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Been Training Around 1.5 Years. Bench and OHP Still Poor

Hi all

I’ve been training for around 1 and a half years. I started with Phraks Greyskull LP and ran that for 14 months, and now I’ve been running Grouchyjarhead’s Beginner Powerbuilding Routine for 5 months. Which is on bodybuilding com.

After 1 and half years, I still can’t get past 66kg for bench and 38.5kg for overhead press (both 3 sets of 6 and 1 final set of 7).

I eat around 3500 calories a day, and I have gone from 147lbs starting weight to 191lbs now. It’s probably mostly fat.

I get between 7-8 hours sleep every night, I use the sleep cycle app to track this and never go below 7 hours.

Here is a video of me benching 63.5kg (video was from last month after one of my many deloads)

And here is a video of my pressing 40kg (I ended up failing the last set, also the reason I walked out on an angle was to get a side on view of the press)

My squat and my deadlift aren’t the best after this long of training either. Both lifts below are following the 5+, 4, 3, 2, 1 scheme as stated in the program.

Squat - 125kg, 127.5kg, 130kg, 132.5kg, 135kg
Deadlift - 130kg, 132.5kg, 135kg, 137.5kg, 140kg

The lack of progress is making it really hard to get motivated to train. I used to enjoy it but now it’s starting to seem pointless as I’m not going anywhere, and if I do it’s baby steps.

Has anyone got any advice?


You’ve been running beginner programs for 1.5 years. Ever consider doing something with a wider variety of rep ranges and a different progression scheme?


Where did you begin? Compare where you began to where you are now.

Other than that,

You have too much jazz going on with hips and back and setup etc.

Forget about all of the videos of people benching 900 lbs. Thats their form now. Not where they began. Just lay down and move the weight.


This is a good question and worth repeating. Pretty much everyone stalls at specific rep ranges and needs to alter something to keep progressing. It sounds like you’ve made some gains and have hit an inevitable plateau.

Personally, I can’t improve my bench press if I don’t bench twice each week. One session has to be high weight/ low rep, and the other high volume/ low intensity. I also have to isolate my pecs (flyes), delts (lateral raises), and triceps (single arm triceps extensions.) Each of us responds uniquely to training; perhaps you need to change one element of your training for each lift and see how it affects you.

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Also: that Squat is way out of wack with the rest of your lifts. Either you squat high as shit, or you’ve found at least one lift that responds well to this approach.

No matter what program/routine you are using, I would honestly recommend applying a slower cadence in order to better control the form and weight used, for example 2 secs positive and 4 secs negative. What you may lose in the number of reps, you get in the time under tension. Just another option to choose from.

You need to decipher what works/feels best for you. Anything that breaks your current adaptation will do the trick. As for gaining strength in bench press and OHP there is cluster sets (search on the T-nation article site) - but I would never use clusters unless you are in control of the form/weight.

Lots to add, as I am sure other more experienced trainees here will. Maybe the most important strategy is to make sure you enjoy your workouts. That ensures longevity in the gym. What are your goals?

It’s hard to tell because they’re videos, but it appears you could handle more weight than you’re using. I’d suggest moving to something like 5/3/1 or any of the million other similar programs.

Also, do you have to take that ladder in and out of your gym? That’s pretty bad ass if so. Good luck after BBB or Widowmaker days in that case.

When I moved from SS I found it hard to hit reps much higher than 5. It held me back. Took time to get used to higher reps but it helped.

Dude, why do you have a seizure for 25 sec before you even start your first rep of bench? That could be your problem right there. Tensing like that for almost half a minute would exhaust me too.

Also, stop taking deloads when you’re only benching 1 plate.

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Are you trying to be a powerlifter? If not, then if I could Eternal-Sunshine-of-the-Spotless-Mind all the powerlifting videos on Bench that you’ve watched out of your mind, that’d be my first step.

Then, switch up your program and eat more.

I’d also read this:

And then buy 5/3/1 2nd edition on kindle for whatever it is (like 5-10 bucks or something), read that, and pick a template.

If you ignore all of this, then my TL;DR is eat more, change your program up and lift for 5 more years, preferably 10.


Yes, I also thought it took a lifetime before you started benching. Relax on the bench, fixate your legs, extend your chest, lift off and work on the mind-muscle connection through controlled reps in a good form.

For many years I also benched with my legs up, just to make sure I didn’t cheat. Did good for my balance and form.

Share what you eat daily.

Is there anything you’d recommend here?

Didn’t try a 1 rep max to start but I started my bench at 30kg and my OHP at 12.5kg.

The reason for my arch is to reduce the range of motion so I could lift more weight, is this not recommended?

Honestly not sure, I’d like to be able to bench 100kg one day.

Haha think that’s my trying to psyche myself up for the set, I will try and stop that.

By deloads I mean when I’ve missed the reps 3 sessions in a row so I take 10% off for the next session and start from there.

I think I’m wanting to train more like a power lifter than anything else, at this point I’m just trying to get my numbers up more than anything else.

Thanks I’ll read this. I’ve actually found a download of 531 forever, if that’s the book you mean. But are my numbers not too low to move to a program like 531?

Don’t be a pirate dude, pay the man for his work.

Putting that aside, you’ll probably need a bit of background on 531 before diving into Forever. The article linked by @flappinit above should probably do it, but 531 2nd edition is pretty cheap.


That’s fair, I’ve read the article above and it is helpful but I’ll also buy the 2nd edition and have a read. Thanks.

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No. Not for a rank beginner/non power lifter.

It takes like a couple of years to get actually good at that type of set up and style of bench, along with very specific, purpose driven strength development. And that’s After already getting significantly strong.

For now, just try regular bench press form and set up. Lay down, plant feet, grab bar, move weight.
Just like in the old Joe Wieder posters.

And don’t be afraid to push a little. The amount of strain demonstrated in those vids is downright relaxing.

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5/3/1 has a fantastic track record in producing success and is very easy to follow.


Your numbers are not too low to move to 5/3/1. The article and 5/3/1 2nd edition is enough for a good amount of progress. Some time from now you can invest in Forever. IMO, it is not necessary for beginners. It’s not BAD for them, and you could get it and have enough templates and knowledge to program for yourself forever, hence the name, but I understand not wanting to buy all the way in, and you need at least one of his beforehand books to understand the latest one. 2nd edition has stood the test of time. Get after it, bro!


Yeah just do5/3/1 triumvirate/BBB original etc

I’ll add:
1.)You need to learn to grind out heavy reps. You had 1-2 more reps left in that bench clip if you really wanted it. (3 …if I put a gun to your head😑)

  1. Finish every upper body session with 3-5 sets of deep pushups like so…
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Dude, no one says this, but your signal to noise ratio on this forum is f**king phenomenal. Thanks for all you do.