T Nation

Bench Press Help

Let me start by saying that I have been lurking here for some time, but have not posted. I hope that some of you here who are stronger and/or more experienced than me can offer me some assisrtance in figuring out my bench press problems.

I am:
22 years old
5’11" 215 lbs
my raw bench max is 330
my shirted bench max is 355 (inzer high performance single ply)

I use a slightly modified westside style program.
my sticking point is usually a few inches from my chest. and i have relatively long arms for my height.

my lats and upper back are relatively strong and i dont think that they are my major weakness.
my triceps/lockout strength is average at best, but i rarely have lockout issues if i get it past my sticking point. (about 2 inches from chest)

while this is not a bad bench press, it is certainly not a good one, and it seems that i have been spining my wheels for a while at right around these weights.

about 2 months ago i had a minor pec strain, that lingered for a while. however i am slowly getting back to full benching (i did close grip, and partial ROM as i worked my way back).

my set up, arch and technique are generally very good, however my most recent problem has been that when i get to near maximal weights, on ME workouts, or towards the ends of sets on a RE bench workout, i have been starting to let the bar float back towards my face as i finish the lift.

i have never had this problem in the past, and i cannot seem to figure out why i am doing it. with the lighter weights, and warmup sets i press in a straight line, but when i get to about 90% this starts to happen.

also on a possibly related note, my biggest weakness in pressing is my shoulder strength, which is especially evident in overhead pressing.
my overhead press max is only 195, and my push press max is 270.

it seems that even when i spend time training my overhead lifts they do not move up, nor when i try training them indirectly (ie: more lockout work, more shoulder raises etc…) do they move.
also when doing overhead lifts i seem to tend to lean my hips forward and come up onto my toes.

i cannot figure out why i do this, but i feel like i need to even when i try not to.
also my sticking point on overhead press is right around eye level give or take a couple of inches.

thank you in advance for any help that anyone can offer, or any suggestions or different exercises to try or techniques to work on. i know that i have thrown out a huge pile of information to look through, but i am just trying to paint an accurate picture of my strengths and weaknesses.

again thanks in advance.

Try some pause benching, 2 second holds for a while should help with that.

[quote]bgonring wrote:
Let me start by saying that I have been lurking here for some time, but have not posted. I hope that some of you here who are stronger and/or more experienced than me can offer me some assisrtance in figuring out my bench press problems.

I am:
22 years old
5’11" 215 lbs
my raw bench max is 330
my shirted bench max is 355 (inzer high performance single ply)

I use a slightly modified westside style program.
my sticking point is usually a few inches from my chest. and i have relatively long arms for my height.

my lats and upper back are relatively strong and i dont think that they are my major weakness.
my triceps/lockout strength is average at best, but i rarely have lockout issues if i get it past my sticking point. (about 2 inches from chest)

while this is not a bad bench press, it is certainly not a good one, and it seems that i have been spining my wheels for a while at right around these weights.

about 2 months ago i had a minor pec strain, that lingered for a while. however i am slowly getting back to full benching (i did close grip, and partial ROM as i worked my way back).

my set up, arch and technique are generally very good, however my most recent problem has been that when i get to near maximal weights, on ME workouts, or towards the ends of sets on a RE bench workout, i have been starting to let the bar float back towards my face as i finish the lift.

i have never had this problem in the past, and i cannot seem to figure out why i am doing it. with the lighter weights, and warmup sets i press in a straight line, but when i get to about 90% this starts to happen.

also on a possibly related note, my biggest weakness in pressing is my shoulder strength, which is especially evident in overhead pressing.
my overhead press max is only 195, and my push press max is 270.

it seems that even when i spend time training my overhead lifts they do not move up, nor when i try training them indirectly (ie: more lockout work, more shoulder raises etc…) do they move.
also when doing overhead lifts i seem to tend to lean my hips forward and come up onto my toes.

i cannot figure out why i do this, but i feel like i need to even when i try not to.
also my sticking point on overhead press is right around eye level give or take a couple of inches.

thank you in advance for any help that anyone can offer, or any suggestions or different exercises to try or techniques to work on. i know that i have thrown out a huge pile of information to look through, but i am just trying to paint an accurate picture of my strengths and weaknesses.

again thanks in advance.
[/quote]

It is obvious from your explaination that your shoulders are your week point. The shoulders are highly involved in the intial push off the chest. Pause work, 1board and two board work will help. Also dumbell work bring the dumbells as low as possible and cambered bar presses are also good choices.

without seeing you bench you may also have a form issue. How’s your leg drive? are you staying tight at the bottom-keeping a good arch and elbows tucked?

As for the bar going back towards your head- that is the natural bar path. that is how I and many other powerlifters press.

you are on the right track when it comes to doing more shoulder work. there’s no easy solution to a muscle weekness. keep hitting the military presses- hard. try to keep your pressing motion as close to your bench motion as possible. Press to the front and take a grip that allows you to tuck the elbows.

good luck,
meat

Agreed. #1 bench assistance exercise for you will be shoulder/military press. Increasing your speed and explosiveness off the chest will help too. Finally since you seem to be a shirted competitor you gotta train your lockout. Given you numbers you should be doing 400-450 on high pin presses and 5-6 board presses.

You should also consider getting a shirt with more pop off the chest. Denim works well in this regard. The Metal shirts seems to have a good rep too.

I didn’t read your whole post word for word, so maybe you explicitly stated this, but what is your goal?

You list both equipped and un-equipped numbers, so which is your priority to improve? You say high end inzer chirt, are you using a rage or rage x?

If you are getting stuck at the bottom of the lift while wearing your bench chirt, it aint giving you the support it could or you are not using it well enough.

So to get more carryover, it appears you need to find someone who knows what the fuck they are doing and work with them because if lifting in competitions, you are giving away lbs. on your bench.

As far as your non-chirted bench, you just gotta get stronger by finding out what assistance exercises work for you and hammering those.

But out of all the shit i just wrote, i could be way off base because i haven’t seen you lift, so its mainly speculation. However, it doesn’t matter who you are or what the situation is, getting stronger fixes everything.

thanks for all the advise everyone, however i just wanted to clear up a few things.

vandalay15
i am not using a high end inzer shirt, i actually have one of he lower level shirts (high performance hd blast). and i do not have problems out of the bottom in the shirt, in fact the only time i have ever failed in a shirt is a few inches from the chest when the bar drifted back towards my face and neck

maraudermeat:
i have a good arch, and i tuck the elbows, bring the bar low, however i am a bit confused by something that you posted, about it being the natural path to bring the bar over your face. i have always read from louie simmons and others that a straight path (or near straight at least) of the bar is best. also the amount that i have been brining the bar back seems far from a normal press, especially compared to my usual technique in the past.

again thanks to everyone for taking the time to offer some advice. or at least reinforcement of what i am already doing.

Simmons teaches straight line.

Metal Milita teaches pushing back.

I think the latter is more usable. Yes a straight line is shorter distance, but pushing the bar towards the face near lockout definetly increases lockout strength. Try doing some pin presses at lockout either with the bar straight over where the bar touches on your chest or over your neck/face. See which is easier.

-Matt

To be precise. Louie used to teach straight and still recommends lifting straight up when training raw for speed work and low board work. However, Bill Crawford et. al. have convinced him that the groove of most shirts mandates a finish above the face. If you go to a EliteFTS workshop that Louie presents at you’ll here is sort of straddles the fence on the issue now.