T Nation

405lbs Raw Bench Thread


Given all of the great races going on in the Strength Sports thread, I thought I'd start one up for those of us chasing the elusive 4-plates-per-side on raw bench.

I'm currently sitting at a max of 350, which I first hit the summer before last. Unfortunately I messed up my shoulder getting there, but now I'm finally healthy and making some good gains. I expect to beat 350 the next time I max raw, which will be a couple weeks after the holidays.

My partner and I have been trying out a new cycle, which has been working great. We switch up our ME exercises every three weeks in the order: floor press, decline bench, flat bench. We change up our supplemental exercises every three weeks as well, using these to mix up our total workout volume. We only do one true bench workout per week, but we also do three sets of high-rep flat bench once per week during the weeks when we aren't using flat bench as our ME lift.

Here's my last ME day. The last lift is a 15lb PR for dec bench:

ME Dec Bench
(lots of warmups)

Flat DB Bench


Would you normally only be able to hit 95 x9 on the dumbbells or is that because of all the work that's gone on before it?


The previous work had something to do with it, though I think it was mostly because my rest breaks were very short between the DB sets. My partner and I took a while to get through the dec bench so we had to hurry through the rest.

I don't do a lot of DB bench though.


My first post, so forgive which ignorance I shall spew from this point on...

when you talk about your 350 max and your 405 goal are you meaning in competition or just in the gym?

I'm at a point where I'm feeling strong about my lifts but when I look across the powerlifting landscape it seems like not alot of the guys are as strong as they seem or that having a previous history of following bodybuilding has really thrown off the way I lift on the bench.

I'm currently at a point where I want to get into a PL contest just to see what the drop off may be, between the form I use now and the PL form that I've seen on many videos and what not...

What I'm getting at, again excuse the ignornace, is that right now I'm sitting at a BW of 235 and like you the goal for me is 405 but for my working sets. I'm at the point where I do I get up to 365 for 2 sets of 5 and on the surface that seems like I would be able to hold my own in a PL contest. Then I see some of the guys there and i question the validity of my strength. It doesn't seem in line with the numbers I'm seeing on a local level and I think to myself. These guys can't be that weak, so I wonder if it has alot to do the placement of the bar and the pace of the lift in competitions.

Anyways sorry for rambling. Good luck with the goal...


I'm shooting for 405 as a 1RM, touch-and-go (no bounce) gym lift. My next PL comp goal is to break 350 raw in the 181lb weight class.

My current best (and only) comp lift is 315, which was my opener in that comp. I was gunning for at least 330, but unfortunately I messed up my weight loss -- I tried to drop to the 165lb class to chase a record -- and was messed up all day.

To keep my numbers in perspective, I'm competing as a bench-only lifter. I can't do any kind of lower body exercise except swimming (not even jogging or cycling) because my legs are shot. Therefore I can devote more of my training intensity to bench and also I can hit higher numbers in a comp.

Thanks for the question. Good luck with your goal.


Awesome. I'll be in this one with you lol.
My best was 375 at BW 195. I was chasing a double bodyweight bench. Anyways got into muay thai and didn't take the lifting too seriosuly..dropped half of it cause the muay thai took lots out of me. But I've learned to balance it now. Right now I'm sittin at 360, still training muay thai..but also my left shoulder hurts a bit so I'm letting that heal a bit and then I expect to hit a 380, just cause muscle memory from the 375. I want a 405 bench pretty fuckin bad lol


I'll join in since I'm chasing the same goal as everyone else. My best paused gym lift is 375 and my best at a meet is 365.

In the past, I was using a modified Westside approach. I am experimenting with a 13 week Sheiko cycle, so I probably won't be testing my max as often, and won't post my workouts since the weights look easy on paper, and they are posted in my raw powerlifting log.

Good luck to everyone chasing 4 plates. See you on the other side.


If you are hitting 365 for 2 sets of 5 then you are probably good for something in the range of a 405 Bench. If you are anything like me, you will probably lose around 20lbs or so if you haven't been pausing them. Which puts you in the neighborhood of a 385 paused Bench.

If you were to do a full PL meet on the local level around here, competing in the 242's you would probably win your event. How are your Squat and DL? If you are Squatting mid 4's and DL'ing mid 5's then you would have a solid chance at winning or certainly placing top 2 or 3.

It's a little more competitive when you get to the higher level meets, and if you did a Bench only, then you might find yourself up against some 400lb Benchers, but all in all, I think you'd still do fairly well. Not everyone benches with a huge arch or with their elbows severely tucked. I've seen some guys that are pretty friggin strong using less than "ideal" PL form, and they've put up some good numbers.

Next time you go for a max Bench, get a video of it. Unrack the weight (with or without a spotter), demonstrate control before the decent, pause it on your chest for a second (depends on federation), keep your hips down on the way up, demonstrate control again before you rack it. Post a video and we'll let you know how it looks.


When i started back training i thought i would never bench 400.When i hit 352 after 4 months i knew it was possible.Got 374 after 6 months then my gains slowed down.I failed 400 first time i attempted it after 9 months so i started doing speed benching and practicing good bench tech.Did a easy double with 400 then maxed out with 432 no pause at 220 bodyweight.Took me 11 months now i want 500.


Don't have ability to vid my training but I am working on bench tonight with a spotter so we'll see how it goes...


I hit 405 this June and am headed for 500. I don't know if it was a legal PL lift, but I controlled it, went down with no bounce and lifted without any assistance.

I squatted 500 with just a belt, once again I don't know if it was PL legal, but I was told I hit parallel. I'm looking towards 600.

I'd like to think I will hit both in 1-1.5 years. I'm an old man and have to go at it slow.


I'll throw my hat in the ring. current pr is 350 (in the gym). I'm really excited about my program for the next couple of months, it should really boost the #.


Game on!


Did 405 for a single. Did it twice. Next week is a lighter week and switching to dumbells so i won't "confirm" my 405 feat again for 2 weeks.

So part of my personal goal is accomplished with that. The real focus is to be comfortable enough wiht it that I can do it for 4 or 5 reps...yeah that's gonna be a minute...


Those are solid numbers. Have you thought about competing?


Out of interest, for you guys hitting 350+, how old are you? And what are ya weighing?


30 and in the 235-240 range...


25 and right around 300lbs. though I'm a fair bit taller then average.


Thanks lad.

I've a few years and a few lbs before I'm at the same weight and age as everyone outbenching me. That makes me feel a bit better!


36yrs and around 270lbs. Unfortunately I was doing about the same weight at 245 as well.