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18M. 6'1


#1

Hello. I am currently 6’1" and 185 pounds. My goal is to get to 200 pounds lean. I also want to eventually compete in powerlifting competitions. And my lifting goals by February are:

405 deadlift
350 squat
205 bench (I know it sucks)

Currently, I have around a 180-185 max bench and I know it sucks, but it is so hard for me to increase. I am adding weight every week to deadlifts and squats and I feel comfortable. But with bench, it’s such a struggle to go from 155 1 X 5 to 160 1 Ã?5 the next week. So any tips on how to increase it?

I have tried the pyramid method, going light and doing burn outs, 5 X 5, 5 Ã? 2/3, etc and I am not getting much improvememt. But I will never give up on the damn bench press, even though I hate it!


#2

We are similar height and weight (although no clue on proportions), so my advice may be slightly useful.

How often do you bench on a weekly basis?

Where do you miss the lift?

Are you eating enough to support linear-style progression?

Are you bothered by any discomfort during the lift? (Shoulder pain, elbow pain, etc.)


#3

[quote]brady888 wrote:
We are similar height and weight (although no clue on proportions), so my advice may be slightly useful.

How often do you bench on a weekly basis?

Where do you miss the lift?

Are you eating enough to support linear-style progression?

Are you bothered by any discomfort during the lift? (Shoulder pain, elbow pain, etc.)

[/quote]

great questions

Also, at 6’1, 185, it’s going to be difficult to be very good at bench, especially if you’re not really really lean. Although I suspect you can be better than you are now.


#4

My bench wasn’t that good either,but it’s finally coming up.I use a westside style of training.Here’s what I do

Accumulation(I prefer 4-5 weeks but you can do it for as long as you wish)

Max effort

Max effort movement for a 5 or 3 rm.I prefer a 5 rm.Use a closer grip that usually.Pick full or close to full rom movements.Mine are close grip bench,cg floor press,cg paused incline,cg pin press
Main accessory.This is a movement to attach your weakness.Mine is triceps so I do high rep dumbbell incline followed by barbell extensions.If it’s your chest you can do dips or dumbbell flat.Go for either a rep pr,a one and 3 set pr or total reps(60 reps for example)
Triceps
Back
Shoulders
Bis

Dynamic effort upper

Dynamic effort bench.Go for 20 sets of 3 of so with 50 %.I really hate it but it has helped my form and put a lot of mass on me.Use a variety of grips
Again hit a weakness
Tris
Back
Shoulder
Bis

Intensification(I’ve done it for 2 weeks but I think 3 is way better)

Max effort upper

Max effort movement.Use your regular grip or one closer to that.It’s ok to you close if you want.Work up to an 1 or 2 rm.If you don’t plan on competing I’d suggest 2 rm,at least for the first 1-2 weeks
Main accessory.Again attack a weakness,but now I prefer attacking it in terms of motor pattern and not muscle,if that makes sense.So if you have a weak lockout mid rom pin press up to a 6 rm the first week,a 3 rm the second and a 3 sets of 2 or 4 of 1 or something like that on the third
Tris
Back
Shoulders
Bis

Dynamic effort upper

Banch press.9 sets of 3.Put bands if you have,if you don’t just go with a heavier weight like 70 % or so
Main accessory.Attack a weakness.Either the weak muscle(heavy extensions) or the motor pattern(I know it’s probably not the right definition but I don’t know how else to say it).Don’t go nuts.For example if you choose board press as an accessory go 3 sets of 6 instead of an 1 all out set of 6
Tris
Back
Shoulder
Bis

You can find way more info here


#5

[quote]stronkfak wrote:
My bench wasn’t that good either,but it’s finally coming up.I use a westside style of training.Here’s what I do

[/quote]

I’m sorry, but could you give a frame of reference here when you say this works for you? What was your bench prior to training this way, what is it now, and how long did it take?


#6

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]stronkfak wrote:
My bench wasn’t that good either,but it’s finally coming up.I use a westside style of training.Here’s what I do

[/quote]

I’m sorry, but could you give a frame of reference here when you say this works for you? What was your bench prior to training this way, what is it now, and how long did it take?[/quote]

I was alternating between a heavy day and a rep day per week.I also had a shoulder day.I was benching 220 lbs x 3 tng or so I think.Now my best is 210 lbs x 5 with a close grip tng.I think it’s 5 months or so I’ve changed my training.Wasn’t keeping a log up until 3 months ago.At first I just had a max effort day where I worked up to a single and a dynamic effort day.Then I found the thread I posted and used the approach I write above.Since then my close grip has gone from a 198 x 4 to a 210 x 5 and my close grip floor press from a 198 x 5 to a 210 x 5.Form remained the same


#7

To answer Flipcollar’s questions before I myself am called out, and to actually give some programming advice as someone who is barely getting to an above average point:

Started benching 70 lbs for 3 half reps at 15ish. Senior year of high school pressed 285 with a magnificent bounce. Have now (age 22) benched 365 with a slightly quick press command in “competition” (unsanctioned meet) at a bodyweight of 182 lbs and 6 ft tall.

Dips are your friend. The more dips I do, especially heavier weight, lower rep sets, the better my bench feels. Rep schemes like 5x5, 8x4, and 6x6 are my favorite.

Lats and upper back are important. With longish arms, I have found (for me, anyway) that a wide bench grip allows for more weight to be moved. However, I find the eccentric portion of the bench can feel really awkward. The more consistent I am with back work (weighted pull-ups, db rows, face pulls, etc.) the more controlled my lowering becomes. I feel better lowering rather quickly instead of slow and methodically, and having a capable back helps control a quick descent.

Overhead pressing doesn’t seem to have much carry over. Overhead pressing work makes my elbows hurt and my hands numb; and the pain plus the accumulated fatigue from extra movements takes away from the frequency I can bench. Lots of strict lateral raises, incline pressing, and mounds of rear delt work make up my shoulder training, and I feel much more “healthy” in my shoulders and arms since abandoning strict overhead barbell pressing.

Also, try to bench twice a week. I like a heavier low volume day with a lighter high volume day. Also, I focus on chest for one day of accessories and shoulders/triceps for accessories on the other. I rarely bench for sets higher than 6 reps (again, seems to aggravate my shoulders) but I push the volume with the accessories that are comfortable.

Here is an example training schedule (although since I have no idea your training age or weakpoints, we can talk tweaks if you come back to the thread). I’ll use the bench numbers you gave as a rough estimate for volume and training weights.

Bench Day 1:

Barbell Bench:
4x6 @135

Dips:
3-5 sets of 6-15 reps with whatever load makes them challenging.

DB Bench or Flies or any other chest focused movement for 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Bench Day Two:

Barbell Bench:
5-8 doubles with 155-165 lbs

Incline BB or DB Press
4-6 sets of 8-15 reps

Close Grip BB Bench or Neutral Grip DB Press
3-5 sets of 10-20 reps

DB Laterals and Face Pulls till you’re shoulders are tired.


#8

Also if you decide to use the style I described there’s one more thing I’d like to add
Treat your max effort days like a competition day.Let’s say you plan to hit a close grip of a 180 x 5.Don’t do
45 x 10
90 x 5
135 x 5
160 x 5
180 x 5

How I like to approach it is I have a number in my mind I wanna hit.Usually it’s something I’ll get for sure.Lets say it’s a 200 close grip for 5 reps( I use this cause it’s around the numbers I use and it’s easier to describe).I’ll do
45 x 20,20 superseted with facepulls
90 x 10 superseted with facupulls
135 x 5
155 x 5
175 x 5
185 x 5
195 x 5
200 x 5 that was easy
205 x 5 that was easy too
210 x 5 Not that hard but I might miss if I go any heavier.Let’s leave it there

You can see that I did 3-4 heavy sets,not just one


#9

[quote]brady888 wrote:
To answer Flipcollar’s questions before I myself am called out, and to actually give some programming advice as someone who is barely getting to an above average point:

Started benching 70 lbs for 3 half reps at 15ish. Senior year of high school pressed 285 with a magnificent bounce. Have now (age 22) benched 365 with a slightly quick press command in “competition” (unsanctioned meet) at a bodyweight of 182 lbs and 6 ft tall.

Dips are your friend. The more dips I do, especially heavier weight, lower rep sets, the better my bench feels. Rep schemes like 5x5, 8x4, and 6x6 are my favorite.

Lats and upper back are important. With longish arms, I have found (for me, anyway) that a wide bench grip allows for more weight to be moved. However, I find the eccentric portion of the bench can feel really awkward. The more consistent I am with back work (weighted pull-ups, db rows, face pulls, etc.) the more controlled my lowering becomes. I feel better lowering rather quickly instead of slow and methodically, and having a capable back helps control a quick descent.

Overhead pressing doesn’t seem to have much carry over. Overhead pressing work makes my elbows hurt and my hands numb; and the pain plus the accumulated fatigue from extra movements takes away from the frequency I can bench. Lots of strict lateral raises, incline pressing, and mounds of rear delt work make up my shoulder training, and I feel much more “healthy” in my shoulders and arms since abandoning strict overhead barbell pressing.

Also, try to bench twice a week. I like a heavier low volume day with a lighter high volume day. Also, I focus on chest for one day of accessories and shoulders/triceps for accessories on the other. I rarely bench for sets higher than 6 reps (again, seems to aggravate my shoulders) but I push the volume with the accessories that are comfortable.

Here is an example training schedule (although since I have no idea your training age or weakpoints, we can talk tweaks if you come back to the thread). I’ll use the bench numbers you gave as a rough estimate for volume and training weights.

Bench Day 1:

Barbell Bench:
4x6 @135

Dips:
3-5 sets of 6-15 reps with whatever load makes them challenging.

DB Bench or Flies or any other chest focused movement for 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Bench Day Two:

Barbell Bench:
5-8 doubles with 155-165 lbs

Incline BB or DB Press
4-6 sets of 8-15 reps

Close Grip BB Bench or Neutral Grip DB Press
3-5 sets of 10-20 reps

DB Laterals and Face Pulls till you’re shoulders are tired.

[/quote]

Barbell overhead presses don’t help me much either.Even when my military press goes up my bench remains the same


#10

Strongfak: you went from 220x3 to 210x5 over 5 months? That’s not progress… that’s really bad, honestly.

Brady: That’s really an excellent competition bench at your height/weight. It tells me that a) you’ve gotta be pretty lean at that weight, and b) your technique is solid. Are your other competition lifts similarly strong?

Agree with what you said about OHP. I’ve heard some people say they like OHP as an assistance exercise, but most say what you did, that carryover is negligible. I do believe incline pressing carries over as an assistance exercise.

I should do more weighted dips. I do dips regularly, but only for higher reps with just bodyweight. My gym setup is not conducive to adding weight with these.

Your comment about lots of rear delt work is a reminder to me as well… Thanks for that. I neglect it.

OP: I know we’re not addressing your questions directly, but hopefully this conversation is helpful to you.


#11

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
Strongfak: you went from 220x3 to 210x5 over 5 months? That’s not progress… that’s really bad, honestly.
[/quote]

220 with my regular grip(little finger on the ring) to a 210 with a close grip(just outside the smooth part)
Given that I’ve paused 247.5 with a grip between the ring and the smooth part(first time using this grip) my bench is better


#12

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
Agree with what you said about OHP. I’ve heard some people say they like OHP as an assistance exercise, but most say what you did, that carryover is negligible. I do believe incline pressing carries over as an assistance exercise.
[/quote]

I’m really starting to think there is something to this. When my bench goes up, so does my overhead. When my overhead goes up, so does my bench. However, my incline press is my absolute worst movement, to the point that sometimes I can have a better showing overhead versus incline. It never feels right, and whenever I spend some hard and honest effort making it better, it does nothing for my other lifts.

There might be some sort of litmus here regarding leverages and technique and such. One where, if your incline improves your bench, it means overhead won’t, and vise versa.


#13

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
Strongfak: you went from 220x3 to 210x5 over 5 months? That’s not progress… that’s really bad, honestly.

Brady: That’s really an excellent competition bench at your height/weight. It tells me that a) you’ve gotta be pretty lean at that weight, and b) your technique is solid. Are your other competition lifts similarly strong?

Agree with what you said about OHP. I’ve heard some people say they like OHP as an assistance exercise, but most say what you did, that carryover is negligible. I do believe incline pressing carries over as an assistance exercise.

I should do more weighted dips. I do dips regularly, but only for higher reps with just bodyweight. My gym setup is not conducive to adding weight with these.

Your comment about lots of rear delt work is a reminder to me as well… Thanks for that. I neglect it.

OP: I know we’re not addressing your questions directly, but hopefully this conversation is helpful to you.[/quote]

I think my bench is kinda lame, but I appriciate it! Goal is 2.5xbw within 5 years. I think that filling out my frame would make a huge difference and allow me to be actually competitive.

I’m not that lean to be honest. I assume I’m around 12-14% bf.

I feel like dips are the foundation of my bench. Spud Inc. makes a chain-less Dip belt, I’m sure by looking at the design you could make something really similar for much cheaper.

I also love the decline press. It’s very comfortable to my picky shoulders. I’ve found that whatever I can double on a decline, I can flat bench for a single.

Face Pulls and Band Pull-aparts done for sets of 30+ make my shoulders happy.

My other competition lifts are okay. I’m very close to a 600 lb deadlift, and I squatted 515 with a bit of reverse band tension for three doubles today. I would assume squat is around 515-530, and deadlift in the 570-590 range (done on their own day, maybe not in a meet scenario). I struggle with back and knee pain, which often side tracks my squat training. I think that if I could squat consistently, both my deadlift and squat would improve considerably.


#14

[quote]brady888 wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
Strongfak: you went from 220x3 to 210x5 over 5 months? That’s not progress… that’s really bad, honestly.

Brady: That’s really an excellent competition bench at your height/weight. It tells me that a) you’ve gotta be pretty lean at that weight, and b) your technique is solid. Are your other competition lifts similarly strong?

Agree with what you said about OHP. I’ve heard some people say they like OHP as an assistance exercise, but most say what you did, that carryover is negligible. I do believe incline pressing carries over as an assistance exercise.

I should do more weighted dips. I do dips regularly, but only for higher reps with just bodyweight. My gym setup is not conducive to adding weight with these.

Your comment about lots of rear delt work is a reminder to me as well… Thanks for that. I neglect it.

OP: I know we’re not addressing your questions directly, but hopefully this conversation is helpful to you.[/quote]

I think my bench is kinda lame, but I appriciate it! Goal is 2.5xbw within 5 years. I think that filling out my frame would make a huge difference and allow me to be actually competitive.

I’m not that lean to be honest. I assume I’m around 12-14% bf.

I feel like dips are the foundation of my bench. Spud Inc. makes a chain-less Dip belt, I’m sure by looking at the design you could make something really similar for much cheaper.

I also love the decline press. It’s very comfortable to my picky shoulders. I’ve found that whatever I can double on a decline, I can flat bench for a single.

Face Pulls and Band Pull-aparts done for sets of 30+ make my shoulders happy.

My other competition lifts are okay. I’m very close to a 600 lb deadlift, and I squatted 515 with a bit of reverse band tension for three doubles today. I would assume squat is around 515-530, and deadlift in the 570-590 range (done on their own day, maybe not in a meet scenario). I struggle with back and knee pain, which often side tracks my squat training. I think that if I could squat consistently, both my deadlift and squat would improve considerably.[/quote]

your numbers are almost the same as mine across the board, in the same weight class, lol. assuming the squats are unwrapped. pretty cool :slight_smile: At your height I’m very impressed. Hard to be 6’ and that competitive in the 181 class.


#15

[quote]stronkfak wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
Strongfak: you went from 220x3 to 210x5 over 5 months? That’s not progress… that’s really bad, honestly.
[/quote]

220 with my regular grip(little finger on the ring) to a 210 with a close grip(just outside the smooth part)
Given that I’ve paused 247.5 with a grip between the ring and the smooth part(first time using this grip) my bench is better[/quote]

I’m sorry man, but that’s really not good progress at all in my opinion. I think you’re misguided. I would be very disappointed in myself if I was making progress that slowly, at the level you’re at. I went from a 315 bench press to a 385 bench press in about 6 months earlier this year. My training is NOTHING like yours though. That’s why I asked about it.


#16

your numbers are almost the same as mine across the board, in the same weight class, lol. assuming the squats are unwrapped. pretty cool :slight_smile: At your height I’m very impressed. Hard to be 6’ and that competitive in the 181 class.[/quote]

The goal is to be more like 220 with similar or better pound for pound lifts. I definitely feel that I am too lanky to do anything too crazy.
Since I have trained around Ben Rice and lookup to guys like Jesse Norris, I compare myself to the best since I’d like to be the best. So, until I hit that point, I’ll think of myself as weak.


#17

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]stronkfak wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
Strongfak: you went from 220x3 to 210x5 over 5 months? That’s not progress… that’s really bad, honestly.
[/quote]

220 with my regular grip(little finger on the ring) to a 210 with a close grip(just outside the smooth part)
Given that I’ve paused 247.5 with a grip between the ring and the smooth part(first time using this grip) my bench is better[/quote]

I’m sorry man, but that’s really not good progress at all in my opinion. I think you’re misguided. I would be very disappointed in myself if I was making progress that slowly, at the level you’re at. I went from a 315 bench press to a 385 bench press in about 6 months earlier this year. My training is NOTHING like yours though. That’s why I asked about it.[/quote]

You were 100 % right asking for it.After all when I give advice I should also mention my progress.The advice wasn’t based on my experience only but in a tread of a guy benching 400+.Now as far as my progress,I didn’t do everything right from the beginning,but I’m on my second cycle training and every lift is up
Close grip 198 x 4 ----> 210 x 5
Cg floor press 198 x 5 ----> 210 x 5
Cg paused incline 148.5 x 5 ----> 160 x 5
Cg pin press 198 x 5 ----> 230 x 3

This is last 3 months’ results.Previously I wasn’t keeping a log and my ‘‘westside training’’ was just a day of singles and a day of whatever for 9 sets of 3 fast