T Nation

A Bunch of Nonsense


So I just did my first meet yesterday, a non-sanctioned local meet, and things went quite well. I totaled 1,215 @ 228.

Deadlift:545 (PR)

I am 21 years old and 6’4. I have been lifting period for about a year, and been really focusing on increasing poundages the past 6 months. My squat max has gone from about 365 to 405 in that time, bench from about 245 to 265, and deadlift has jumped from 365 to 545 (DEAD serious…lol). I feel like I have just recently got a feel for the squat, and numbers have reflected appropriately, and the deadlift is soaring so I won’t bother with that. However, my bench #s just don’t quite stack up compared to other people I see in the gym, or the other guys at yesterday’s meet. All the other benches in my weight class were in the 300s, which leads me to believe I am doing something wrong in training.

My current training for bench is as follows:
MON: Heavy Bench 4-5 sets of 5 (say 80-85%) Followed by weighted dips, incline barbell, dumbell for reps, tricep cable pushdowns, and finally flyes for a pump.
FRI: Bench for ascending # of reps from 215, 195, 175, 155, 135 with little rest in between. This day I also do arms, won’t go into detail but it is for a pump.

I also do standing OHP and shoulder work on Wednesdays.

If anyone has any critique on the bench training, or how the numbers stack up compared to a “normal” person’s total it would be much appreciated.


It looks like everything is going well. It’s only been 6 months so you have nothing to worry about. The other lifters have likely been training for longer than you. Stick with it and be patient. Don’t change anything unless you stop making progress. What you’re already doing for bench looks fine. Don’t let the progress of others dictate how you should train, especially if you’re making progress. You’ll get there with consistency and hard work.

Congrats on doing your first meet.


Nice work at the meet.

From one mediocre bencher to another, this is something that’s worked very well for me (took me from a max of 255 to 286 over four or so months).

  • bench six times a fortnight
  • once every ten days to a fortnight bench heavy. The heavy days have three waves: 4x3, 1x3+ at 85%; 4x2, 1x2+ at 90%; 4x1, 1x1+ at 95%.
  • once or twice a week bench is 3x5 at 70-75% and increases by 10 lbs every three to four weeks.
  • on the non-heavy bench week the third bench day is speed work but also in waves: 8x2 @ 50%, 8x2 @ 55% and 8x2 @ 60%.

After the first cycle is complete reset heavy bench to go 87.5%, 92.5% and 97.5% and replace speed work with size work (3x6-8 @ 70, 75 and 80%). The cycle for me takes four weeks but if you train more often that I do it’s probably going to be three weeks. You could easily stretch it over five or six weeks too I think.

Don’t do any bench other than competition bench. For assistance I’ve found DB incline presses and weighted dips work, high reps for the incline and mid range for the dips. Row lots and lots. Doesn’t matter what variation. My favourites are Kroc and chest supported. Lots of pull aparts too.

Use the 3x5 sets as technique practice and to get familiar with setting up so you do it the same every time.

By the end of the third wave you’ll be hitting a new max for singles and probably a double or triple on the plus set.


Hey guys, thanks for responding so quickly, I appreciate the input.

MarkKO, is there a specific name to that program you mentioned for bench? Sounds interesting. As I am fairly new to lifting, I had been sticking with just very general rep schemes because 1) strength goes up easily 2) I want to try out what works for me and 3) Its easy to see progress.

Also, I might add, the atmosphere at the meet was unlike anything I ever experienced before. If this is what most meets are like, I AM HOOKED.


It doesn’t have a name I’m afraid. I came up with it myself after banging away at my bench with no success for four or five months doing all the usual stuff like close grip bench, pressing, etc.

I got some help from a good PL coach and he basically told me to just bench and bench and bench so I did. I’d always found speed work beneficial so I kept that but of never really used moderate sets of five just to practice. The heavy sets I set lower to start so I knew I’d get them because I’d lost all confidence in my bench.


At 6’4" and 228 you’ve just got to put more mass on your upper body, especially being a new lifter. Muscles move weight, just doing more assistance work as well as improving bench form and using a good routine is the recipe for success


Roger that. I guess the meet just put into perspective how bad my bench actually was, especially compared to the other 242lb lifters. I think I am going to start working arms and chest bodybuilding style in an attempt to put on mass. I’ll try that for about 8 weeks, and see how my bench takes off from there. I have been hearing all to much that bench is highly dependent on body weight and arm size, but as the 82nd pic tells me, you know how important bf % and run time is.