll the shoulders back to meet the shoulder blades. Until the pain of clenching is still bearable you are not doing it right. If you are not ready to feel enormous pain you are still not ready to compete. Clamping blades tight together shortens the path that bar needs to travel, avoids recruiting of the anterior deltoid muscles and creates a thick upper back platform that will carry out most of the weight).

Bar Grip Type (First and most important thing I want to stress out is that you ALWAYS use a fully wrapped grip. Wrapping the bar with thumbs will prevent it from dropping on your chest and ensure more pressing power. Digging your hands deep into the knurls of the bar, and squeezing it as hard as you can, will trigger a reflex which will make your entire body to tighten. This is a little trick used by the professionals).

Bar Grip Width (As for the width of the grip, this is something you will need to figure out for yourself. Wider grip will put more stress on the chest while narrower on the triceps. Either way is fine, just be sure not to use too narrow or too wide grip. As I said try different widths and see what works the best for you.

Wrists Straight (First of all, put the bar on the root of the palms not the part that meets the fingers. As a result, the wrists should be completely straight, as almost as if you are doing push-ups on your fists.

Phase 2: Unracking (Here I will use the example of performing a bench press set with just one rep using maximum weight. Note: this example is actually a simulation of the maximum lift performed like the one on a meet. The only step that is different than in normal training is “Inhale Deep”, where you will inhale before every repetition and not just before the first one. During competition, the spotters are allowed to assist you with this step).

Inhale Deep (Take an enormously deep breath, to take in a lot of oxygen supplies, because the next time you will breath in will be when you return the bar on the rack at the finishing point of the lift! NOTE: Don’t exaggerate by taking too much air. Take just enough to make your stomach hard and push it out on your belt).

Elbows Locked (Keep your elbows locked during the lockout because you are strongest in that position. Bending your arms will only waste your lifting strength by additionally pressuring the triceps).

Unrack the Bar (Don’t unrack the bar by pressing out with your chest and triceps or raising the shoulders. Instead pull it off by using only the strength of your back (lats). This is not the time to be aggressive and jerk the bar up like a mad man. It will waste your strength, mess up your concentration and balance or perhaps result in an injury. After unracking, wait while the weight stabilizes.

Phase 3: Descent (Descent must be done in a very controlled and somewhat slow manner. Descending too rapidly will make you lose control and bounce the bar off the chest which is not allowed to do. So be sure to control this part of the lift. The strongest focus is required for this stage).

Tuck Elbows (Lower the bar down and forward towards the lower end of your chest by rotating (tucking) your elbows in. The path of the bar will resemble a written backslash character “\”. This part of the lift may be very uncomfortable and appear to go against logic if you are a beginner, because it differs very much from the classic bodybuilding bench where elbows are benched out and the bar is traveling down in a straight line. However, this technique, once mastered will provide more power).

Heels Down/Belly Up (While tucking your elbows, simultaneously dig your heels as hard as possible into the floor and arch your back as hard as you can! Basically, drive your heels into the ground and push your belly up to shorten the bar path, but don’t raise your butt of the bench).

Phase 4: Ascent (During this stage you must put forth all the resources that you have in order to drive the weight up. Since your descent was done slowly and bouncing off the chest is not allowed, you can’t count on inertia to aid you in going up. The bench shirt in this situation will act as a sling and help you additionally. NOTE: If you wear a shirt, the bar should touch the chest at the sternum (breastbone). Without the shirt the bar should touch somewhere between the nipples and the sternum).

Touch and Push: Metal Militia Technique (Once the bar is touching the chest wait for the referee’s bench signal. Press the bar up and towards your face by bringing (rotating) the elbows out. Make sure to press the weight up along the same backslash path that you lowered it down. Again, push from the heels and maintain the bridge, this is very important)!

Feet/Butt/Head Down (Pushing from your heels will make you want to raise your butt. Concentrate and resist the urge to do so because it is forbidden by the IPF rules. Some people like to look at the bar during bench press, which is also forbidden. Make sure to incorporate all this into your technique early on in your training so you can develop a reliable habit).
post #4 of 37
http://www.ironaddicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32031

work on your weak point. are you getting stuck at the bottom? do some paused benching. halfway up? do pin presses from below your sticking point. so on and so forth
post #5 of 37
Hard to make a recommendation without knowing your training background, gt.
Like how much are you benching now, what is your current program like, what was your lifetime max bench, etc.
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbaquiran View Post

Hard to make a recommendation without knowing your training background, gt.
Like how much are you benching now, what is your current program like, what was your lifetime max bench, etc.

good point - frankly, I know that I am not working the right way to develop well. I do 5 reps 5 sets, of 4 excersizes - squat (300 pounds), incline press (185 pounds), standing military press (115 poounds) and lat pull on a machine, with an almost full stack. for a 45 year old guy who stands 5 foot 5, I think that everything is pretty good, aside from my press. I did this for a while once a week, then for the past 3 months I've been doing it 3 times a week, and 3 times a week running.
post #7 of 37
Are you doing 5 sets across (same weight) or ramping?

Trying to keep it simple, I'd limit the benching to 3x5 every other workout, and deload the weight 10%. Then I'd go for max reps on the last set, adding weight in small increments (2.5 to 5lbs) whenever I could get at least 5 reps on the last set. Deload 10% again whenever the last set goes below 5 reps.

Should be able to get some more linear progress like this before having to delve into more complicated programming like medium-light-heavy or volume-recovery-intensity.
post #8 of 37
Do squats, seriously. Your bench will go up.
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by stickshift View Post

Do squats, seriously. Your bench will go up.

He's already doing squats. Squats are not magic, I have a good squat and a shit bench.



I'd take a video of your form, theres probably something you can fix. Also if your not already doing them, do rows.
post #10 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbaquiran View Post

Are you doing 5 sets across (same weight) or ramping?
Trying to keep it simple, I'd limit the benching to 3x5 every other workout, and deload the weight 10%. Then I'd go for max reps on the last set, adding weight in small increments (2.5 to 5lbs) whenever I could get at least 5 reps on the last set. Deload 10% again whenever the last set goes below 5 reps.
Should be able to get some more linear progress like this before having to delve into more complicated programming like medium-light-heavy or volume-recovery-intensity.

thanks. I might try that. I've been basically doing the oposite - adding weight, then if I can't do 5 reps, taking off about 10%. I had considered doing it the other way.

I have also thought about doing bench only once a week, and doing various other pec and tricep excersizes once a week. all of this is basically just a temporary thing to build up my bench, once I get to where I want to be I'll go back to me normal ruitine.

any other suggestions?
post #11 of 37
Where are you weak in the press? Off the chest or at the lockout? Are you moving the bar pretty fast or is it a slow movement. Based on your other numbers im guessing your bench is pretty high and your probably past the point of progressive overload and wave progression would probably work better for you benching a fairly low amount. That or you could go the opposite and run smolov jr for bench press and bench like 4 times a week, which will definitely work, but smolov programs are torture.
post #12 of 37
What is your 1rm on flat bench press anyway?

I do not recommend smolov jr. for bench. You will be killing your elbow joints and regret that you did. That program was designed for squats, anyway.

I also think working out the chest once a week is a good idea. You can try lifting in the 70-75% of 1rm zone, and doing 6-10 reps per set and several sets. Honestly the biggest influence on how much I can bench in a given day is how well I ate before the workout. Make sure your nutrition is consistently tops.
post #13 of 37
My friend did smolov jr and thought it wasn't too bad, its an easier version of smolov, and is often recommended for the bench press. If he just wants to raise his 1rm the 70-75% range probably won't raise it. Probably better working at 85%-95% range for lower reps.
post #14 of 37
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but you'd be surprised.
post #15 of 37
Am not aware of any high level power lifting programs which focus on training at such low weights. There are however many, including the very well known westside program, which trains max effort at very high weight around 95% 1rm.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Health & Body
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Health & Body › improving bench press