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Bench Stalled, Which Program Should I Use?

I’ve been using Jonnie Candito’s 6 week linear programming for the past 3 cycles so far.
6 weeks ago, I’ve hit 315 lbs on the Bench Press, 445 lbs on the Squat and 495 lbs on the Deadlift.

Today, I finished another cycle and managed to hit 455 lbs on the Squat and 515 on the Deadlift. However, I’ve failed to hit 320 lbs on the Bench Press. It was partly a technique program, because the bar slipped out of my grip on the way up, it bent my palm backwards and fell on my chest. I did not get injured, because I set the bars high enough to spot me.

Do you guys suggest I keep using the same program or start a new one? Which programs have you more advanced guys used to increase your total, when you already hit a 3-4-5 “magic” numbers on the big lifts? I am 220 lbs, 6’2’’ 25 year old male.

Thank you all very much for reading.

So candito has a 6 week strength program and a linear progression program.

I’d take the following course:

If the bench was just a slip/off day but you feel stronger than last time around then I wouldn’t change anything.

If not and you are doing the linear program then I would move to the 6 week program.

If not and you are doing the 6 week strength program then move onto something else. If you like his programming then he has an advanced bench program.

I was using Candito 6 week + Advanced Bench combined. Not even sure if it’s his linear or his strength program.

Sounds like you should keep doing what you’ve been dong and clean up your technique. You don’t HAVE to pr every time you test your numbers. 6 weeks isn’t enough time to gauge anything really. If you’re bench doesn’t move in 6 months, then maybe it’s time to evaluate some things.

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Alright, thanks for the advice.
And still, I’d like to ask some more experienced lifters: which programs have you used once you’ve reached the 3-4-5 numbers on the big three? What do you think is the most effective way to move your bench up from the 300’s, your squat from the 400’s and you deadlift from the 500’s?

As it was said already, until they stall for a longer period, ie 6 months, keep doing what you were doing to get them where they are. Chances are, you can milk more out of it if you do the same program and take a cycle or 2 to do the same weights with better technique, more solid form. If you move the same weights with more solid technique, more explosively, and/or slower eccentrics/bottom pauses, that still means you got stronger. Also with less wear and tear on the joints, and a better base to try and hit higher numbers in a new cycle.
What’s 6-12 weeks in decades of training? Take that time and make your current weights feel even smoother, faster, and easier, then try and push weight again for a cycle or 2.

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Generally speaking the same program that got you there will keep getting you progress.

I’m basically a conjugate only guy but i’ve done some 5/3/1 and some triphasic training.

The problem I see is people don’t understand programming 99% of the time so they don’t know WHY something stops working.

Things like super high frequency IMO don’t work for a very long time ( 3-5+ years ) but there’s always exceptions to the rule. Eventually recovery has to be a main focus.

I’ll 2nd the post above. Recovery really is everything. Without it being sufficient, forget about getting stronger regardless of the program.

Also, as was stated, 6 weeks of training is nothing to gauge progress. You should be more concerned where you are each year in adding to your total.

Trust the work you’re doing. Recover. Work on perfecting you setup and technique. The numbers will come but embrace the work it takes to get there. Its gonna hurt.

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Thanks for the replies, guys. Yes, it’s true that there’s nothing weird about not adding 5 pounds after a 6-week training cycle, especially for bench press. The other lifts have been going up by 20 pounds though, and that’s a good thing. I need to refine my bench press technique, big time. Full body tension, leg drive, shoulders being tucked and pulling down with my lats.
I’m definitely not a novice anymore and that means I cannot progress every 2 weeks. These aren’t novice numbers, either. The stronger you get, the longer it takes to become stronger. So I might stick with Candito’s 6 week program for the rest of the year before switching it up to something else.

If you’re running a canned program you’re a novice. What I mean by this is if you weren’t a novice you’d know what to do when your bench stalls, you wouldn’t know which program to use, you would have to ask T-Nation.

Sure they are. Dave Tate benched 500 pounds in high school, do you think that means he wasn’t a novice?

Novice, Intermediate, Master, Pro - all of these are things to describe skill, knowledge and experience. Just because some corn fed kid in Ohio squats 650 in 11th grade doesn’t mean he’s not a novice.

None of this is a knock on you by the way, I’m just trying to convey that numbers don’t mean anything as it relates to being a novice or not. I know plenty of novices that have all the knowledge in the world but can’t squat 500lbs.

I think sticking with your 6 week program for a bit is a good idea, however at some point you can’t just reuse the exact same template, you’ll need to modify here and there to suite your individual needs.


I have always had issues with programs. They rarely take into account a person’s recovery.

You should eventually start basing your program on principles rather than rigid programming.

Conjugate is the only philosophy I know that is always thinking and changing based on lifter needs. However you can do that on your own without it being conjugate.

If your bench didn’t go up and you’re asking why…think! Not enough volume? Intensity? Recovery-sleep/food? Stress? Technique? Focus? Lots to think about.

I had never in my lifting career had more than 335 on the bar. I hit a really easy 365 with a pretty simple program. I expect to hit 385 after another cycle or two.

I’m making progress on the other lifts as well, and expect to hit PRs soon.

What I did would be easy to adapt to a target of 335.

I picked the following 10 weights that I would use to work up to a new single PR at the end of the program. 45, 95,135,185, 225, 275, 295, 315, 335, 365. These were only weights I used.

I set a rep target of 10 and work my way up those weights. If I get 10, I go up to the next weight. If I don’t get 10 reps, I go back down. I always stop the set when rep speed slows significantly, which is be between 1-3 RIR, depending on lift/weight/fatigue. The first week of the last cycle was:
275x6 - 3 RIR
275x4 - 1 RIR
After I fail to get the target reps, i do two more sets with the same rules.

The next week the target reps drop to 6, what I hit on the top set. So week 2 of the last cycle looked like:
275x6 - 3 RIR
295x6 - 1 RIR
315x3 - 1 RIR
295x4 - 2 RIR

The next week the target reps dropped to 3
335x3 - 0 RIR
335x2 - 1 RIR

Probably should have cut 335 at 2, but the 2nd rep was only slightly slower. I never do more than 10 sets, so only one back-off set.

Because 335x3 indicates I should be able to hit 365, I deloaded my other lifts for a week and hit a very easy 365 the next bench day.

Had I got 335x1 with less than 2 RIR or x 2 with 0 RIR, I would have started a new cycle with target reps at 10.

I’ve run this basic template quite a few different ways, manipulating the target rep progression, days per week, full-body vs. split, back off set strategy, etc. I’ve always seen improvement…until I do something stupid.

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