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Old 05-19-2014, 09:26 AM   #1
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Default Ideas on how to jumpstart my bench

Somehow I managed to do a 10 week strength cycle that gained me 40lb on my no belt, no wrap squat and also lead to new all-time raw PRs for both deadlift and squat without gaining a single lb on my bench. I have some theories as to why I've had limited progress, but it's really hard to explain no progress at all, especially when you consider that I also gained almost 20lb on the scale.

I've already got a lot to work on, such as nailing down my bench form (I train in a few different gyms and it's a PITA to be constantly switching between benches that are different heights, have different rack heights, and benches that might be slippery or grippy), but I also think I need to do something a little extreme to get my pushing strength moving again. I've learned in the past that while technique helps, it can't replace pure brute force, and that's what I don't have.

My first thought was to run Smolov Jr. But my pecs are source of frustration. They get sore, they stay sore, and it takes forever for the doms to fade. It's downright painful to attempt to train again when they're still sore, so any attempt at increased frequency often leds to fruitless, if not downright painful results.

Then I thought that maybe I should run Smolov Jr. for another pressing movement, like OHP. My OHP has never been great, and maybe giving my shoulders and triceps a kick in the pants is what my bench needs.

But THEN I thought about the fact the my shoulers don't like OHPs very much, so maybe I should just try some extremely high frequency shoulder and triceps focussed training for a while...

And on and on it goes.

So, with deep frustration in heart, I open myself to you all. I'm planning to compete in single ply equipment in November, and if I'm not handling 315+ raw by the time I get back into a shirt I'm going to have a hell of a time touching with something light enough to lock out.

What do you think I should do?
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:49 AM   #2
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Questions for you:

1. What is your current raw bench max?
2. Where do you fail on the bench press (heavy single)?
3. What did you do for the previous ten weeks? Specifically, how often were you benching heavy, squatting heavy, and deadlifting heavy? 1x per week each, 2x per week for each?
4. Can you post video of a relatively heavy bench press?
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:08 AM   #3
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Stop all the volume, focus on quality reps over quantity.

Bench 1 time a week and have another day for aux related stuff.

Dial form in to where it is perfect.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afraziaaaa View Post
Questions for you:

1. What is your current raw bench max?
I'm utterly stuck at 300
2. Where do you fail on the bench press (heavy single)?
A few inches up. I also can't grind, at all. If the bar starts to stop, I'm done.
3. What did you do for the previous ten weeks? Specifically, how often were you benching heavy, squatting heavy, and deadlifting heavy? 1x per week each, 2x per week for each?
I've motsly been alternating heavy days and volume days. Each of these is done once a week.
4. Can you post video of a relatively heavy bench press?
I'll see if I can get one this week.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_Byrd View Post
Stop all the volume, focus on quality reps over quantity.

Bench 1 time a week and have another day for aux related stuff.

Dial form in to where it is perfect.
I was really hoping you would comment, but your response is very different from what I expected. I've been getting the feeling lately that I've been SO fucussed on perfecting my form that I'm not putting enough effort into really just getting stronger. I thought by upping the volume that would help me get back to basics.

I'm also a bit concerned about my form. The form that lets me lift the most is to essentially recreate a shirted bench by tucking my elbows as much as humanly possible and touching on the upper belly. While this lets me lift the most, it doesn't feel very good on my bad left shoulder. The injury happened when I was performing one of these super-tucked benches with maximal weights, so every time I bench like that it kind of freaks me out. I was really hoping to bring my touch higher onto my chest so my rotator cuff and front delt wouldn't have to take all the stress they do when I tuck hard.
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:59 AM   #6
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I agree with JB. Too much volume. Bench 1x per week. I would also cut the deadlifting down to 1x per week as well. You can alternate light an heavy weeks if you want. Smolov Jr. Is probably a bad idea right now. You're not recovering.

Auxiliary stuff should be pec and lat focused in my opinion given that you are weak off the chest.

I am also a tucked belly-bencher. A caveat to this is tht I have a pretty good arch. I take the weight out of the rack a bit further and hold it in my lats, start the eccentric with a tuck and progressively tighten the lats. I try to press up in a straight line if I can, or close to it. This technique places very little stress on my shoulders. Your mileage may vary!

Video will help us diagnose you as far as form.
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Last edited by afraziaaaa; 05-19-2014 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:08 PM   #7
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Well ok. It's settled then. The only question left is when and how to integrate my shirt training before my meet, but I've got a couple months before I need to think about that.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier View Post
I was really hoping you would comment, but your response is very different from what I expected. I've been getting the feeling lately that I've been SO fucussed on perfecting my form that I'm not putting enough effort into really just getting stronger. I thought by upping the volume that would help me get back to basics.

I'm also a bit concerned about my form. The form that lets me lift the most is to essentially recreate a shirted bench by tucking my elbows as much as humanly possible and touching on the upper belly. While this lets me lift the most, it doesn't feel very good on my bad left shoulder. The injury happened when I was performing one of these super-tucked benches with maximal weights, so every time I bench like that it kind of freaks me out. I was really hoping to bring my touch higher onto my chest so my rotator cuff and front delt wouldn't have to take all the stress they do when I tuck hard.
PM me your number. Ill give you a call one night and we can bounce around some ideas. I live under the less is more principle. A few work sets, a few specific aux sets, rest, repeat.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:17 PM   #9
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I fight my bench also..

When you say "bench 1 time per week" are you talking mostly heavy single type work?
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyremn View Post
I fight my bench also..

When you say "bench 1 time per week" are you talking mostly heavy single type work?
Nope, mostly 2-5 rep ranges, singles towards the end to peak. If you do it right the first time you wont have to keep going back

I say that jokingly, frequency training works. I do feel once you reach a certain level (Varies person to person) then it is not as effective as a day pre movement. The great variable here is supplement use. Guys who can train frequency at an elite/pro level are typically on enough gear to kill a small cow.
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