Bench Press -troubleshoot
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Author:  Dub [ Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Bench Press -troubleshoot

Okay, if anyone has read my logs, you know I've had problems with the barbell bench press as of late. See here, these are the results from bench from 5 weeks time:
22nd January: 70kg 3x5
29th January: 72.5kg 4/3/2
5th February: 72.5kg 2x1
9th February: 72.5kg 3x3
19th February: 70kg 4/3/3

The program has been 3x5 since the start of January, and I'm also doing Dead Bench as an assisting exercise. The last 1RM was 75kg at the end of December. So there has been progress, but now it has seriously stalled, even decreased a bit. I was thinking I've reached the end at linear progressing. The current weight is very near my own bodyweight and the former PR, so I quess the progress is due to get slower. Especially when I haven't changed much anything, not reps nor sets. I included lots of chin-ups at the start of february, but that can't be it?

It's still very frustrating, because the weight is really getting harder and heavier, it started at the weird workout of 5th february. I thought it was just a bad workout, but it seems it's my bench performance that has gotten worse. My technique is also lacking. The few last weeks my butt has risen far off the seat, there is not much tightness. Just when I actually got the technique going with harder weights. The failures usually happen at the bottom or more usually somewhere midway up.
What has come up lately, is some issues with my right side. Today it was clear even in the warm ups, and my training partner noted that it was visible and notable in the worksets also. My right pec loses almost all strength at the bottom, or a bit after the lift off. It cannot move the bar. There is no pain, no discomfort. It just feels like the muscle inactivates or goes to maintenance to hold the bar on the same spot. I quess there is some tightness near the pectoralis major. About in the middle of the muscle. What can cause this?

I have figured some sort of a battleplan, but I'm still relying here for help and tips. I thought I would take a deload next week, with 50% weights, and then try the 70kg again. If it won't work, I thought I would change the exercise to either incline/decline or dumbell variation. But what can I do with the right pec? Should I just build it within the exercise, or asses some soft tissue work/stretching?

For other possible reasons why bench sucks:
- Messed up sleeping pattern (Weekdays and weekends are opposites in sleeping times)
- early workout (also low nutrition at this point)
- Lots of other exercise (roughly 10 to 14 hours a week)

Might I add that every other lift is doing okay. Any ideas? Tips? Experiences?

Author:  robertscott [ Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

fix your set up. Go to elitefts.com and watch the entire "So You Think You Can Bench?" series, then watch it again. That on its own will make a difference.

Also, switch to a mix of incline barbell and flat dumbell pressing for a month. When you come back to the bench you'll be stronger. Trust me.

Other than that, don't stress out about it. Some lifts are always going to progress slower than others. There's a million different reasons why it could happen. If everything else is improving, then you're still getting stronger. Don't let 1 lift get you down.

Author:  Oscar_Actuary [ Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

ramping sets
mixing reps / sets over a few weeks
sticking in some higher volume bench work
skull crushers

just some stuff I've done with everything to help break thru. Mind you, I'm not benching near my BW yet.. well mayber near my LBM weight, hmm.

Author:  Jungledoc [ Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

I'd say that you need to look at your overall template. Where in your training week does the bench fall? How heavy is the workout before? What else are you doing in the same workout? Where does bench fall in that workout? I'm guessing that you're doing something else in your routine that is affecting your bench. Feel free to post your whole template, but If you just start looking at the whole context, I'm sure you can figure it out.

Author:  hoosegow [ Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

Deload a week or two. Drop 10% on your bench and increase like you were. Eat a lot.

Author:  Dub [ Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

Thanks for the advice and tips. I'm going to deload for a week. After that I'll try with lower weights and see how the bench handles.
If it doesn't work, I'll go with roberts advice on dumbell benching. I'll definately check and study my set-up and form. Maybe even film it soon.

Doc, it would be weird to blame the template. I've been using this same template for 10 weeks now, and the only add I've done has been the Chin-ups. I'm now doing chins 3xweek compared to old once a week method. That can't be it? Can it? I mean, it does affect on lats, biceps and shoulders, but could it be wrecking my intensive benching?

The Benching is the last workout of the week. My other main lifts are:
Day 1: Box Squat & Deadlift
Day 2: Squat & Overhead Press
Day 3: Bench Press & Rows/chin-ups.
One thing that comes into mind is the day I do benching. It's usually saturday or sunday. And that means my sleeping patterns are totally messed up due to work. That'll cause some tiredness. Also I eat less on the weekend, mainly because I eat one less meal on the day. It didn't matter before, so it's weird it has taken it's toll right now.

Author:  hoosegow [ Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

No, not weird. You are probably on the tail end of your newbie gains. That kind of stuff affects you the more you progress. You may want to try and swith your overhead press and bench days - it depends on your rest/work cycle. I would want maximum time between them.

Author:  Jungledoc [ Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

Most of the time it's not just one thing affecting you. You have a lot of things adding to over-all fatigue, and some factors adding specifically to the fatigue of the muscles involved in that lift. Then you have several factors adding (or taking away from) rest and recovery. It's usually a matter of the balance shifting, sometimes subtlety. Like Hoose said, it could be that moving bench to a day after 2 days rest may make a big difference. The factors that you brought up of sleep and diet could be a factor as well.

The deload may help a lot, and you may need to start working some sort of deload into your overall plan. Since I'm not locked into certain days of the week for my lifting, I can easily insert an extra rest day here or there as needed. It could be that for you, shifting bench to another day, or working on better recovery may do the trick for you.

Author:  robertscott [ Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

bench first in the week

Author:  Jungledoc [ Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

Yes, but define your "week" by the pattern of rest and work, not by the calender. The day when you're rested is the first day of the week.

Author:  robertscott [ Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

Jungledoc wrote:
Yes, but define your "week" by the pattern of rest and work, not by the calender. The day when you're rested is the first day of the week.


Author:  stuward [ Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

I makes sense to me. Just think of it as a cycle that may or may not start on Monday.

Author:  robertscott [ Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

yeah I guess. Just love to type that upside down question mark...

Author:  Jungledoc [ Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

Well, for a person who lifts Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, the best day for the lift that they intend to put the most into, or that is for them the most demanding, is Saturday--that's the start of their lifting week.

Author:  NightFaLL [ Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bench Press -troubleshoot

Where's the volume at?

At some point, you're always going to peak doing a purely strength routine. You must have muscle to produce force and that low of volume isn't going to produce a whole lot of muscle unless you're eating so much that you're getting fat. :P

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