T Nation

Benched Stalled and is Starting to Go Down


I have been running the Texas method for a few months now and I have gotten some decent gains out of it. My squat has moved up from 300 to 345, however my bench has stalled out big time. My highest 5RM during Texas method was 215 which was 2 weeks ago. Last week I then did 200 5x5 for intensity day and only managed 220x3 at the end of the week. I repeated 200 5x5 again this week and now I can only hit 220x2 at the end of the week. My squat, deadlift and overhead press are all still moving up. I modified the program a few months back so that every week I bench twice and do OHP once. Should I add a third, light bench day? I also was thinking of dropping my 5x5 to 185 but pausing every rep and then working my way back up to 200 5x5 but paused. I noticed I am weak off the chest but I can do rack lockouts with 290. Would this be a good choice? I am also thinking of maybe taking a week off as I have been working out just about every other day for a solid 8 months now. Please let me know what helped you get your bench moving again. Thanks!

Id say move on to 5/3/1 or a 10x3 like Waterbury method

If want to stick with Texas try switching to OHP for 5x5 on the first day. Do not add a third bench day. Also add some direct tricep work like band pressdowns 5x20 or this…

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If this is the only variable you changed it is pretty obvious that you might be under recovering. You can go back to your previous set up and know for sure. You definitely aren’t getting any stronger, so what will it cost you. The other option is to take a deload like you suggested and ride it out a little longer and see. Honestly, I would take a deload either way. I definitely wouldn’t add another day. You have added an extra 10k lbs in total tonnage per every 4wks as it is. I wouldn’t switch programming if you are progressing on your other three lifts. Look at what has changed since. If you are considering trying to stick with the increased workload, you are going to have to look into increasing revovery methods as well. Eating, passive/active recovery, etc.

There are two possibilities: either you are doing more than you can handle and not recovering properly, or you are not doing enough.

On the days that you did 220x3 and 220x2, did you come into the gym feeling sore from the last session? Were you just tired from other factors? I’m assuming you squatted first, so how did that go? Were you exhausted after squatting?

You said that you are benching twice a week and doing OHP once, but what is your setup? Wednesday is supposed to be a recovery day, if you are going for OHP PR’s then it’s no surprise if your bench sucks two days later. Are you doing any other upper body work in addition to bench and OHP?

I see no reason to do rack lockouts.

Well, you said your squat and deadlift are going up, right? Deloading now and then is usually a good idea, but squat and deadlift are much more fatiguing than bench so if those are doing well then deloading is not really necessary.

I didn’t come in feeling sore, but I also did go for OHP PR’s two days before so that may be the problem. The only other upper body work I do are pull ups on recovery day and sometimes I’ll do face pulls on intensity day. After these replies I’m thinking now that maybe I should go back to the original programming where I alternate bench and OHP.

I’ve always struggled with my bench numbers and it has stayed stagnant while other lifts go up. If I focus on it and run something like smolov and keep other lifts just at maintenance, then I make decent improvement.
I wouldn’t worry too much of your other lifts are still improving.

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That often results in mediocre results in both, but it might work better than what you are doing now. You could also just keep OHP on recovery day and bench the two other days, but actually go easy on OHP rather than trying for PR’s.

So you started benching more than the program calls for and your bench stalled? Yet you want to modify it either further and add another bench day? Why don’t you go back to how the program was intended and see if it starts working again? It wasn’t intended to do a volume and intensity bench week every week. You’re probably benching too much for what the program has you doing.

Stop doing 5x5. If you’re gonna do 5x5 then do ramping sets instead of the same weight across all 5 sets. You won’t recover from that fast enough.

Take 185 lbs and do 1-2 sets of reps - no more than 10 per set and no less than 5. The idea is to hit 10 reps on both sets (you want to push hard) basically “maxing out” on both sets but no higher than 10 reps per set. Add 5lb the next week and do the same thing. Keep adding weight until you can’t get 2 sets of 5 reps. You can either start over or add 5lbs each week for two more weeks regardless of the reps and then start over.

The idea is to work up to 1-2 work sets. Get those done and then go do your accessory work.

Don’t spend a lot of time warming up. 3-4 sets should be plenty. Keep the reps conservative on the warm up. Intensity is what builds strength and muscle.

This is as simple as it gets but it works very very well. You know what you have to get done every time you go in. It gives you a goal and makes you work hard and allows for better recovery.

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Try the following:

Monday - Bench - 6 sets of 3 ascending with two drop sets of 8 and 15
Press - 3 x 10-15 light
Dips - 25 total reps weighted or assisted as appropriate

Wednesday - Press - Heavy to a 3RM
Close grip 3 x 10-15 Medium
Tricep work - 60 to 100 reps

Friday - Bench 6 x 5
DB Bench 3-5 sets total reps 60
Light shoulder dumbbell work 60-100 reps

If this is too much to incorporate into the TM, you can make one of these days a Sunday.

The Texas Method has a bunch of strategies on what to do when you stall. Have a google for what to do when stalling on the texas method.