T Nation

Bench Routine Critique


#1

i wanted to get everyones oppinion on this routine. i base it off of metal militia style. i bench raw so i think tis more suited to me needs.

Sunday(10am)mini cycle 1

Bench Press - work up to 3rm, if miss PR go for 5rm

50%1x6, 60%1x4, 70%1x3, 80%1x3, 90%1x3, if miss PR, 62%1x5, 72%1x5, 82%1x5

3-4 min rest between light sets, 5-6 min between heavy sets

Ultra Wides - work up to 5rm

60%1x5, 70%1x5, 80%1x5, 82-85%1x5

rest periods same as first

Barbell Rows 75%5x5

4-5 min between sets

Estimated workout time - 1 hour to 1 hour 45 min

Mini Cycle 2 (4pm)

Decline - work up to 5rm

60%1x5, 70%1x5, 80%1x5, 82-85%1x5

4-6 min between sets

Military Press - 75-80%3x5

4-5 min between sets

Hammer Curls - 4x10

Estimated workout time - 40 min- 60min

Wednesday(2:15pm) Mini Cycle 1

Close-Grip Bench - work up to 3rm

50%1x6, 60%1x4, 70%1x3, 80%1x3, 90%1x3

3-4 min rest between light sets, 5-6 min between heavy sets

Bench Press - work up to heavy doubles and singles

60%1x5, 70%1x2, 80%1x2, 85%1x2, 90%1x2, 92%1x1, 95%1x1

3-4 min rest between light sets, 5-6 min between heavy sets

JM Press - 75%3x5

3-4 min between sets

Estimated Workout Time - 1 hour 15 min - 1 hour 45 min

Mini Cycle 2(6:45 pm)

Reverse Grip Bench Press - 2 heavy sets of 5

50%1x5, 65%1x5, 80%2x5

3-4 min rest between light sets, 5-6 min between heavy sets

weighted dips - 3x5

3-5 mni between sets

Lat Pulldown - 4x8

3 min between sets

Estimated Workout Time - 45-60min

To give soem information about myself im 17 207 pounds and have been training for
2 1/2 years and my max bench is about 265. Im a natural lifter. My sticking point is at the bottom a couple inches off the chest so i tryed to incorporate exersizes to help that.

As for my lower body i would like to train it westside, here we go:

Monday

Speed Squat - 50-60%8x3 1 min between sets

Dumbell Lunges - 75%5x5
4-5 min between sets

Leg curl - 3x10
1-3 min between sets

Thursday

Squat - work up to a 3rm

50%1x6, 60%1x4, 70%1x3, 80%1x3, 90%1x3

3-4 min rest between light sets, 5-6 min between heavy sets

Romanian Deadlift - 75%5x5

4-5 min between sets

Oviously im training the lower bodyw ith MUCH less volume and intensity that the upper body but that is because im looking to hit a big bench.

I was thinking with this routine i would do 2-3 weeks on before a backoff week because of the high volume and intensity

Here is how i will do my restoration measures cause i know your all worryed im going to overtrain very fast

Sunday - Contrast Shower after workout, followed by an ice mesage( i dunno how to spell that)

Monday - Contrast shower after workout

Tuesday - 45 min walk on the tredmill, then into the sauna for 10 min

Wednesday - Contrast Shower after workout, followed by an ice mesage

Thursday - Contrast shower after workout

Friday - 45 min walk on the tredmill, then into the sauna for 10 min

Saturday - 45 min walk on the tredmill

ok and now ill cover my diet - ill be eating slightly more to put on about 1 pound per week 40% protein, 40 percent Carbs, 20 Percent Fat, and ill be having
2 scoops of whey protein and a glass of orange juice after each workout, and taking a multi vitimin each day.

im not sure if i missed anything but lets hear oppinion on me doing this. id be starting on thursday.


#2

I admire your dedication, and it looks like you've thought it through pretty well. But since you asked for suggestions:

1 - Yes, I think you're going overboard training twice each bench day. In fact, I don't know how recovering from this volume will be possible, no matter how many contrast showers and sauna sessions you have scheduled. Remember, it isn't about how much you can do. It's about what is optimal for your progress! Cut it back to one workout per day, please.

2 - You need grip work and abdominal work. I see none. Insert these into your lower body days. I also wouldn't neglect some external rotations done on bench days and calf & tibialis work on squat/DL days.

3 - If you're concerned primarily with your bench for societal reasons, I encourage you to look deeper and more long term. If you want to be strong, do all three with equal focus. There are enough meatheads with huge benches and no leg strength. This is more important than you know. How many bench only guys do you see walking around with their shoulders humped over and a rounded upper back.

This is because they don't deadlift heavy (the scapula retraction strength cannot be duplicated fully in rowing movements) or have the flexibility and balance in their hips to appropriately align their spine (which comes from perfecting squat technique and strengthening the posterior chain).

On a positive note, I'm very impressed that you take concern with recovery techniques. That's very rare. Don't neglect the benefit that stretching can give you in this regard. It's also good to see that you're planning rest weeks. Plan one after every three weeks of training, but be prepared to adjust according to how you feel.

Good luck and let me know if I can be of help.


#3

dosent spliting a workout into two sessions reduce the chance of over training to some extent? i think i remember reading CT say thats somewhere.
maybe ill cut the volume back a bit

as for grip work and abdominal work what do you suggest? i never really bothered with either of the two. i figured squats
and over head pressing would help with ab strength and i never bothered to do any grip work.

right now im trying to hit a big bench then i will probably gear a program more toward my lower body than upper body.

as for recovery yah i forgot to put in there that i would be doing plenty of stretching.

thanks for your help

pat


#4

A couple of problems: who retracts their scapula on the deadlift? I guess if you were doing them specifically to build your upper back, but if you're a powerlifter it just makes the range of motion greater. (ignore this if you're bodybuilding)

I don't know a single powerlifter who works their calfs. Sure, they might get some work on good mornings/GHRs, but they don't help you at all on the big three. (I'm assuming he's trying to get a big bench; although it's possible to use metal militia for bodybuilding, I've never heard of it).

I have no idea why you think training the benchpress twice in one workout is a bad idea. It's a foundation of many bench programs, including most people on westside.

Finally, grip work is only necessary if your grip is a limiting factor. I have never dropped a weight because of grip on the deadlift, so I don't see why training it specifically would have a point. (I guess it could help on building overall forearm size if you're a bodybuilder, but I imagine most of the size on your forearms comes from wrist movements, not gripping)


#5

Actually I've seen a few who do. It helps your balance a little bit if it is a major weakness.


#6

A COUPLE OF PROBLEMS: WHO RETRACTS THEIR SCAPULA ON THEIR DEADLIFT?

I do, and you do too, albeit perhaps with a lesser focus. If you didn't, your shoulders would pop out of their socket. I'm not trying to start an argument, but when you next dl pay close attention to the tension behind your shoulder blades. It's there, whether you want it there or not.

When I teach the deadlift, a pronounced scapula retraction is a big priority to protect the shoulder capsule. When the weights get heavy, they certainly come forward on their own.

I DON'T KNOW A SINGLE POWERLIFTER WHO WORKS THEIR CALFS.

I know a few, but that's beside the point. Not many powerlifters get direct calf work, but so what? This guy is 17 years old. He should not be neglecting major muscle groups, and the ability to extend and retract your ankle is an important quality to improve for not only stability but visual impact and transference to sport as well.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU THINK TRAINING THE BENCH PRESS TWICE IN ONE WORKOUT IS A BAD IDEA. IT'S A FOUNDATION OF MANY BENCH PROGRAMS, INCLUDING MOST PEOPLE ON WESTSIDE.

I may be wrong, but I thought his template contained multiple training sessions in one day, to which I am opposed. I wasn't referring to his returning to the bench later in one workout.

FINALLY, GRIP WORK IS ONLY NECESSARY IF YOUR GRIP IS A LIMITING FACTOR. I HAVE NEVER DROPPED A WEIGHT BECAUSE OF GRIP ON THE DEADLIFT, SO I DON'T SEE WHY TRAINING IT SPECIFICALLY WOULD HAVE A POINT.

That is an interesting point, so forgive me if my response is a little long winded. Suggesting that grip work is not needed for deadlifting strength is akin to saying that triceps work is unnecessary for a big bench. Continuing with that analogy, you could just as easily say that improving triceps strength would only be necessary if it was the limiting factor in your bench.

What then should we do? Assess our weak point and train it exclusively? I think not. Most powerlifting schools spend significant time on grip strength, because as DL poundages move up, greater levels of grip strength are required. Sometimes the strength increases between all muscle groups involved in a lift are parallel, sometimes not.

I personally have had to spend a lot of time on grip work in order to hang on to the barbell as my deadlift poundages have gone up, as have all the members of my gym (a small powerlifting gym). Maybe you're an exception, but it's still a great idea for him.


#7

dosent spliting a workout into two sessions reduce the chance of over training to some extent? i think i remember reading CT say thats somewhere.
maybe ill cut the volume back a bit

Two sessions a day can used effectively by some for short periods of time. I don't know CT's opinions on this topic though, because I don't follow his writing very closely. I have, however, seen guys attempt this and fail miserably. It's not only difficult to recover from the volume, but talk about having to live your life around training!

Think about what you can realistically keep up with week after week, year after year. Just be realistic... Start out with one workout a day, four days a week using the Westside template. Add some light recovery work and heavy stretching on the off days.

as for grip work and abdominal work what do you suggest? i never really bothered with either of the two. i figured squats
and over head pressing would help with ab strength and i never bothered to do any grip work.

Add abdominal training in to your list of accessory exercises. Try this... Just pick one heavy ab exercises and do it for 3-5 sets each leg day. For example, you could do weighted sit-ups on an incline board the first day, then woodchoppers on the next. Or Roman chair side raises, then Russian twists. Or Bar rollouts, then swiss ball crunches.

For grip work, same thing. Add it on to your leg days as accessory work. My favorite are plate pinches, captains of crush grippers, wheelbarrow or farmer's walks, and fat bar deadlifts.
Searching for grip training and abdominal training on this site will yield excellent results.

right now im trying to hit a big bench then i will probably gear a program more toward my lower body than upper body.

You can do both provided you're not playing sports right now! Read "the Periodization Bible, Part II" by Dave Tate and use it as your guideline.

as for recovery yah i forgot to put in there that i would be doing plenty of stretching.

Great!

thanks for your help

No problem Pat.

-Doug


#8

Hey, aren't you the same guy that used CT's Bench program?

Howd that work out? Gains? Looking forward to see how much you could put on a bench with that.

How long did you do it for, and how did you deload, and reload for the post 4 weeks?

Anyway, just wondering about that! Looking forward to hear about your results.

There is also a good bench program out right now, by Joel. Maybe you should give that a shot.

-The Truth


#9

yes i did it for 3 weeks on then an unloading week where i just cut the volume about in half. i put on about 15 pounds on my bench in the 4 weeks. since then the alst 2 weeks have been doing some higher reps to let myself fully recover and hopeing to see the numbers go up higher from it.

i was considering going to go back to the program for another 4 week cycle but i feel like going for somethign new. ill prolly go back to it at some point cause its oviously a good program. its actually alot of fun going to the gym 3 times in one day lol.

and about that westside routine that came out for benching, i know its geared toward improving the bench press, but its more of a hybertrophy routine though, so i would prolly just go for a normal westside routine if i were going to do it.


#10

well i think that i could keep up with going to the gym multiple times in a day, when i did CTs routine i had to go 3 times on sunday.

yah i suppose it wouldnt hurt to add an ab exersize and grip exersize to my lower body days.

thanks


#11

Looks like you took the principle of ME work and went nuts!

Your young and growing and not an elite lifter, you don't need some super special program where you basicly have 5 ME bench sessions a week.

Also your correct in thinking 2 lifting sessions a day is a good thing. But this doesnt mean you can double the volume and train 2-3 hours a day. If you want to train twice a day I would look at CT's eastern european body building program. it seperates the heavy and light work into two short sessions that work to benifit each other. AGAIN TRAINING TWICE A DAY DOESNT MEAN YOU CAN OR SHOULD DOUBLE THE VOLUME

edit: Just got a chance to take a second look at it and another big glaring problem - you have NINE pressing movements and TWO pulling movements. I'm sure you know strong lats are important for a big bench, expecially for a raw bencher who has trouble with the lower end of the bench. Let alone the huge muscle imbalances your setting yourself up for and related issues that come along with that.