Being a casual lifter over the past couple of years, my chest has always been weak. Ive never been too proud of my bench, frankly it sucks. My max bench has been 70kg (154lbs) I believe, with poor form (flared elbows). I tried 60kg today with improved form (I bring in my elbows about 5 degrees before I lower the weight, spread lats, keep chest up and back tight) and I could only do 4 reps. I feel as if there's no power base at all, no 'sweet spot'. Sometimes I get a good feel of form and I can power through quite happily as if the weight was a piece of cake, but the majority of the time, it's a real struggle to bench that damn bar.
-Bar in the Palm of my hands
-Chest up as much as I can
-Space for a hand to slide through near my lower back
-Shoulder blades pinched
-Shoulders twist 'into place' before unracking
-Unrack with locked arms
-Bring in elbows about 5 degrees so they dont flare out
-Legs wide to support and give a firm base, and even help push weight
-Bring bar down to middle of chest and power back up.
I just don't get it. Ive studied form videos and listend to other people but I just can't seem to get it. It's annoying because I had great powerful energy with Bent over rows after,which also at 60kg, the difference with the row is that I know I can just keep plucking away at it and the weight will increase where as benching, it's either too hard, or too easy (unchallenging) and I feel like I hit a ceiling.
Any tips for a flailing bencher? By the way I do Stronglifts strength program 3x a week. The Bench workout also permits Pressups at the end of the workout (3 sets to failure). I do my pressups very fast and intensely to make sure my triceps are working hard and my chest is getting hit.
My chest looks crap, doesnt even look like I bench I reccon! Everything else is coming along fine.
For someone that can deadlift 120kg (264lb) and front squat 100k (220lb) (hey im only 165) why can I barely manage poor weights with benching
Try static holds. I used to do them once a week. Last Aug 4th I could do 1 static hold at 185 lbs. Oct 18th I did 345 lbs. Oct 26th I did 8 x 185 lbs as close to full range as the power cage would allow.
This video shows the technique.
Last edited by Vick; 04-26-2010 at 07:46 AM.
Maybe push-ups could help you along. I've never been good at bench pressing (or push-ups for that matter), but for the last two months I started to practice push-ups at home in addition to my gym workouts. I've made it a habbit to do ten push-ups each morning after getting out of bed - and throughout the day I try to squeeze in another 2-3 sets. These should be low to mid intensity, so maybe you'll have to start with girl push-ups or angled ones - the idea is that they keep your muscles busy everyday, but not to the degree that you would need recovery/repair from the workout.
I hope this makes sense to you ... I'm not an expert, but I've found that my bench pressing has improved.
I've always thought of trying a set or two everyday, but always thought back to the 'they need recovery!!!' argument. I'd love to hear some more opinions and if anyone does infact incorporate lots of pressups while doing a normal weights program
^ obviously if ten push-ups are a high-intensity exercise for you then you need to lower the intensity. Do the push-ups on a flight of stairs for example and work your way towards the lower steps and ultimately the floor.
-Thumbs should be underneath the bar not wrapped around the bar.This will also keep stress off of your wrist and channel it down your forearm. It might take some practice but eventually it will become second nature. (the bar weight should never be pushing your hand back towards you!)
- Military press, lateral raises on the days you work your chest will also help a lot. Your deltoids are a huge stabalizer and muscle for the bench press. The stronger your shoulders get the easier bench will be. Do these after your bench.
- Don't forget the wider that your arms are the more of your chest (pecs) is getting worked, the closer the more your triceps and delts. Work your way wide to narrow as the wider grip exercises your larger muscles while the inner grip your stabilizers.
- in addition to bench press it is mandatory to do other exercises targetting your chest. Dips and flys are perfect. Decline and incline presses are also. If you do these to failure and consume plenty of protein post you will have dramatic improvement quickly.
-If you are fiercely targetting your chest be sure to give a day rest to your upper body. On these days do plyometrics/squats. The HGH produced by these huge muscle groups will aid your upper body development as well.
-You should consider creatine! The stuff is like cheating to be honest
-keep this thread updated with your progress!
Uh, no. It's called a suicide grip for a reason. Telling a stranger to use it is amazingly dumb.
Originally Posted by TheFastCat
If you are going to do a set every day, then there is a different procedure. That is the application of synaptic facilitation rather than sequential stimulation.
Heavy weights with low volume is used for muscle growth. (sequential stimulation) You need time for the muscles to adapt and grow. Hense the once a week training.
Doing it everyday you reduce your weight to avoid burn out. This is done to improve the nerve endings in the muscles to make them more efficient. This is known as synpatic facilitation.
Try your static hold on a Sunday. Monday and Tuesday become off days. Wed., Thursday and Friday apply lighter weight with repetitions. Saturday off.
Keep in mind any tricep work before the bench press will reduce your success since it will already be fatigued. ( I learned that from experience.)
If you've got a workout partner, do some negatives. They are great for getting over a hump.
Load the bar up with more weight than you know you can press, unrack it. Then slow and controlled lower the bar down very slowly resisting the weight. Then at the bottom have your workout partner help you lift it back up and repeat. These will make you very sore, I would not do them more than once a week, maybe twice once you have adapted properly. But again because of the heavyweight do no do unless you have a partner who knows how to spot you appropriatley.
I agree with you bruce.b. Do not mess around with the chest bench press. You must take it seriously, because you can be seriously injured or even killed. Trust me, I know. I worked out in my home gym for years, and I did the bench press without a spotter. On my last rep, I was too fatigued to get the bar back on the rungs. I was stuck. So, I tried to focus my strength on one side to get it up, and then get the other one. My arm collapsed, and my fingers on my left hand were gouged by the rungs, which caused me to drop the bar. The bar landed right on my head, bounced off, and landed on the back of the bench. Fortunately, I have a thick skull, and I suffered only a bump and scrape on the head. However, I had three fingers that required stitching since the meat was ripped open to the bone.
My advice, is to use good form, complete grip and ALWAYS have a spotter when getting under the bar. I have always had one since (my wife), and I haven't had another incident.