T Nation

Bench still sucks. What needs improvement?


#1

5 lbs PR. Still feel like triceps are lagging.


#2

I watched the video a couple times and im sorry to say, but I dont see any glaring weaknesses. Have you ever thought about hamerring close grips and floor presses for a few months and dropping your competition grip while you do it? Just a thought big guy.


#3

Haven't your lower rep sets been steadily increasing? If so, I wouldn't worry about ONLY a 5lb pr in your 8 rep range. That is getting to the point of measuring strength endurance rather than max strength.


#4

Looks good dude. I think the only thing that needs improvement is the human shoulder lol. What an overcomplicated, injury prone joint...

Are your shoulders feeling good on the bench?


#5

Chicksan- I wish I could but close grip destroys my shoulders if to much volume or weight is used. I have been trying to incorporate them. If I do close to a 2-3 board then I can do CG but not sure how beneficial. Def appreciate in sight on it.

Ecchastang- They are very slowly at least compared to my other lifts.

Csulli- Much better than before since I am very slowly learning how to use my lats. Def still have to monitor volume on it.


#6

No matter at what level you are it always comes down to:

(1) Improve setup it is impossible to see from the outside if you are doing it well - given your strength levels I would say no Hypertrophy primary muscle groups (front delts, pecs, triceps in that order).


#7

Is there some thing I can do to show the set up because, no one has commented on my set up online or in person.


#8

Overall your setup looks pretty good. One thing that I did notice, is it looks like you lower the bar high on your chest, rather than closer to the top of your abs. Could be just the angle of the video, but you have a pretty good arch, yet it looks like you are touching nipples, or just below. I have less arch, and touch about 3 inches below nipples. With you (possibly) touching that high, it keeps your elbows flared more than necessary, and you aren't able to use your lats as much in the initial drive off the bottom.

All of that is based off the camera angle, but thats the way it looks.


#9

Gain weight
Do more lat work/hypertrophy
Add a pause each rep
More air
Better grip
Higher heels (weightlifting shoes)

You seem weaker towards the top of the lift, but this could be because you go down with such speed and get a little bounce thus covering any chest/shoulder weaknesses. If you have been in the same track for long, change what you are currently doing do something else.


#10

Have you noticed that your elbows flare out more the further up you go? I would say bring your elbows further in though it might be camera angle, try filming from the front. Floor presses really helped me with my sticking point at the top, but maybe try board presses too?

Other than that looks good.


#11

Why do so many powerlifters think this is a bad thing?


#12

Yeah I always thought that ideally your elbows should be more tucked at the bottom position and then flare out a bit as you reach lockout? Although I always try to go with someone should do whatever feels natural, unless of course its posing a serious injury risk or likely to really reduce performance.


#13

Elbows should flare as the weight comes back over the shoulder joint. To not do that would keep you at a mechanically disadvantaged position.


#14

Exactly my point. My guess is it's some misguided attempt to "use the lats" to do something they're not mechanically able to do.

Reed, I don't know what to tell you, man. I'd say your shoulder issues are hindering you more than anything. I would suggest you become a supple leopard in the upper body and get healthy.

I was stuck around 400 for years because of my bad shoulder. But within the last three I've gotten to 435 by staying healthy and benching more frequently.


#15

A lot of times a painfully sore muscle means a weak muscle. What's your OHP like? How often do you hit your delts? Shoulder work never did anything for me, but then again my shoulders never got beatup from doing close grips / floor press.

DB presses and dead benches have helped me a lot as well as JM presses.

Your setup looks fine, your form looks fine I guess. You just bench like a vegetarian.


#16

FWIW, I think you look solid D, especially the first few reps.

I will deviate from the "standard" advice typically given for raw lifters as I've had great success in the past using this method and wouldn't speak on it if I had not done so personally. Ok so the triceps have enormous potential to move massive weights. Tons of people suffer from shoulder and pec injuries ( myself included on BOTH those) but rarely does anyone have triceps injuries. I'm not saying they don't happen I'm saying they are significantly less likely.

So, I would recommend doing reverse band benches with average bands to start. You're what benching in the mid to upper 3's now right? Anyways, with the rev band you'll be able to deload the weight off the chest from very little to well over 100#. This will really let you bomb the shit out of the triceps and really learn to push hard all the way to lock out. I had tremendous success with setting the bands to take off about 75# off the chest & chosing a weight about 50# over my max. This way the weight on the chest was 25# "light" and at the top, 50# "heavy". I could generally do sets of 3-5 with this weight and would do do sets until 3 was a grinder. That was usually 4-5 sets in. Each week I would set the bands up the same bu add bar weight. Soon I was repping 100ish# over max off the chest. So to give numbers when I first started this I could press 315 once or twice. I'd have about 355-365 on the bar and have the bands. This would put the bar weigh off the chest around 295 and full on at the top. In the end I was banging triples with 455 and had pressed 395 off the chest. So I went from a 315 bench to almost 4 wheels in about 7 months. Then I blew out my shoulder with a freaking 60# dumbbell, go figure lol so now I'm a bit over 2 years post shoulder rebuild and have gone back to this method again. Ironically I have gone from being able to triple 275 to triple in the mid 3's. With the rev band I can bang out 405 x 3. ( I also bought a Titan RAM) it's cool and all but not as aggressive as the rev band set up.

Note, Rev bands in a rack is ideal. If you only bench on the bench in the video, much like I did before I bought a rack, you can screw in large I-Bolts into a ceiling rafter above your bench and run a large caribiner or even a small length of chain to give the bands somewhere to attach to. I did this and it works well. Plus, you can carbiner a triceps rope or vee handle to it to do chin ups too, or a sex swing :wink: lol

Hope this helps man.