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Bench Press Savior

Wassup everybody,

Today was my test max at the bench press. I ran a 5-week cycle, Johnnie Candito’s one. It is pure linear periodization and I was hoping at the very least for a 5lbs PR. I was going for 250 pounds, but the rep just popped out of my chest maybe an inch or two, and it stalled there. It’s been maybe 8 months that my bench has stalled.

I’ve tried everything. I suspect a triceps weakness and a big one. And I don’t know anymore how to periodize my training. I’m a bit lost since I don’t even know what to do. Currently, I’m weighing 160 pounds and I want to shoot for a 275 lbs, 9 months from now.

Could some of you give me some advices. I’m pretty sure my form is solid, I got a tight back, great arch and a good leg drive. I’ve been training for 4 years now and I’ve never been so lost. I have a great knowledge about powerlifting programs such as WB, 5/3/1, etc. but I feel like I have someone to tell me what to do instead of jumping from lilypad from lilypad as Tate would say.

Thanks

Charles

gain some weight.

[quote]Bobinini wrote:
the rep just popped out of my chest maybe an inch or two, and it stalled there.

I suspect a triceps weakness and a big one.[/quote]

The weight is stuck 1-2" above the chest and you’re expecting a triceps weakness? How is that? If your weakness is really triceps then your sticking point would be at lockout.

IMHO, if this is the way you’re analyzing your lift then you might reconsider looking deeper into the bio mechanics of the lift.

Where you got stuck is an evidence of anterior delts or maybe lats weakness. Do you focus on OHP, latteral and side raises…? Barbell rows, pull ups…?

Are you engaging the lats as you should? DO you tuck your elbows?

I suggest you film your lift to get better advice and focus on your weaknesses because there’s a big chance you’re missing a thing or two.

Thanks for the answer @kalb, really aggressive though.

And yes, I think i might suffer from a triceps weakness, too.

In the last month or so, i’ve been really working on my OHP, i’m doing 135 x 4 as a PR.
As for the lats, it is very possible that I don’t recruit them at all during the lift. I’ve never
felt them working off the chest. I’ll drop the weight and I’ll practice engage them more during the lift.

For the elbows, I tuck them, except for my 1RM where I feel a technical breakdown, I lost that tuck
and they become maybe 70-80 degrees to my body.

I’ll film myself doing 225 tomorrow and I’ll post the video here.

Thanks

Charles

[quote]kalb wrote:

[quote]Bobinini wrote:
the rep just popped out of my chest maybe an inch or two, and it stalled there.

I suspect a triceps weakness and a big one.[/quote]

The weight is stuck 1-2" above the chest and you’re expecting a triceps weakness? How is that? If your weakness is really triceps then your sticking point would be at lockout.

IMHO, if this is the way you’re analyzing your lift then you might reconsider looking deeper into the bio mechanics of the lift.

Where you got stuck is an evidence of anterior delts or maybe lats weakness.
[/quote]

Actually, if you delve deeper into biomechanics research you will learn that “your” (common PLing broscience actually) way to identify muscular weaknesses is overly simplistic and typically just wrong.

I agree with the other poster above me that you need to gain upper body MUSCLE (not just bw weight) to get you bench up significantly. Significant relative strength gains are typically not gonna happen beyond a certain point.

You identified the problem yourself in the last post. You lost your tightness. This isn’t rocket science.

Not to mention, linear progression programs when you’ve been training for several years CAN work, but they also might not work since you’ve already gotten the neural adaptations and “learning to lift” gains. To progress further, you will probably have to gain some weight; not because people your size can’t bench more, but because YOU clearly are stuck right now.

Try this…

Hey man I have a fairly good bench and I have just transitioned to powerlifting a month ago…

I am 20 y/o 175lbs, 315 bench

I have always been a huge dip guy and I believe the carry over to my bench press is spot on. Do dips. Lots of dips. I usually pyramid up and then rep out body weight after. Give it a try dude I promise you will get a better bench

1st set = Dips + 45lbs x 8
2nd set = Dips +90lbs x 6
3rd set = Dips + 135lbs x 4+

Bodyweight till failure, normally between 30-50

Try focusing on your OHP for a few months. It sounds dumb but if your OHP goes up your Bench will follow. I mean standing strict OHP btw. I have been using the cube and ive switched the OHP to the main lift in place of the bench and I do some kind of bench on the “bodybuilding” day. And gain some weight that would probably also help.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:

Actually, if you delve deeper into biomechanics research you will learn that “your” (common PLing broscience actually) way to identify muscular weaknesses is overly simplistic and typically just wrong.

[/quote]

Explain…

[quote]CadetYoung wrote:
gain some weight. [/quote]

I completely agree. At some point your muscles have to hypertrophy to actually gain strength. You’d be better do a hypertrophy program and then going back to a strength program.

When you build muscle, you build more myosin/actin cross-bridges which act to actually contract the muscle. The more cross-bridges, the greater the force produced. Size doesn’t always mean strength, but at some point you do have build more muscle to push more weight.

He doesn’t need a “hypertrophy program” instead of a “strength program” - he needs to carry on with a strength program while eating sufficient amount of clean calories to gain muscle.

Thanks everybody for all your answers,

I will try to incorporate all your tips. Tighten my technique ( will post a video soon for further analysis), I guess would be ideal for now. I’ll also try incorporate Heavy Dips and OHP.

As for BW, I want to keep it as low as possible to have a great relative strength. I know that some of you won’t be in favour of that, but I guess I’ll try to add some lean mass while losing fat to maintain my weight and get stronger.

@mitchellbrown : thanks for your answer, but I don’t agree with you since an hypertrophy program would cause sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which technicaly is not an increase in the fuctional cross-section of the muscle. Continuing on a strength will promote myofibrillar hypertrophy which will build more myosin/actin bridges. But as you say, I have to gain muscle size in order to be stronger.

If you are stalling 1-2 inches off the chest, you have a weak chest, not weak triceps. With that said, why don’t you list what your training has consisted of over the last few months, and list what progress you have had.

I will agree about weighted dips being a great bench press assistance exercise. I do them on bench day, and do incline press on OHP day.

I disagree about needing to gain weight to get stronger, but I tend to be the outlier on here in that regard. Yes, gaining weight will help you get stronger, but it is the easy way out, and many want to get stronger without getting bigger.

Also, are you pausing your reps? Are you pausing your max test? I don’t pause every rep, but I do a couple heavy paused reps every workout, and it will definitely help you off the chest.

post a video of you hitting a top set.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:
Also, are you pausing your reps? Are you pausing your max test? I don’t pause every rep, but I do a couple heavy paused reps every workout, and it will definitely help you off the chest. [/quote]

This is pretty much what I was going to say, do something that you arent already doing to get stronger. Or do more of what you are already doing.

unless youre 4 feet tall, 160 is pretty fucking skinny. i say do more paused benches and gain 10 pounds.

[quote]Dianaballs wrote:
unless youre 4 feet tall, 160 is pretty fucking skinny. i say do more paused benches and gain 10 pounds. [/quote]

I completely agree, at least 10lbs and watch your bench jump!

also, how did the program go? did you program right ie not missing weights, having a rep in the tank each set etc.?