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Bench Numbers Suck... Why?


Hey guys, I was just at the gym to do a few maxes and find out the progress I have made over the last few months... I have been eating clean, eating lots, and I know it's early to demand huge results, but it just blew me away that my bench hasn't increase hardly at ALL.

I have watched the Dave Tate video, and it helped, sure... I feel more confident when I get down to lift, but it hasn't shown any number gains.

I weigh 147, I am 5'9, very low BF, and couldn't get any more than 165 on bench today. But I can do three sets of 155, of five reps each... is there some imbalance that I should work on? I have been doing my dips, my tris are coming along, and I have been declining(I can do more weight in decline, but not much) and have also had the perfect pushup for a while now.

I know it sounds like I am a young kid just begging for secrets, really I'm not, I was just wondering what you guys thought the reason my 1RM is so low when I can grind out reps of just a little bit less weight, day in day out.


Dude, I feel the EXACT same way about my bench, and, I have the same patterns as you, easy 10-20 pounds less, but the thing is, it USED to be the only thing I really concern myself with. Don't get pissed about it, concentrate on other lifts like your squat or deadlift, but continue benching :slight_smile:

Kk, so here is the a list of the basics of bodybuilding/weightlifting:


If you don't follow any of those rules, DO IT NOW, if you do follow all those rules, sob like me as a fellow low bencher.

BTW: Eat something, your skinny as hell, you need to live, and, total body emphasis should be a last resort.


lol I knew you would attack the abs :stuck_out_tongue:
It's not that I want to keep the low BF, that's honestly not a problem for me. I have been eating healthy though, fast food like once or twice a month, I go through peanut butter and milk and eggs and cans of tuna and frosted mini wheat cereal and oatmeal like nothing.

I have been squatting, I just maxed out to a 315 DL today, I squat and leg press and Bulgarian Split Squat like a crazy man, I promise I have plenty of intensity...
my muscle milk will be in before the end of the week, so my goal is to get a 200 lb bench before the end of the year. 3 months and I will be mostly focused on the back and legs, secondary on the upper body...

I was just wondering if it were something that I should do other than just keep killin the bench press. Thanks for the tips, for sure.

(Just for the record, the abs don't turn any girls off, as far as I have ever heard :slight_smile:


Are you giving internet advices at 120 lbs or I misunderstand your post?


wow, mmm are you serious???, if so then try one thing, one your next BP session work up to a heavy set of five reps with 160 pounds. Do the same for the next training session, but work up to a heavy set with 165. (if you can't get 5 reps then try again on next BP session).

there you go, your plateau has been broken


I am just the opposite of you guys. I can only Rep 155x3 yet I can rep 175x2/ Kinda weird aint it?


You are legitimate sir, and, I removed the previous post, because, I was thinking you would take it badly

You've got the whole jist of bodybuilding, and, the information you gave me was helpful enough for me to understand that YOU understand lifting.

But, you need to eat more, A LOT more, and, stop doing any form of cardio work, it's completely unnessacary at your bodyweight period.

As of now, I can only reccomend the 5/3/1 method (search it up) because it revolves around strength training...

Good luck man


Dude, believe me, I platued at 225 and that was NOT the solution, unless you consider 2 months at a lowly 215-225 a decent gain, I would still consider that platueing, as far as I know, he must make his body open to mass gain to stimulate muscle growth, 145 is fucking light son.

tuchavito, 200-250 is still in the super easy gains range for a person who weighs 200 pounds >_> (me)


yep i get what you say, but my point is, OP says that he can do 3 sets of 5 reps with 155, but can only do a single with 165???? that's a 10 pounds difference.

i bet it has more to do with his BP form.

and definitely, at 5'9" OP is really skinny, just eat more.


Everyone wants instant gratification. It took me maybe about 6 weeks to move my bench from 335x3 to 340x3. Adding 10 pounds in two months is a total of 60 pounds in a year which comes out to 300 pounds in 5 years. Considering an average bench of 150 for begginers that would give you a 450 pound bench in 5 years. That's awesome progress.


Oh I know it's light... I crushed a vertebrae and haven't been able to lift since August of '06. I am just now getting back into the numbers I was in high school.

So anyway, 5/3/1 sounds pretty legit, I have looked it up in the past, I just figured I would get some volume first before going for the heavy weight gains of the 5/3/1 program, I was going to cycle between the 5/3/1 and a more hypertrophy focus, just to keep things gaining equally.


Wendler would recommend you to start with another program, maybe 5x5. but you can try 5/3/1, it's awesome, also i wouldn't suggest to"cycle" programs. Stick at least 4 cycles with 5/3/1, then report back, you'll be amazed. (i added like 30kg or 66 pounds to my 5RM on DL in just 4 cycles)

just focus on getting stronger.


But, I have only been lifting for a year and I weigh 200 pounds >_< I guess there are the super easy gains which I am in the stage of now.

Then the super super super easy gains which are when you first start lifting.

ORRR I can be a faggot, and, I can blame it on my scrawny ass gene pool LOL

  1. If you're 5 9 147 you're not eating much.....What exactly are you eating
  2. What does the rest of your routine look like
  3. 165 at 147 is 12% over bodyweight which isn't awful for a beginner
  4. It's worth mentioning twice...you're nearly 5 10 and don't even weigh 150?? You're not eating a lot. At all. Or you're running 40 miles per week.


4 cycles sounds legit, I would reccomend longer but, that's minimal,

however, he should dive into 5/3/1 because he has been lifting legitmately, 5x5 is basic and effective and, I'm sure he's already doing something similar to this, but, personally the load is ineffective the last couple sets imo for me, can't seem to put in enough intensity to maintain


i guess you're talking about doing 5 sets with the same weight.

well there are many 5x5 approaches, that's why i told the OP to WORK UP TO a heavy set of five.

For example, he can do

then keep increasing weihgt each week on the last set. just my .02, that's how i've came trought many plateaus.


Mate no secrets to tell you, but your training age seems young... what does that mean...

While typically an AVERAGE lifter should expect (AS A GUIDE ONLY) say: 1rm x 85% = 5rm, in the real world you may see anywhere from say 75% to 90% depending on many factors, including training age, muscle fiber types, training style, etc.

As you get older (in terms of training age) the the difference between your rep maxes will become more pronounced and you will develop a >10lbs difference between you 1rm and 5rm that you are seeing now. Assuming you have average muscle fiber type distributions.

Personally I had the same experience years ago when my max bench was my ~5rm bench, i just couldn't hold anymore weight, not even 5kgs more, but the weight i could hold i could get 4-5 pretty smooth reps with. Today they are quite different numbers.


Sometimes when you think you are pushing hard, you just don't know what hard means.

At the weight you are working with, don't be afraid to get pinned to the bench and need to roll yourself out. Barring a bone breaking or some other extraordinarily unusual event, you aren't even going to get hurt with the weight you are using.

Push yourself and push the bar until you see spots and get pinned to the bench.


most of what you said is true, but I don't know about doing 10-15 reps for mass gains, that seems to high. specially if your trying to build muscle


To just sum up several of the last posts, here goes:

I DO know what it is to lift hard, like I mentioned, I have been injury limited for the last few years so it's kind of deceiving... I should be way past where I am now, but that's no big deal... Shit happens.

I train hard. I hit it hard every time I am in the gym, and I have a spotter every time, I lift so close to my max that it's not safe if I don't. I literally pushed for probably close to 8-10 seconds to get 165 locked out, and most of it was the bottom of the rep, so I was wondering what would be my weakness in this area.

Most people are assuming by my body weight I don't eat... I eat healthy, I eat a lot... 4-6 eggs in the morning and 5-6 meals during the duration of the day(none of which are protein shakes) is plenty, that's well over the beginners start at proper nutrition.
Like mentioned, I am okay with losing some muscle definition, I am eating a shit-ton, and will keep on. I was asking what would help me get bigger, stronger....

for the guy that said I run 40 miles a week.... does 5-8 count? I have a pretty ripped physique. Not much 'extra' sitting around on my ass.