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 Post subject: Bench Press woes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:45 pm 
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Apprentice
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So I recently started bench pressing. I've done different kinds of excercises and I'm pretty advanced in terms of those. Explosive pushups, dips, handstand pushups, elevated pushups, etc.

Now when I first benched about a month ago, I could do about 6 reps of 135. Today, I can push out maybe 12 reps of 135. Each rep is all the way down until the bar touches my chest.

I would like to know what is the most effective method of increasing ones max bench. I'm currently doing 3 sets of 10 reps of 135 with perfect form. My buddy, who is similar to me, is doing 1 set of 10 at 135, 1 set of 7 at 145, and 1 set of 5 at 155. Those are with okay form as the bar goes down about 5-6 inches from his chest.

What method would you suggest?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:09 pm 
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Member
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Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 9:41 pm
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Location: Davis, California
In the short term, if you want to do a 1 rep max, you should be practicing those weights. Do singles with big weights.

Now if you just started benching I would gradually ease down into that. Assuming most of your training has been done with higher reps (greater than 8) I would try 3x6 and then maybe 4x4 then 6x3 and then maybe some singles as 3-6 week cycles.

Depending on how each phase goes, you can determine what you should do for your next phase. It is good to have a long term plan but also be able to adjust in the short term, if something goes off course.

I think training with fewer reps and higher weights is going to really help your form because from a technical standpoint, you have less error with the bigger weights because everything has to be right on to get the reps.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:42 pm 
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Apprentice
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My purpose is mainly to gain strength and I figure aiming for a high 1 rep max would be the best route.

For higher weight, I assume that I should maintain perfect form. There's a world of difference between going all the way not. I figure this is one of my weaknesses. How can I work on this?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:31 am 
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Deific Wizard of Sagacity
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Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:19 pm
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Location: Pennsylvania
Always use good form and lower the bar all the way down to your chest. Also, for heavy benching keep you feet planted firmly on the floor, not up on the bench. This will improve your ballance. Finally, you may want to try the powerlifting variation of the bench press, which you can find on the exercise description section of this sight.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:02 am 
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Deific Wizard of Sagacity
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Location: Pennsylvania
Also, keep your butt on the bench. If your butt comes off the bench at any time durring the lift your cheating.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:20 am 
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n00b
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Location: Centerville, UT
Hey I've got bench press woes of a different sort... I hate starting a new thread every time so I figured I'd post my question here.

I've been working on my bench for the last month and a half and I've gotten up to 8 reps at 145 lbs. I want to keep progressing but the last week or so my left shoulder has been bothering me. My older brother warned me that it runs in the family... it feels like I'm pinching something in my shoulder whenever I lower the bar. I think it might be Infraspinatus Weakness, or an injury resulting from it.

So my question is, what should I do about it so I can continue improving my bench press? Can I continue doing the bench press, or should I just go lighter on it for awhile, or should I stop benching altogether until it heals? Is there some other chest exercise I can do instead in the meantime? Should I do rotator cuff exercises like External Rotation to strengthen the Infraspinatus in the meantime, or should I wait and let it heal first?

Let me know what you guys think. Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:23 pm 
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In Memoriam: TimD
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Location: Va Beach, Va
Well, it sounds like you have some impingements up in your shoulder area. I know everyone wants a big bench, but it really isn't all that shoulder friendly. Here's what I would recommend (have done it myself), is to work your rotators, as part of a warm up every session. Doesn't have to be heavy at all, light loosens things up. As to workouts, I would (and have) take care to keep things in balance as far as the shoulder girdle goes. Vert pull, vertical push, horizontal push and horizontal pull. Balance and keeping the rotators happy are key here. Also, I find that the grip required for a Barbell BP isn't really that natural. I'd advise getting DB's and using a semi-supinated grip, that is palms facing each other. Much easier on the shoulders. Work on this, dump the BB bench for a while, then come back to it, but start easy and definately don't overdo things. I rarely train in a commercial gym, but it kills me every time I go into one, everyone is benching and curling, and if you're going to be serious about this stuff, keep it balanced. The BP is definately not the best of exercises. I can understand PL types doing them, a they are a conteste lift, and back in the day when OL had the clean and press, we used it to shore up the overhead pressing, but IMO, P bar dips with a semi supinated grip and DB benche, same grip, are probably better for chest development anyway.
Tim


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:15 pm 
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n00b
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Location: Centerville, UT
Thanks TimD, I think I'll take your advice and switch to DB bench with the semi-supinated grip for awhile.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:36 pm 
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In Memoriam: TimD
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Hi PharmBoy84. Sounds like a good start, just don't forget the other balancing moves. one note on P bar dips if you decide to try them. I think of dips and chins as being the upper body equivalent to the lower body squats or deadlifts, but when doing dips, keep it under control when going down, you don't want to go too low and jam down in there. You could very easily ruin your shoulders that way. Ease down into a bottom position, and don't go any further than what is comfortable. The majority of peeps I've talked to that say P bar dips are bad used no control and went slam bang too deep. Depth will come in time. Just a word of forewarning.
Tim


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:36 am 
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Apprentice
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TimD,

I find that dips work my triceps far more than they work my chest.

In terms of chest development, do you do dips with the elbows flaring outwards?

Also, just curious, how many dips can you do?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:21 am 
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In Memoriam: TimD
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Hi VOK. I usuallay do my dips leaning forward and arms flared a bit. As to how many, in the neighborhood of 40 at one shot. I usually take one of my dog's leashes , run it through weight plates and strap it on around my waist because they are a bit too easy for me. I usually strap on around 75 lbs.I just find that they are far more shoulder friendly than BB BP's. My chest has never been a hard thing for me to develope. Genetics, I guess, and when I started out way back when, the BP wasn't the "king" that it is now, and I really never concentrated on it until I did some PL contests. I did some early on to shore p my overhead stuff, but that was about it.


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