T Nation

Bench Not Making Progress


#1


I hope the image I attached is visible. You should see that, in my 9th week (not counting deload) and progress on 3 of the 4 lifts is amazing, but bench is very flat. I think I might know the problem, but looking for advice.

I should mention I am 45 (5'8'', 220lbs) so age could certainly be a limiter here, either in gains or recovery. Been lifting (typical 5*5 stuff) for a year before starting 5-3-1.

I may be doing to much. Doing BBB variation 1, so after my 5/3/1 and my 5x10's, I typically pick 2 exercises, and do 3x8 of each. Usually pick from Wide-bench, Close-grip, DB flies, DB bench, incline - something related to benching.

I also think my triceps may be the limiter.

So now I plan to just pick 1 exercise for the 3*8's, and have it be something more tricep focused : closegrip, pin press, skullcrushers etc.

Was my original plan wrong? The same approach is working for the other 3 lifts, obviously, so just not sure.

thanks


#2

should explain the chart - every week after my AMRAP, I plug what I did into a 1RM calculator to get ‘theoretical’ 1RM. The chart shows % change in my 1RM compared to the 1RM I used to come up with my first TM. So, squat dead & press increasing very nicely and at similar rates, while bench not really doing much


#3

[quote]Majrpayne wrote:
I hope the image I attached is visible. You should see that, in my 9th week (not counting deload) and progress on 3 of the 4 lifts is amazing, but bench is very flat. I think I might know the problem, but looking for advice.

I should mention I am 45 (5’8’’, 220lbs) so age could certainly be a limiter here, either in gains or recovery. Been lifting (typical 5*5 stuff) for a year before starting 5-3-1.

I may be doing to much. Doing BBB variation 1, so after my 5/3/1 and my 5x10’s, I typically pick 2 exercises, and do 3x8 of each. Usually pick from Wide-bench, Close-grip, DB flies, DB bench, incline - something related to benching.

I also think my triceps may be the limiter.

So now I plan to just pick 1 exercise for the 3*8’s, and have it be something more tricep focused : closegrip, pin press, skullcrushers etc.

Was my original plan wrong? The same approach is working for the other 3 lifts, obviously, so just not sure.

thanks[/quote]

Here are a couple of things to consider:

  1. BBB doesn’t always work for strength. It’s high volume, and, by name, it’s designed to illicit a size increase, not necessarily strength.

  2. Though you are doing BBB, you saw strength increases on 3 out of 4 lifts. Keep riding that wave. Rarely will you see 3 lifts progress at once, much less 4.

  3. Strength gains are not linear. Generally, given consistency and time, your strength will jump up after ittle to no progress for an extended period of time rather than a steady climb.

  4. Maybe it’s time to run a different 5/3/1 style, say doing FSL for 5x5 after the main sets and get some supplemental work at a higher percentage.

  5. Keep in mind that one or two lifts can be problem areas for some. They may never catch up with the other lifts in terms of strength increase.

Keep pushing!


#4

[quote]JoeyWaters wrote:

[quote]Majrpayne wrote:
I hope the image I attached is visible. You should see that, in my 9th week (not counting deload) and progress on 3 of the 4 lifts is amazing, but bench is very flat. I think I might know the problem, but looking for advice.

I should mention I am 45 (5’8’’, 220lbs) so age could certainly be a limiter here, either in gains or recovery. Been lifting (typical 5*5 stuff) for a year before starting 5-3-1.

I may be doing to much. Doing BBB variation 1, so after my 5/3/1 and my 5x10’s, I typically pick 2 exercises, and do 3x8 of each. Usually pick from Wide-bench, Close-grip, DB flies, DB bench, incline - something related to benching.

I also think my triceps may be the limiter.

So now I plan to just pick 1 exercise for the 3*8’s, and have it be something more tricep focused : closegrip, pin press, skullcrushers etc.

Was my original plan wrong? The same approach is working for the other 3 lifts, obviously, so just not sure.

thanks[/quote]

Here are a couple of things to consider:

  1. BBB doesn’t always work for strength. It’s high volume, and, by name, it’s designed to illicit a size increase, not necessarily strength.

  2. Though you are doing BBB, you saw strength increases on 3 out of 4 lifts. Keep riding that wave. Rarely will you see 3 lifts progress at once, much less 4.

  3. Strength gains are not linear. Generally, given consistency and time, your strength will jump up after ittle to no progress for an extended period of time rather than a steady climb.

  4. Maybe it’s time to run a different 5/3/1 style, say doing FSL for 5x5 after the main sets and get some supplemental work at a higher percentage.

  5. Keep in mind that one or two lifts can be problem areas for some. They may never catch up with the other lifts in terms of strength increase.

Keep pushing! This is it, great answer joey
[/quote]


#5

Just keep in mind that there can be big fluctuations in what 1RM estimators return, especially when we’re talking the difference between 5 and 10% (doubly so if your lifting closer to 140 than 400).

If your press is progressing, I wouldn’t worry about this. A slight change in the focus of your lifting isn’t a bad thing though, there are lots of other great templates.


#6

^This

In my experience as an older lifter (42 now, started at 40), I need to be careful of too much volume. I am making steady progress with one or two joker sets or heavy singles and one FSL. In the past, I’ve had success with the Simply Strength template.