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 Post subject: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:27 pm 
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Hi all,

So i've been lifting since the end of Feb this year, doing 2 day push/pull splits, 4 days a week (if that makes sense). So push on Sun and Wed, and pull on Mon and Thurs. I have seen great improvements in both weight and reps with nearly all my exercises, except for my chest. I do a barbell flat bench, normally accompanied with either a decline or incline dumbbell bench.

I have never had a very strong chest, and started benching 115 back in Feb. 2 months later i'm still benching the same weight. For comparison i started squatting 115 lbs 3 sets of 6, to squatting 145 lbs 3 sets of 10-12.

I started lifting 3 sets of max 6 reps, and 2 weeks ago switched to 3 sets of 8-12 reps, just to mix things up a little.

Any suggestions why i'm not noticing any difference with my bench/chest?


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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:50 pm 
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How's your Rows coming along ?

How well braced/tight are you in your Bench set up?


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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:34 pm 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
How's your Rows coming along ?

How well braced/tight are you in your Bench set up?


My rows have gotten better since starting, but what do you mean by bench setup?


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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:43 am 
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HealthyJay wrote:
Oscar_Actuary wrote:
How's your Rows coming along ?

How well braced/tight are you in your Bench set up?


My rows have gotten better since starting, but what do you mean by bench setup?


Setup would be your starting position and (among other technical things) how stable you are on the bench (Chest, Back, Hips, Legs, Position of the feet ...), when you do the bench press.

Another thing... did you really start with the same weight on Squats and Bench Press? When I started, I used a lower starting weight for Bench Press, Row and Press than the starting weight for Squats and Deadlifts. So when you started to high on weight, you could just do a setback with the weight and work up again.


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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:53 am 
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Crow wrote:
Another thing... did you really start with the same weight on Squats and Bench Press? When I started, I used a lower starting weight for Bench Press, Row and Press than the starting weight for Squats and Deadlifts. So when you started to high on weight, you could just do a setback with the weight and work up again.


I rechecked my old lifting notes and i actually started lifting 125 for squats, and 105 for bench. Now i am up to 145 for squat, but still 105 for bench. So i had my numbers for weight wrong, but my lifting weight still went up for squats but stayed the same for bench.

As for my bench setup, i know it's kindof hard to cratique without seeing me do one, but i have my feet on the floor (not bench), bar lined up with my eyes before i lift it off, then bring it down to about 2 inches above my chest, and press it up till my arms are straight.

Any help anyone???


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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:26 pm 
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HealthyJay wrote:
Crow wrote:
Another thing... did you really start with the same weight on Squats and Bench Press? When I started, I used a lower starting weight for Bench Press, Row and Press than the starting weight for Squats and Deadlifts. So when you started to high on weight, you could just do a setback with the weight and work up again.


I rechecked my old lifting notes and i actually started lifting 125 for squats, and 105 for bench. Now i am up to 145 for squat, but still 105 for bench. So i had my numbers for weight wrong, but my lifting weight still went up for squats but stayed the same for bench.


I started with 45lb for Bench Press (Row and Press) and about 90lb (rounded because I normally calculate with kg) with Squats. Fortunately I was able to improve weight (5lb) each session for the Bench Press and now I do 115 lb (and 180 lb with Squats)... I`m sure I will have to repeat a weight with the Bench Press sooner or later (probably sooner) but starting so low has worked so far for me... But I also recognized that I can`t improve every exercise on every session (anymore) of course. Now I try to listen to what my body tells me and improve weight according to that...

Just to be sure... Is it the only exercise where you don`t improve? Do you get enough rest (sleep) and enough to eat?

Quote:
As for my bench setup, i know it's kindof hard to cratique without seeing me do one, but i have my feet on the floor (not bench), bar lined up with my eyes before i lift it off, then bring it down to about 2 inches above my chest, and press it up till my arms are straight.

Any help anyone???


I will leave that to the experts... but why do you stop 2 inches above your chest? I try to (and do) touch "my t-shirt" on every rep...


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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Where does your rep fail on the bench press? It migth give us a clue on what's the weakness.
If we could get some film material stuff would be even better. Rigth now, there is absolutely no ground to surely say what is causing your stalling.

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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:40 pm 
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Crow wrote:
I started with 45lb for Bench Press (Row and Press) and about 90lb (rounded because I normally calculate with kg) with Squats. Fortunately I was able to improve weight (5lb) each session for the Bench Press and now I do 115 lb (and 180 lb with Squats)... I`m sure I will have to repeat a weight with the Bench Press sooner or later (probably sooner) but starting so low has worked so far for me... But I also recognized that I can`t improve every exercise on every session (anymore) of course. Now I try to listen to what my body tells me and improve weight according to that...


So are you saying I should drop my weight WAY down for the bench and add 5 lbs each time i do my Push exercises? I've actually never heard of that...If it will help i"m all for it! Does it work the muscles in a different way?

Crow wrote:
Just to be sure... Is it the only exercise where you don`t improve? Do you get enough rest (sleep) and enough to eat?


I will leave that to the experts... but why do you stop 2 inches above your chest? I try to (and do) touch "my t-shirt" on every rep...


Yea, bench is really the only exercise I haven't improved on. I start each of my Pull sessions with body weight chinups, and I'm only able to do 3 sets of 6 now, but even that is an improvement from the 3 sets of 4 I started out doing.

Sleep has always been hard for me to get in normal amounts...Might be the working 3 jobs plus trying to work out haha. But even if i'm not getting enough sleep every night, i don't think that would really explain why i've gotten better in pretty much everything EXCEPT bench specifically.

I've heard to stop an inch or two above your chest when benching so your muscles don't have a chance to relax while the bar is on your chest, and stay "fired".

Dub wrote:
Where does your rep fail on the bench press? It migth give us a clue on what's the weakness.
If we could get some film material stuff would be even better. Rigth now, there is absolutely no ground to surely say what is causing your stalling.


I'll work on trying to get some film of me bench pressing, but in the mean time, my bench fails while i'm pressing it up maybe between 6-12 inches above my chest. Kindof a guess in terms of the inches, but the hardest part is before I get half way through the press.

One thing i think is important to mention is that i'm working out without a spotter, so i could probably push out one or two more reps if i knew there was someone to catch it if it starts slipping. But even considering that, after about 2 months of lifting, i would think that i would be able to lift more...


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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:03 am 
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Whatever you have heard about benching to your chest, to put it bluntly, is nonsense. Lower the bar to your chest, don't relax, and then explode.

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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Ok so what should my next step be to start showing gains for bench?


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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:59 am 
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Start again with just the bar, this time lowering it all the way down to your chest. Add 5lbs to the bar each bench session until you stall. I would also bench first then do chins.

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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:38 am 
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The bench dying some inches after the hole can also be about loss of strength. You manage to use your spindel/"rubber band effect" forces and power in the beginning inches, getting it from the chest. But when you have to switch gears so to speak, your bench fails.

One thing I would suggest that you try paused reps. With a BB or a DB, have a short pause (1-5 seconds, you can try different pauses) at the bottom position, then blast yourself up. That for 3-6 reps or thereabouts as an accessorial exercise could do well with your efforts. Just be sure to lower the weigths, as this variation is way harder than a normal bench press.

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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:04 pm 
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I'd hold off on the pause reps until you're more experienced.

More about technique. Your body should be tight throughout every rep. Your abs should be tight like someone was about to slug you in the belly, and your legs, hips and chest should be tight as well. Your feet should be tight against the floor, pushing down and away from you. Your shoulder blades should be pulled together and flat on the bench, and should not move at the top of your movement. The bar should be approximately above your shoulders when at the top--experiment to see where it feels balanced. At the bottom it should touch your chest below your pecs. At the bottom, your upper arms should be about 45 degrees out from the sides of your chest. You should grip the bar at a width that makes your forearms about vertical at the bottom position. That's a lot to adjust to on your own right away, but work on one or two parts of this at a time and practice.

Yeah, you should be starting with very light weight. You should not be struggling at all at the beginning--just practicing form and technique (this is true of any lift). Use an empty bar, do a few reps. Adjust your lock-out point or your touch point (yes, you should actually touch your chest), your grip width, your foot position or whatever. Then do a few more reps. Once you are feeling comfortable, start adding weight. Again, no struggling. If you can do 5 fairly quick easy reps, add 5 pounds. At first you can go up 5 pounds 2 or 3 times per workout, if the bar is not slowing down. Once you reach a weight where the bar slows by the fifth rep, you've found your working weight. That's the weight to use for your 3x5 or 5x3 or whatever you're doing. Then add 5 pounds each workout. If you can't make your planned reps, keep the weight the same for a workout or two. If you can't make your reps within 3 workouts, come back here, and we will argue endlessly as to the best strategy for going forward!

And yes sleep has a BIG impact on this. You should be eating well and sleeping well.

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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:47 pm 
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And push-ups! What many people don't realise is that they are sucking at bench because they have zero foundation, i.e. Suck at push-ups. Master the bodyweigth before the heavy weigth.

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 Post subject: Re: Bench press weight
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 12:36 am 
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HealthyJay wrote:
Crow wrote:
I started with 45lb for Bench Press (Row and Press) and about 90lb (rounded because I normally calculate with kg) with Squats. Fortunately I was able to improve weight (5lb) each session for the Bench Press and now I do 115 lb (and 180 lb with Squats)... I`m sure I will have to repeat a weight with the Bench Press sooner or later (probably sooner) but starting so low has worked so far for me... But I also recognized that I can`t improve every exercise on every session (anymore) of course. Now I try to listen to what my body tells me and improve weight according to that...


So are you saying I should drop my weight WAY down for the bench and add 5 lbs each time i do my Push exercises? I've actually never heard of that...If it will help i"m all for it! Does it work the muscles in a different way?...


Jungledoc (and the others) explained that already perfectly well... I`m no expert here, so when in doubt, listen to the others here on this board. :wink: I just had the impression you probably started to high and the overall load of all your exercises might keep you from improving there (besides any technical issues). Edit: It doesn`t work the muscles in a different way, but gives you and your body (the CNS, the Circulary System and your metabolism) a bit more time to adapt without needing too much rest in the beginning.

But, the way I described it, worked well for me and gave me the opportunity to work on the right form and technique in my exercises (and I´m still learning). I recognized rather fast that I have to work harder for improvement on some exercises (in my case the press), when other exercises (like the squat) improved easier (at the moment - I`m a beginner and everything will get hard for me soon).

As I see it, you won`t really lose anything taking the weight back and working on your form in the long run. Good Luck!


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