Bench Press: Good Grind on Last Rep or My Fault for Mis-Grooving It?

Hello. Here is my bench from today’s “1+” day on Wendler 5-3-1.

On the last rep, I really ground it out. However, after looking at the video, I now think I could have possibly done more reps because I mis-grooved the 3rd rep, and it took all the juice out of these old bones to even attempt another rep.

What do you think? Also, do you think I was leg-driving enough? Any other thoughts? Thanks!

I think that was your 3 rep max, and I think it would be foolish to assume you had more reps in the tank. The reason it looks like you ‘missed the groove’ is because you stalled at your natural sticking point. When that happened, the bar moved around a little bit, and then you ended up pushing through it. You were on the right path until the bar stopped though.


Back the weight right off and get good reps in, each of those reps looked significantly different to the other.


Well done on the reps, you seemed happy with the achievement and that counts for something!

Agree to the others, I think that was your 3RM on that day, but there is lots of room to grow. I am sure you can see yourself that your bar path is not very consistent and that needs some focus I would say. You may need to have some more stability/mass in your shoulders and upper back. Are you forcefully retracting your shoulder blades to create that large chest?

Was this a bench only day? did you do anything else to warmup before (other than bench pressing)?

To work on upper back stability before benching, I would recommend to do face pulls or some other external rotation movement with a light rubber band before benching. Also I often do pullups (static holds not reps) during my bench warmup sets to get a pump/solid base in my lats. Might be placebo but it does work for me.

How many cycles in are you at this point? If it’s super early on, drop the weight and restart light. If you’ve been on 5/3/1 for a few cycles, either run a 7th week, or go back a few cycles and start there. 3 reps on a “1+” day is super low.

Your bar path is all over the place.

Make sure on your lighter weights you are hitting a consistent bar path. Come up with a check list of ques and run through it for each rep. It doesn’t have to be a long list.

Find where you want to touch, this video is pretty good

Then consistently touch there.

Hi. Yes, this was bench only day. I admit that I need to spend more time on the warm ups. I will take your suggestions. I appreciate it.

Hi. This “1+” was what I call “week 7”, which means I ran through 7 cycles of 5/3/1 to get here (e.g., 5/3/1, then 5/3/1, then 5/3/1, etc. for 7 times).

Hope this makes sense.

Just curious-- which “week” do you suggest I drop down to? Thanks

Very interesting video! I will try that to determine the right touch point.

I try to hit the same spot on the ceiling when I bench, but I suppose when the weight gets heavy, it is harder (so I guess everyone is correct that my bar path is a bit inconsistent).


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Cycle 1: 5/3/1 on bench (start)
Cycle 2: 5/3/1 on bench (with increased weight from cycle 1)
Cycle 3: 5/3/1 on bench (with increased weight from cycle 2)

etc., etc. through Cycle 7, which is there I am today at 210 lbs on “1+” day.

Make sense?

I know how 531 works, but I’m confused on your “This 1+ is what is I call “week 7” post. It sounds like you’re doing a 5/3/1 1s week every week which makes zero sense to me.

I’m trying to understand if you are on cycle 7 which would be a hypothetical 21-28 weeks or are you running some kind of horrible creation where a cycle is a week and you’re on week 7.

EDIT: Have you read the books?

Yes, 21-28 week total as you indicated. Yes, I read the books.

It looks like you understand what you’re trying to do with your leg drive, getting up on your traps and driving up the bench. Your feet don’t move and your hips look pretty steady. So that’s good. Maybe you get a little flattened out during the 3rd rep.

Everybody mentioned inconsistent bar path. Have you been doing only “PR sets” or “plus sets” the whole time you’ve used 5/3/1? Other people have talked about having sloppy technique after chasing rep PRs for awhile.

Have you thought about the using 5s Progression with some back off sets to sharpen up your bench stroke?

Also you’re starting to look more muscley, good job.

Okay so you should know what the 7th week protocol and what 5 forward 3 back are. Choose one and do that, then start pushing forward again. Keep in mind, there shouldn’t be a time where you can’t do 5 reps with your TM.

I did this on my DL because I wasn’t happy with the way it looked. Admittedly, I skipped it on the bench. I will give it a shot.

Let me go back to the book so I make sure I understand the 5s progression, etc. I agree my stroke needs improvement.

thanks for the muscley comment. I’ve been trying that intermittent fasting thing, and I think I am shedding body fat, but for some reason my total weight isn’t changing (it’s actually going up by a few pounds, which makes no sense).

In a nut shell instead of beating Rep PRs and going to “failure” you just do sets of 5 reps. So instead of “worrying” about getting through all those reps you just focus on solid, smooth execution.

Then after that you do some lighter sets of bench pressing, again not going to failure, or using big weights, just getting good reps in. As a result every rep can be the same and you can pay attention to all the “little things” or the Checklist of Cues.

After a cycle or two you can rotate away from that boring style and (hopefully) have more a more consistent bench going forward.

Gaining muscles and losing fat is the dream scenario. Maybe eating less often is helping you focus on good eating.

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Hi. I found a cool app called Iron Path and applied it to my bench video. In a previous post, someone mentioned that my bar path is different on each rep.

In the attached video, it looks like I am somewhat consistent in my bar path, but obviously not perfect.

Can you please give me a sense of how “off” this bar path is, and how negatively it is affecting my lifts? I don’t think a bench bar path is perfectly up and down, and it is truly on an angle back (from the side) like in the video, but not sure. Obviously I have a lot to work on, but any thoughts on how disasterous this bar path is would be appreciated!


What would you consider a “good” bar path, or I guess, which way are you trying to make the bar move?

Like how are you trying to make the bar move? And do you feel like it’s moving that way?