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Old 07-28-2014, 10:53 AM   #1
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Default Okay....My Bench STINKS!!!

I am officially stuck... I have been using the 5-3-1 method for the past 5 months and have had steady gains in both the Squat & DL. My Bench, however, is stuck. I'm open to suggestions... I'm thinking about going to heavy singles, but I'm worried that the lack of volume will hurt more than it helps.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:09 AM   #2
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I think most issues on bench are technique/tightness related. If possible, get a vid posted up as they are alot of strong benchers here. For example, are you getting leg drive?

Secondly, it could be food related. I think extra food benefits bench the most

Thirdly, looks like time to switch up routines. I wouldn't give up rep work though. Perhaps change your rep ranges, and even week to week, mixing in paused work as well.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Squatter View Post
I think most issues on bench are technique/tightness related. If possible, get a vid posted up as they are alot of strong benchers here. For example, are you getting leg drive?

Secondly, it could be food related. I think extra food benefits bench the most

Thirdly, looks like time to switch up routines. I wouldn't give up rep work though. Perhaps change your rep ranges, and even week to week, mixing in paused work as well.
Yes.


Unless theres a big weakness in the shoulders or tris, you may just need to do some real high reps and shock yourself.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ObxBear View Post
I am officially stuck... I have been using the 5-3-1 method for the past 5 months and have had steady gains in both the Squat & DL. My Bench, however, is stuck. I'm open to suggestions... I'm thinking about going to heavy singles, but I'm worried that the lack of volume will hurt more than it helps.
5/3/1 is a bad program, if your goals are powerlifting. To not make any assumptions, what are your goals (other than an increased bench)?
The reason 5/3/1 isn't particularly good is the lack of volume and lack of frequency. Heck, even the lack of intensity is concerning. I know, I know, there are modifications you can make.
Although I personally think, and many others do as well, that the squat and deadlift benefit from at least 2x week training, it is almost necessary on the bench press.
Start benching 2x per week (or more), start benching for more than 1 top set and <= 5 downsets, and increase your intensity a lot.

Of course, what others have said is also very important. Get a video of your bench up for technique critique, and if all else fails EAT. The bench probably responds the most (in terms of Sq/B/DL) of all the lifts to weight gain.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:13 PM   #5
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I agree with Squatter on technique/tightness. Most issues come down to form. As he has already recommended, post of video of you benching. People will be able to break down your form and make suggestions.

Food could be another as Squatter pointed out. How is the diet?

Maybe since you are 5 months into 5/3/1, try taking a couple steps back. Drop your training number for bench back to Cycle 3 or 4 and work back up. 5 up 2 back is what Wendler recommends anyway.

Switching up routines might work. If you have Wendlers new book "Beyond 5/3/1" I would recommend reading up on Joker Sets and First Set Last. The Joker sets will give you those heavy singles you mentioned. The First Set Last will give you the additional volume that could benefit you. Doing the FSL sets paused would help tremendously.

Do not give up. A lot of us here struggle with bench too. The best thing to do, is just keep hammering away. Eventually you will start chipping it away and before you know it a huge bench PR. PM me if you have any other questions.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:22 PM   #6
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Technique and form often contribute, but I think all too often we fail to look at biomechanics. My bench is horrible, I have had someone working on form and technique with me. I know that my misses of late have all been form related, but that said, my numbers are still lower than others. Why? I have gorrilla length arms. My long arms are a detriment no matter how spot on my form is. I will always have a loooong range of motion. I am finally just learning to accept that this is how God made me. It helps my pulling, hurts my pushing. It just is what it is.
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Old 07-28-2014, 03:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradox View Post
5/3/1 is a bad program, if your goals are powerlifting. To not make any assumptions, what are your goals (other than an increased bench)?
The reason 5/3/1 isn't particularly good is the lack of volume and lack of frequency. Heck, even the lack of intensity is concerning. I know, I know, there are modifications you can make.
Although I personally think, and many others do as well, that the squat and deadlift benefit from at least 2x week training, it is almost necessary on the bench press.
Start benching 2x per week (or more), start benching for more than 1 top set and <= 5 downsets, and increase your intensity a lot.

Of course, what others have said is also very important. Get a video of your bench up for technique critique, and if all else fails EAT. The bench probably responds the most (in terms of Sq/B/DL) of all the lifts to weight gain.
I agree 5/3/1 isnt a great program, but you lost me there. I rarely train anyone more than 1 time a week in any of the big 3. I am a firm believer that if you do it right the first time you want need to do it again.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:45 PM   #8
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I agree 5/3/1 isnt a great program, but you lost me there. I rarely train anyone more than 1 time a week in any of the big 3. I am a firm believer that if you do it right the first time you want need to do it again.
We will obviously agree to disagree here? lol
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:57 PM   #9
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What does a typical bench day look like? It may not necessarily be the program, it could be exercise selection, what are you doing to help your bench? Are you adressing sticking points, weak areas, using bench variations? Also, maybe taking a step back and getting in some rep work in with lighter weight... I'm not experinced as the other guys here but, just throwing out some ideas...
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:17 AM   #10
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Wow, thanks for all the gerat feedback! I will post a video asap and look foward to any suggestions you may have on form. As far as what my goals are, I'm working towards a 400lb bench (with a pause). I'm at 352 right now. I train 5 days a week. Squatting twice a week. Here's what my week looks like:

Mon-Squat
Tue-Shoulders
Wed-Deads
Thur-Front Squats
Fri-Bench
My assistance work on Bench consists of incline and close grip bench along with dips and skull crushers or JM Presses

Thanks again to all who have taken the time to lend a hand!
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