Bench is Weak! What is Going On?

So I’ve been going hard in powerlifting for a couople of months now(used to train PL a year ago but I didn’t go VERY heavy). I have managed to climb up to 170kg in deadlifts and in squats. Bench on the other hand has not been going good. I am still stuck on 100kg which I have been on for almost 4 months. I tried 110kg today and I couldn’t even do 1 rep…

How do you guys train your bench?

What’s your current training look like?

I had the same problem, I dropped overhead press and bench 3x a week now high frequency.

My bench went from 110 to 130 in 3 months. Also I eat alot more calories now… Didn’t get fatter but yeah you need to eat when increasing volume. Volume is king!

At the same time I did see a powerlifting coach for a long session to fix my technique. So hit it from 3 angles, technique, food, and lots of volume below 85% of your max (failing lifts is bad for your progress)

Critter, your problem might be any one of a number of things. I have no idea what routine you are using so I am just taking a shot in the dark. Do you have long arms and a normal or shallow chest? If so your bench press will always lag your other two lifts. In addition to that you will be more susceptible rotator cuff injuries as you will be using more of your delts to bench than your chest.

I stopped bench pressing years ago because of this very reason. I felt that placing my shoulder joint in such a disadvantageous position was giving me pain. I did all sorts of rehab work. But the only thing that really helped permanently was to drop the bench press from my routine. Before all of you lovers of the bench press jump on me I am not telling anyone not to bench press. I am merely stating that long-armed individuals who do not have a barrel chest will be placing more stress on their shoulders than their chest/

Good Luck

Hi Zeb did you develop rotator issues even when using a good arch and tucking the shoulders back to focus on pecs more?
Long arms narrow chest have got me worried about my rotators now too - I have the same build and am a tall guy (more suited to deadlifting). I guess it’s off topic but how would one avoid rotator injury with this build?

Also now I think of it that ratio 170kg deadlift/squat the bench of 100 is pretty normal. The bench isn’t really lagging…

When my bench went to 130 my deadlift went from 210 to 230 and squat from 160 to 185. Could be a normal bench for that size/strength

You also tried to bench 10% more than you’ve ever done. Don’t get greedy, try 5 lbs (2.26kg) more over time it adds up. There’s a time to jump for a big or but it’s not when your having trouble with a lift.


Fives, three’s and singles is how I train.

Build your bench with reps. Perfect your technique. Gain bodyweight. If your max is 100kg. Work with 60-80% in those rep ranges and just hammer the reps. Reps reps reps. Do not overdo the assistance work. Focus on the bench. Don’t fall for other methods of not benching to build the bench. They don’t work. Don’t do variations of the bench to build the bench (at least not at this point).


I found for me paused​ bench press really helped. Try adding that into your program for a bit.