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Old 05-20-2012, 05:46 AM   #611
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Originally Posted by Kuytrider View Post
How would one work on weakness in the lower part of the bench with no spotter?
I think if you fail a raw bench at the bottom it's because you didn't stay tight enough. Perhaps the:
  • Chest flattened out
  • Upper back flattened out
  • Lats didn't stay flared
  • Elbows splayed out
  • Lost your leg drive

Or you don't know how to bench to take advantage of the above points. If you can maintain the above positions you shouldn't really fail at the bottom, it would be closer to the mid-point. Once you're confident that you can actually Bench in a way which utilises the above list of points there are further ways in which you can strengthen those muscle groups.

Supramaximal (above your max) weights are enable you to practice that body position with heavier weights. This could be in the form of board work, reverse band work or slingshot work or even a combination of the above. For me I regularly handle 180kg+ in training and have on occasion done 220kg, so being able to manhandle 140 raw isn't a big deal for me because it usually feels pretty light in my hands.

Paused work is an excellent test of how well you can keep tight under tension. It is a brute force approach to building the stabilisation needed for heavy weights. Paused work is great, paused work for higher reps is even better as your stabilisation muscles are under tension for longer. Paused work for higher reps with feet on the bench is perhaps the roughest form of benching to improve your upper back/shoulder/elbow stabilisation for the Bench. If you can keep a good back position with no help from your legs, for a high rep set and with a decent weight you are making some strides towards increasing stabilisation.

Strengthening the upper back is a massively important area. The ability to keep your upper back/thoracic region arched and shoulders shrugged back is absolutely vital to a raw bench. There are disagreements about whether elbows should be tucked or lats used comparing raw and equipped benches, but there is NEVER any argument about upper back involvement in a raw bench. It HAS to stay tight and shrugged back and your thoracic back HAS to stay arched. If you lose either of these positions or you never took advantage of them in the first place you WILL limit your benching potential.

In further addition strong legs/back will provide a strong base of support for your press. If you can't maintain your leg drive, and the position of driving your upper back into the bench then you'll lose tightness as well. All of the above points usually interconnect, that is if something fails then something else usually follows suit, if your upper back flattens out for example usually the chest caves in and the leg drive is mute. So it's absolutely vital that you practice the Bench over and over so you can get it right every time, in addition to that employing assistance to strengthen areas listed above will help only if you actually remember to use them during the lift.

This is only really a start in terms of bench advice and things I would do/have done to fix my own lagging bench. I could go on about assistance exercises, paused work, specific chest work, strengthening a particular groove etc.

But for now, hope that helps.

Last edited by Fazc; 05-20-2012 at 05:49 AM.
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:57 AM   #612
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That post should be stickied in a thread by itself for anyone who wants to bench properly.

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Old 05-20-2012, 09:42 AM   #613
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That post should be stickied in a thread by itself for anyone who wants to bench properly.

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Old 05-22-2012, 09:19 AM   #614
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Some good reading to come back to. Nothing to report really, just checking in and spilling some thoughts. Taking it easy this week, might make it to the gym some days but I'd rather just rest and stretch and come back strong at the end of the week.

Been reading quite a bit and trying to figure out what to do. Had 2 thoughts really, 3 fullbody sessions taking advantage of increased frequency and variations or basically an upper lower split. I'm leaning towards the upper lower, something like;

Mon: Main Squat, Deadlift Variation
Wed: Main Bench, Overhead, Shrugs
Fri:Main Deadlift, Squat Variation
Sat: Overload Bench, Triceps, Rows

Simple setup really. Also been reading a lot about the reactive training systems stuff and like some of the ideas. Tempted to try some stuff out, it seems to me to be a good way into training through feel and for how any given day can differ whilst avoiding percentages. Could do with the book really to get a better idea but we'll see, break over .
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:50 PM   #615
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Simple setup really. Also been reading a lot about the reactive training systems stuff and like some of the ideas.
Brawny from the forum uses his RPE number system, or whatever it's called.

Setup looks good.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:13 PM   #616
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Plan looks good so far J, is there going to be any assistance work or just the main lifts and one variation?
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:05 AM   #617
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Program looks good JT. You'll crush it no doubt.

Just saw that bench. Yep it's a cruel lift. You were close too. With a spotter handing off you'd have go it for sure. But forget about it. You'll get it next time.

Just a thought, but it seems like you're not getting a whole lotta leg push into your bench press. One thing that helped me was to stay up on my heels, butt off the bench, when I unracked the bar. Then I stayed on my heels pushing up the bench while I lowered my butt to just touching the bench. Really, just barely in contact, but my quads tight and pushing all the time. Then I benched and it does give you a boost. Or did for me anyway. And push from your heels is crucial, tough to tell but it looks like you're on your toes a bit.

Anyway, after doing that for a couple weeks, I can now do it without my butt off the bench to unrack. Doing it that way to start just taught me what it felt like to push up the bench. Plus it helps unrack it anyway which is tough enough benching by yourself.

Hope that helps. You're probably sick of bench advice by now, so I'll shut up!
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Everything competes for recovery so more assistance is not always the best idea. miked96
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:16 AM   #618
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Routine looks good. Crush it.

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Old 05-25-2012, 06:43 AM   #619
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Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Brawny from the forum uses his RPE number system, or whatever it's called.

Setup looks good.
Thanks BtB, checked out his log, hopefully he doesn't mind me asking a few questions.

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Plan looks good so far J, is there going to be any assistance work or just the main lifts and one variation?
Thanks mab, still not sure on it, that's the basics and I'll play around with assistance, not a lot of time to think on it for for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Program looks good JT. You'll crush it no doubt.

Just saw that bench. Yep it's a cruel lift. You were close too. With a spotter handing off you'd have go it for sure. But forget about it. You'll get it next time.

Just a thought, but it seems like you're not getting a whole lotta leg push into your bench press. One thing that helped me was to stay up on my heels, butt off the bench, when I unracked the bar. Then I stayed on my heels pushing up the bench while I lowered my butt to just touching the bench. Really, just barely in contact, but my quads tight and pushing all the time. Then I benched and it does give you a boost. Or did for me anyway. And push from your heels is crucial, tough to tell but it looks like you're on your toes a bit.

Anyway, after doing that for a couple weeks, I can now do it without my butt off the bench to unrack. Doing it that way to start just taught me what it felt like to push up the bench. Plus it helps unrack it anyway which is tough enough benching by yourself.

Hope that helps. You're probably sick of bench advice by now, so I'll shut up!
Thanks Mike, might be sick of benching but I'm always open to advice and you're right, my leg drive sucks. Funny you mention the ass up unrack, I read about it a few days ago and have been meaning to try it.

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Routine looks good. Crush it.

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Yeah buddy! Can't wait any longer so starting back tomorrow, feeling fresh and hopefully strong.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:17 AM   #620
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26/05/12 - Squat & Deadlift

Squats
60kg x 5, 100kg x 3, 120kg x 2

140kg x 3 @8.5
140kg x 3 @9
140kg x 3 @9.5
140kg x 3 @9.5

14" Rack Pull
60kg x 5, 100kg x 3

140kg x 3 @8
140kg x 3 @8
140kg x 3 @8
140kg x 3 @8.5
140kg x 3 @9
140kg x 3 @9

Goblet Squat/Sidebends
42kg/25kg x 10/15, 10/15, 10/15

So today took a lot more out of me than expected. Squats felt heavy but didn't look so bad. First time with rack pulls, I was expecting to be able to shift some weight with these but they felt worse than from the floor!? Went beltless with them so that might have made a difference and it was a first time so we'll see.

First time with so much lower body volume in a long time and conditioning is down, even with 3 reps I was huffing and puffing to finish. Legs are dead as a result.

You'll notice the RPE's, giving them a run. The hardest part is being honest, might have sold myself short on some stuff today but I'll see how they go and accuracy is sure to improve over time.

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