T Nation

Bench press cheater?

Hey t-boys and t-girls, i have a query for you: first, FWIW, i’m female. and i’m doing the german volume routine, and when i do the chest-tri portion, my triceps start to give out long before my pecs do, so on sunday, i re-racked the bar and widened my grip to finish out my set of 10. my question is: is that cheating or a perfectly acceptable solution to whiny triceps?
also, is there something else i should do to strengthen my triceps so they don’t short-change my chest workouts?

My triceps aren’t bad, but they lag a lot when compared to chest on the bench. I try to keep some of my sets on the bench fairly close-gripped. This emphasizes the tri’s more. Also work on your lower-tricep mass. I usually do this by short-ranged dips or one of the one’s out of the article, Big Bench.

I’d stick with the wider grip for bench for the moment till your tris are strong enough. On Arm day, Do close grip presses for triceps. This will help the triceps involvement in the bench press.

LT, triceps are almost always the weak point on people’s benches. You’re not alone. The other responses were right on - close-grips (luuuuuv to see the ladies doing close-grips!) are the way to go to remedy this problem. However, here’s a slightly more advanced routine that I had good results from:

Load an EZ curl bar and do a set of brain crushers (use a weight that allows you 8-10 reps, slow tempo); without racking the bar, shift your grip slightly and pound out another 6 reps of close-grip presses (faster tempo). Then rack the bar, run over to the dip station and do dips to failure. (Actually, since you’re a woman, you probably won’t have the strength to do dips at that point, so why don’t you try 3-4 negatives instead?) Two, maybe three tri-sets should have your triceps up to par in no time, and you’ll get incredible pumps. Hope this helps.

Try reverse close grip bench presses (also know as curl grip bench presses) they nail the triceps and i feel i get more out of them than normal close grip benches. Hope this helps.

Kill your tri’s on arm day they are one of the fastest recovering muscles in your body. Bench press is all about tri’s. If you want a big bench the tri’s will get it for you not your chest.

Thanks for the feedback guys! One thing tho: on the GVT program, triceps are trained with chest. Needless to say, by the time I’ve done 100 sets of bench presses of varied nature, my tris are shot! It makes me feel like I’m overtraining them and therefore my bench presses will stagnate and my tris won’t get stronger or bigger.
Any of you T-mag writers (TC, didn’t you birth this GVT baby?) have any suggestions on maybe a variation so my tris don’t feel overtrained, or will it simply balance out as I continue the program?

You could try training biceps with chest and traiing triceps with back. This would allow you to superset a pushing movement and a pulling movement back and forth…For example…Bench press rest 30 seconds arm curl rest 30 seconds bench press rest 30 seconds etc…until all your sets are complete.

Like someone else said, tri’s are the weak point in most people’s bench. Since you’re using GVT, try this… Start off with 3-4 sets of close grip benches, followed by 3 sets of medium grip, followed by 3 sets of wide grip. The close grips first will prioritize your triceps in the workout, which is what you want since that’s your weak point. Afterwards, do 3 sets of JM presses for triceps. These will work your triceps like crazy and are a great bench assist.

Thanks Spanky, I’ll give that a try, but … um … what’s JM?

LT, JM Blakely (JM = John Mark I think) came up with this exercise. You unrack the weight and lower it, letting your forearms fold in towards your biceps while keeping your elbows up. Then just reverse the motion to press the weight back up. The bar should be somwhere around your neck or chin in the bottom position. Go to Google and do a search on JM Press, or go to Freaksonature (on Deepsquatter’s site) where there’s a video clip of it.

A little confused here. It’s been said that the tris are the weak point in most people’s bench. However, when lifting raw, is that really true? I understand that the sticking point for most raw benchers is at the bottom to midpoint of the bench. Wouldn’t that point more to either the pecs, delts, serratus? I would think that if the arms are wanting to flare out and rely more on the chest, it’s because of weak front delts and/or serratus. But then again, I could be wrong. If the problem was from the midpoit on, I would suspect the tris then.

just idle curiousity LT…
when you do lat work such as lat pull downs, BB rows, std rows, whatever, do you find your bi’s tiring out like your tri’s do when you bench?
i am not sure why, but when i have trained females in the past 3/4 of them initially complain of their arms tiring first before their chest or lats (in their respective exercises).
incidentally, do you think you could provide any kind of objective description of your bench technique?

hey jason: re tired bis on pulling exercises: my grip tends to give out soonest when i’m doing pulldowns or seated rows. to tell the truth, i don’t notice my biceps much when i’m doing those exercises.
as for my bench press form, i think it’s pretty good. <has improved a lot since i began reading these T-yahoos when they were at MM :-)>
someone mentioned maybe weaker delts or serratus a factor bench press weaknesses, but in my case, i very clearly feel my triceps screaming bloody murder, and then pffftt! – can’t push the weight past midway or control it on the way down.

spanky: thanks for the tip on JM presses and where to find visuals. i’ll check 'em out.