I’m currently finishing an 11 week cycle of madcow for intermediates and I’m fairly happy with my progress. 205x5 to 240x3 (255x1 paused) on bench, 325x5 to 380x5 on squats, 400x5 to 450x4 on deadlift. However, my bench press has always been pretty low in comparison to my other lifts. I’m pretty slender (6’ 183 lbs) and I carry most of my weight in my lower half. Is anyone in the same boat here? If so, has anything helped to balance out your ratio and bring up your bench press? Volume, frequency, intensity, etc. I’m looking for anything that will help, as I want to get at least 290 at ~195 lbs bw this summer.
Gaining weight and learning to arch (if you don’t already) will make a huge difference. At this point I would say just keep doing what you are doing since you are making some fast progress, when you stall you can change up your training. I’m not familiar with madcow, but seeing as it’s a 5x5 program I’m assuming its mostly the competition lifts. Eventually you could use more variations and probably increase volume, you don’t need to use too high intensity (like over 85%) unless you are peaking for a meet or test day.
So I should clarify a bit. I have stalled on bench in that I’m not able to make week to week progress as is designed in the program, but I will try to drop the weight to a submax level and build back up. I’m benching twice a week, around 10 sets in total, with the top set at pretty much full effort. Is it safe to throw in a few extra sets with lower weight? I’m thinking the volume may help.
Dropping your working weights sounds like a good idea. As for adding more work, what other pressing exercises are you doing? You could add flys, some tricep work like dips or skull crushers, maybe close grip bench. Just do them for higher reps, like 8-12, maybe 10-15 for flys. If you are going to add more bench sets then start with one or two each day and do them for higher reps, like 8-10. Start conservatively, if it’s easy then add another set the next week.
How are you progressing the weights in this program, is it 5lbs. on each lift? If that’s the case then you can expect bench to stall first, but still you could add some more volume because 10 sets a week is pretty low.
You can post a video of your bench too, if your technique isn’t great then making some adjustments can make a big difference.
The bench sets increase by about 5lbs every week and squat and deads go up 10. I haven’t done much assistance work outside of some triceps pushdowns and a little ab work. That has been decreasing lately since my sets are getting heavier. I’ll try to get a video of a heavy-ish bench set on here this week. That’s usually when my form is tested the most. Thanks for the help
Ok, it sounds like you really are stalling. For now just reset your numbers and add some assistance work and/or a couple lighter high rep sets, but eventually you will have to move onto a different program. If you can still make linear progress on squat and deadlift then you could just change it up for bench, no need to throw the whole program out if it’s still working for two lifts.