T Nation

Any tips for Lagging Upper Body?


#1

Basically my chest, delts, tri's, & bi's are really lagging in strength AND size.

I can squat 445 & deadlift 560 but I can only bench 255 and push press 200.

I can't curl for chit either, though oddly, I can row a lot since my back is strong.


#2

Those numbers are really close to mine (S 460 BP 253 DL 500, strict press 160). I weigh just below 198 and I’m around 5’9. You? That being said I’m 11 years older than you and I only train for powerlifting.

Best guess based on my own experience is that your good DL leverages make for bad bench leverages. These things helped me bring my bench from 225 to 255 in about two and half months:

  • first and foremost learn the right technique for you. For me, it is pulling through after setting my feet and benching with as wide a grip as legally possible and getting as big and arch as I can while making sure the balls of my feet are glued to the floor.

  • bench more. Three times a week using various grips and loads is ideal.

  • work your upper and middle back a bunch. Like me, your back is your strong point so use it. I know I’ve got my bench right when I feel it in my traps (and my quads, but that’s for leg drive), as that correlates with more reps or more weight. What’s worked best for me are pull-ups, barbell rows and overhead pressing with barbell and dumbbell (standing only).

That put both weight on the bar and size on my upper body.

Can’t help you with the curls etc, although you could try chin-ups? That’d let you combine back and bi work. Just a thought.


#3

If you want to bench more, you have to bench more. It’s really that simple.


#4

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Those numbers are really close to mine (S 460 BP 253 DL 500, strict press 160). I weigh just below 198 and I’m around 5’9. You? That being said I’m 11 years older than you and I only train for powerlifting.

Best guess based on my own experience is that your good DL leverages make for bad bench leverages. These things helped me bring my bench from 225 to 255 in about two and half months:

  • first and foremost learn the right technique for you. For me, it is pulling through after setting my feet and benching with as wide a grip as legally possible and getting as big and arch as I can while making sure the balls of my feet are glued to the floor.

  • bench more. Three times a week using various grips and loads is ideal.

  • work your upper and middle back a bunch. Like me, your back is your strong point so use it. I know I’ve got my bench right when I feel it in my traps (and my quads, but that’s for leg drive), as that correlates with more reps or more weight. What’s worked best for me are pull-ups, barbell rows and overhead pressing with barbell and dumbbell (standing only).

That put both weight on the bar and size on my upper body.

Can’t help you with the curls etc, although you could try chin-ups? That’d let you combine back and bi work. Just a thought. [/quote]
thanks 4 the help.
and yeah I’m 5’6.5", 186lbs (I plan to cut down to compete in the 181 class)


#5

If you’ve been doing lots of bench pressing, but you haven’t gotten the results you want, maybe it’s time for a change. Make the overhead press your “main lift.” Use close grip bench, incline dumbbell presses from all angles and front delt raises as your go-to assistance moves. Actually try to BUILD the muscles that will give you better leverages and more strength for benching.

When your up-turned collar Polo shirts fit more tightly across your shoulders, you’ll bench more.

My heaviest benches always came after my heaviest overhead lifts.


#6

Terrible advice for the PL section I guess.


#7

Dude, my bench also sucks, this is because my triceps are weak.

I scrapped the bench press and did floor press instead and that worked well.

I also did dips, triangle push ups for high reps, dumbbell lying extensions and incline tate press for high reps, like 20 reps a set.

When you bench and fail a rep where do you fail? bottom, top, or mid rep?


#8

Add more upperbody hypertrophy work. It’s really that simple. You should be benching with a big arch and the widest legal grip no matter your arm length, but especially if you have gorilla arms (like myself) that is crucial.


#9

IIRC Op is pretty young but I could be wrong. In my limited experience the bench press lags behind the squat and pull for a lot of younger guys until they get into their early-mid twenties.


#10

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
IIRC Op is pretty young but I could be wrong. In my limited experience the bench press lags behind the squat and pull for a lot of younger guys until they get into their early-mid twenties.[/quote]

This. Even in older guys new to PL it lags significantly.


#11

Try a standard BBsplit/kingbeef template for a couple months just do 5x5/3x3 for the first lift


#12

Go down and visit Josh Bryant at Metroflex.


#13

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
If you’ve been doing lots of bench pressing, but you haven’t gotten the results you want, maybe it’s time for a change. Make the overhead press your “main lift.” Use close grip bench, incline dumbbell presses from all angles and front delt raises as your go-to assistance moves. Actually try to BUILD the muscles that will give you better leverages and more strength for benching.

When your up-turned collar Polo shirts fit more tightly across your shoulders, you’ll bench more.

My heaviest benches always came after my heaviest overhead lifts.[/quote]
I might try that thanks

[quote]The Big AC wrote:
Dude, my bench also sucks, this is because my triceps are weak.

I scrapped the bench press and did floor press instead and that worked well.

I also did dips, triangle push ups for high reps, dumbbell lying extensions and incline tate press for high reps, like 20 reps a set.
When you bench and fail a rep where do you fail? bottom, top, or mid rep?[/quote]
I usually fail around either 2 inches off my chest or in the middle when my arms are at 90 degrees. If I can get the bar 3/4ths of the way up I ALWAYS will lock it out.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
IIRC Op is pretty young but I could be wrong. In my limited experience the bench press lags behind the squat and pull for a lot of younger guys until they get into their early-mid twenties.[/quote]
yeah I’m only 19. I turn 20 in a little over 2 months


#14

Even with decent form, I find bench pressing too touch on my wrists, elbows, bicep-shoulder tie-in, pecs, RC, and shoulders to be any good for hypertrophy. I just can’t get the volume in, so I make up for it with more body building style work and it works. So basically, I only do enough volume on bench to get some strength, speed, and practice work in and go bb crazy for the rest of volume. It’s slow progress, but at least it is progress that otherwise wouldn’t happen due to nagging joints.


#15

“Simple” Conjugate style! Practice the “skill” of bench pressing with perfect technique, low reps, and weights you can handle. Build your muscles with higher reps on body-builder, “mass” exercises.

Toss in a few heavy close grip benches, dumbbell benches or overhead presses every now and then. They can help you learn to “use” your chest, shoulders and tris more through “neural factors” or recruitment or something.


#16

I’m sitting around 460/365/585 at 6’ 198 with a 6’1" wingspan. I think the absolute biggest things that have helped my bench have been submaximal training with long pauses. I was training around 225-250lbs for 5x5 only once a week, but pausing for a solid 3-5 seconds every rep and for a 10 count on the last rep. Tested my max last week and it absolutely blew me away that it had gone up so much despite training so light. Don’t underestimate the value of doing lots of light, fast work followed up by a peaking week. Also, fixing technique is very key as well. Improving my form and getting my legs more involved and staying tighter allowed me to finally get 315x5 TNG.