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Bench is Stuck at 405


Looking for insight on how to break through my bench plateau. 405 has been my nemesis for over 2 years. No matter if I drop to a 340 bench over the summer or not, I can quickly get back to the old 4 plates. My frustration is that I get stuck here for months on end with no movement.

I lift raw, so am looking for ideas on how to pop this up to 455 by december while not having to gain more weight. What tactics did you big benchers use to get past this plateau? Current training was bench to max, then 7 singles at 90% followed by heavy dips bw +135 for 3 sets of 5, and some decline db tri extensions with whatever i could handle for the day. Day 2 was cg bench for some mid range reps, tri pressdowns and that was it. Have done 8x3 on the incline with similar assistance work...and some 5x5 on the decline with similar assistance work.

I superset back work with all the bench and tri work. Heavy rows, pullups, db cleans, all the goodies.

Any insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks and good lifting to all!



have a look at Wendler's 5/3/1/ program and Jack Reape's log in the T-Cell-he's currently training to bench 600


Where are you getting stuck? Figure that out and work on it.


Louie Simmons said that speed work is more important than "brute ass strength." And he knows a thing or two.

Do you have a speed day? Be honest about your weights. He said most lifters gradually ramp up their weights on their DE day and then it turns into a ME day.

Get faster.


That's me


Board work.


Going from 405 to 455 without gaining weight is a very big jump. Are you sure you can't afford to put on weight, even if it's only something like 20 pounds?

You could also try cycling your intensity in some way, but gaining weight would most probably do the trick.


for me, i only get stronger when i train with weight above my max. I do a lot of high board work with supramaximal weight as well as pin presses, pin lockouts and barbell holds.

i wouldn't continue working up to your max that often. i only hit max attempts every fifth week or so.

i've been doing 4 week mini cycles sticking with the same two ME movements then following it up with heavy tricep work. I shoot to set a weight or rep PR each week on those movements. at the end of the 4 week cycle, i test my max again.


I don't think weight gain is necessary, my BF is over 15%, so plenty of extra "non-functional" weight to work with. I have incorporated speed days, speed doesn't seem to be a huge issue, 365 shoots up, and 385 goes up pretty easy. The new gym has chains, so I may switch from bands to chains for a while and see if that helps any.

Maruader, when doing pin presses is it from a dead stop, or do you unrack the bar and lower it before the press. I tried dead stop presses for a while and did not feel like it helped. How much pressing volume do you do weekly?

I am really interested in overall strategies over months, not quick fixes. I realize it is a big jump, but surely others have done it in less time. I appreciate the help thus far, and will probably use the information to set up my next 2 month cycle and see where I can get. Getting stuck in a rut at any weight just makes lifting frustrating. Thanks for the help guys, and good lifting!



If you're looking for a long term thing then 5/3/1 could be a good place to look. Lots of people have reported success with it and when I'm back in regular ttraining and out of comp prep in about 9-12 weeks I'll be giving it a shot!

(Maybe you could try it out for me and let me know if it works!!!!)


looks like 531 for the bench...Going to give it 2 4 week cycles then retest the max. The volume looks manageable, and the method seems to produce for raw lifters. Will try to keep a log in this thread and maybe by late april I will have a bit of progress, I will take 5 lbs at this point!

Thanks to all for the help and advice!



first week 5 rep week, based off of 380

Bench 265x5, 295x5, 325x7

Cg Bench
superset with low pulley row

ez bar overhead tri press
superset with wide grip pullups
bwx 9,8,7

5x10 in the bench was very taxing, it has been years since I did 5x10 in any pressing movement. Overall, good workout and definately manageable. Time will tell!


A lot of the advice you got was fairly specific to benching equipped. Not saying the advice was wrong, or that there wouldn't be carry-over, just something to keep in mind as a raw lifter.

I'm a really weak bencher, but I'm finally starting to see some progress since I switched to Sheiko.