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Bench Not Improving

This morning was the first day of my fifth week of training. I’m 6’4", weighed 160 when I started and would guess I’m around 165 now though I haven’t weighed myself recently. I started off with a bench press of about 95-100 for six reps (sucks, I know), and…this morning I could still only do 105 for six. I’ve been adding at least 5, usually 10-15 pounds a week to my squats (now 150 for six) and deadlifts (200 for six). All of my other lifts have been going up by at least 5 pounds a week too. I eat around 3400-3700 calories a day.

I train 3x a week, about an hour a session. I flat bench once a week, and do decline and incline once a week each as well. When I do any of these, I feel the motion completely in my arms and not at all in my chest.

I know that there are a lot of articles and topics on here already about stalled bench presses. I read quite a few, and I’m still not sure about what I should be doing differently. So, is there some form mistake that I’m probably making? Should I just switch to a totally different chest exercise? Or should I just keep at it?

Thanks

A video would help, but it’s probably just that you simply don’t know how to bench.

I feel you on the bench press. It was by far my worst lift.

Firstly, what are you eating? 165 pounds at 6’4" if that is correct is really, really thin. You claim to be consuming 3400-3700 calories per day. What exactly are you eating?

A couple of other things: it’s normal for lower lifts to progress faster than upper body. 10# increment increases for lower body and 5# for upper body is within the normal realm. Also, if you’re new to lifting, you haven’t stalled you just need to get stronger. Can you post your last bench workout, weights and reps/sets?

Lastly, remember that if you’re that tall, you probably have super long arms and I don’t care what anyone says, benching will inherently be more difficult for you. It will not be impossible but having those Trex arms is definitely more advantageous.

Regarding form, I’m sure if you were able to post a video of your attempts that you would get lots of feedback here.

Be patient, it’s a continual process and it takes a long time to nail it.

Thanks for the video and article JP, lots of good stuff there. I’m definitely gonna take all that advice and work on my form. I’ll see about posting a video when I bench again, but I’m not sure how to go about that since I don’t really know anybody in my gym. Just grow a pair and ask somebody? Haha.

JJ, yeah I’ve always been crazy thin. Maybe I’m more than 165 now. I’ve been broke lately but I just got paid so I’ll buy a scale soon and start keeping track like I should be. I definitely was 160 at most about 5 weeks ago, though. As far as what I eat, throughout the day it looks like this:

7:00 AM – Finish workout, finish one Surge Recovery shake (~2 scoops)

8:00 AM – 3 egg omelet with turkey, spinach, bell peppers. Glass of milk. Bagel with a ton of peanut butter. Banana and mixed fruits.

~11:30 AM – Usually something like a chicken breast or a philly cheesesteak (I have really limited options because I have to eat pretty much all my meals in the campus dining hall…), some green veggies (broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.). Rice.

~2:00 PM – Basically exactly the same as at 11:30. Usually some more fruit.

~5:00 PM – As much meat as I can stuff down (usually chicken, pork, ground beef, etc.), green veggies, rice.

~8:30 PM – A large chicken breast or a porkchop or steak or something. Same amount and kinds of veggies and rice and all that as at 5:00.

Most days I get a little hungry between meals and end up eating whole, dry roast almonds for snacks. Usually go through about 1-1.5 cups a day.

Without seeing a video and assuming you are using good form:

Maybe you should train military press more, there was an article on here by Ripptoe about how training your military press will carryover and increase your bench.

If you are like me your upper body lifts (both bench and military) will stall because your muscles are imbalanced and you need to train your back more (your body will stop building your front if your back is too imbalanced).

See if this applies to you:





[quote]reallywittyname wrote:
I’m 6’4", … around 165 now[/quote]
Mike, is that you?

[quote]reallywittyname wrote:
Thanks for the video and article JP, lots of good stuff there. I’m definitely gonna take all that advice and work on my form. I’ll see about posting a video when I bench again, but I’m not sure how to go about that since I don’t really know anybody in my gym. Just grow a pair and ask somebody? Haha.

JJ, yeah I’ve always been crazy thin. Maybe I’m more than 165 now. I’ve been broke lately but I just got paid so I’ll buy a scale soon and start keeping track like I should be. I definitely was 160 at most about 5 weeks ago, though. As far as what I eat, throughout the day it looks like this:

7:00 AM – Finish workout, finish one Surge Recovery shake (~2 scoops)

8:00 AM – 3 egg omelet with turkey, spinach, bell peppers. Glass of milk. Bagel with a ton of peanut butter. Banana and mixed fruits.

~11:30 AM – Usually something like a chicken breast or a philly cheesesteak (I have really limited options because I have to eat pretty much all my meals in the campus dining hall…), some green veggies (broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.). Rice.

~2:00 PM – Basically exactly the same as at 11:30. Usually some more fruit.

~5:00 PM – As much meat as I can stuff down (usually chicken, pork, ground beef, etc.), green veggies, rice.

~8:30 PM – A large chicken breast or a porkchop or steak or something. Same amount and kinds of veggies and rice and all that as at 5:00.

Most days I get a little hungry between meals and end up eating whole, dry roast almonds for snacks. Usually go through about 1-1.5 cups a day.[/quote]

That actually looks quite good, only main problem I see is, do you not eat before your workout? Very important to get a good amount of protein and carbs there.

I would also second pretty much everything Jackie said. Expect bench press to go up slower than squat and deadlift, partially because it’s an upper body lift, partially because you probably have very long arms and are built much more to deadlift than to bench. And, 165 lbs at 6’4 is very thin, as you continue to put on weight it should continue to go up. Make sure your form is solid, and keep working hard.

If you want more advice, you could post your specific goals, and your actual workout plan.

I usually don’t eat before a workout because I’ll wake up around 5:30 and be at the gym by 6. I do, however, start sipping my SR by like 5:45 and continue drinking it throughout the workout. You think I should have some kind of snack pre-workout in addition to that?

Anyway, right, I’ll keep at it. One thing I did notice that seems weird is that my chest has unmistakably gotten bigger (and I don’t think it’s fat) even though it doesn’t seem like it’s gotten much stronger.

And I’ll take the Michael Phelps comparison, haha. Hopefully I just don’t go from looking kinda like him to kinda like certain other Olympians…

As far as my goals, I think at this point I care a lot more about being strong than about being big/hawtt/ripped. Not that I don’t care at all about how I look.

Here’s my program:

A:
-Squat, 5x6
-Barbell Incline Press, 5x6
-Suitcase Deadlift, 5x6 each side
-Bent Over Barbell Row, 5x6
-Lying DB Tricep Extension, 5x6
-Barbell Side Bends, 5x6 each side

B:
-Flat Bench, 5x6
-Pullups, 3xAs many as possible
-Bulgarian Split Squats, 3x6 each leg
-Military Press, 5x6
-One Arm DB Row, 5x6 each arm
-Planks, 3xAs many seconds as possible

C:
-Deadlift, 5x6
-Decline BB Press, 5x6
-Bent Over BB Row, 5x6
-BB Bicep Curls, 5x6 (I’ve been starting to think maybe I should skip these because it feels like other things hit my biceps well enough already)
-Weighted decline situps, 3x6-10 (that is, at a weight where I can only do 6-10)

Try and get another meal in before bed if you can. This video helped me out alot too.

First, Michael Phelps weighs about 200lbs.

Second, having super long monkey arms makes bench pressing much, much harder. It’s going to go up pretty slow, just deal with it and keep working hard.

Third, you need to eat more carbs, like a lot more carbs. Low carbs is great for being skinny, not for putting on some extra weight and muscle.

Fourth, check and make sure you don’t have tape worm or something. You’re really skinny for how much you’re eating. I’m half joking… kind of.

Just for reference this is 6’4 165

[quote]bigscarymonster wrote:
First, Michael Phelps weighs about 200lbs.
[/quote]
I’ll take your word for it, that pic. of Phelps came up when I googled “6’4” 165 Pounds."

What is more disturbing than my inability to fact-check is that the OP weighs 30-35 pounds less than Phelps at the same height.

I don’t know if this is good for long term success or not, but I’d ditch those vegetables until later in the day. They make me feel very full. Bring on all the haters saying “eat more” “suck it up” and “you need 267 servings of vegetables to get big”.

Chobbs you need 267 servings of red meat and eggs every day to get big not vegetables lol vegetables are more of a decoration I unfortunatly dont eat enough of them but do drink alot of v8.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Chobbs you need 267 servings of red meat and eggs every day to get big not vegetables lol vegetables are more of a decoration I unfortunatly dont eat enough of them but do drink alot of v8.[/quote]

Yea man I know this lol I just put that there for the people who say you can’t get bigger or stronger without tons of vegetables. Does anybody remember that hilarious video from some little towns bench press contest and the strongest guy just ate fruits and vegetables!!

yes. it was painful

Yeah that guy is a fucking joke and he continues to post shit on here and gets his ass ripped every time fucking idiot. Have you checked out his other videos on youtube they are epic. My favorite personally he “deadlifts his bodyweight in bananas”.

[quote]chobbs wrote:

Yea man I know this lol I just put that there for the people who say you can’t get bigger or stronger without tons of vegetables. Does anybody remember that hilarious video from some little towns bench press contest and the least weak guy just ate fruits and vegetables!![/quote]

Fixed that for you… “strongest” didn’t belong

Alright so I’m not sure if you guys are wrong about what 6’4" 165 looks like or if I’m wrong about my weight. But I don’t think I quite look like the volleyball player. Anyway here’s a really shitty pic I just took so that there’s no confusion. Please excuse my dirty bathroom mirror and abnormally small nipples.

Anyway I know you can’t tell much, but it’s not like my arms are complete sticks and I’m not, yknow, emaciated looking. At least.