T Nation

Bottom End Strength


Hey all
I,ve been training for my first bench contest in april and find that my bottom end strength sucks ass. once I get 2-3 inches off my chest the wt takes off. Its that starting point thats killing me. what are yor thoughts on doing pauses with a cambered bar.Or any other ideas for training off the chest.


I hear speed reps with about 60% of your max helps with the first few inches.



Maybe you could try using isometrics (pushing against an immovable object)at the sticking point of your bench.

CT has a bunch of articles on it.

Hope that helps.



Give this article a read, learning to stay tight and bringing up my upper back size/strength was a big key in learning how to press bigger weights for me.


I remember hearing that paused dumbell bench presses bring up starting strength too. It seems to help me anyway.


Thanks for the replies. On my dynamic day I do 10x3 at 50% with chains from a pause they seem to help with 30 -45 sec rest between sets. I,ve reached a plateau and im frustrated. I will add some db work and see if this helps
should i add them to a dynamic day or max effort day and go heavy. thanks again for the help.


Thanks for the article. I will read it


I say building the upper back is number one. I like reverse band rows, straight arm pulldowns, straight arm leaning back pullups-(attempt).

I firmly believe NOT light dynamic effort for bottom end strength, but the best form of the bench to get started for me is just touch and go benches for 2-3 reps, but 80% max.


Arch harder and take those 2-3 inches right out of your range of motion.


Cambered Bar would be a good start. Wide-grip declines, too...


for you its all about your upper back, never mind cambered bars or isometrics, tighen your bench set up, build a stronger back and learn to use your back benching


Do you compete raw of shirted? I assume that it's raw since you're concerned about getting the bar off your chest.

First, you need to drop the chains on speed day and use 50-55% of your 1RM depending on how fast you are and do these with a 2 sec pause, 10x3 would be too much, stick with 6x3.

Then, alternate Close Grip benches and Dumbell bench presses every other week for 5x5-8.

You must work your lats, go for volume.

Forget direct tricep work.

On your ME Day:

week 1: BP 4x3 with 85%
week 2: BP work up to an easy 1RM
week 3: 1 Board Press 5-7 singles @ 90% (of your 1 Board max)
week 4: Deload by doing Illegal Wide benches working up to a 5-6RM
week 7: 1 Board Press 4x3 with 85%
week 8: 1 Board Press up to an easy 1RM
week 9: Bench Press 5-7 singles @ 90%
week 10: Deload (same as above)

After your ME exercise do assistance work for your shoulders, Bbell or Dbell Presses 5x8-10.

Again, work your lats with a different exercise 60 total reps, arrange the rep/set structure to your liking.

No direct tricep work.


Use db's so that you can go below your chest. Or as someone already said a cambered bar. Also you can do pushups with your hands on chairs and then go below where you would touch.


This has been mentioned but wanted to restate it:

work on your setup! Staying tight with a good arch and good leg drive is extremly important


If you are bench raw, Iso holds in the stretch (just of the chest) helped me a lot with my starting strength. Different people have had different results, that's just me. If you are benching shirted, well then I'm not gonna pretend like I have a clue on how to help you.


buy a bench shirt.....

oh and did I say ignore everything everyone said other than work your back? oh wait, I did....


I have never competed this will be a first. Im 39 and learning more everyday
thanks for all the advice. I Train raw and will start to learn the shirt a month to 6 wks out from contest. Im still trying to figure out what shirt is best suited to me elbows out arched bencher. Thanks again for all the great advice.


Assuming you don't personally know him or have ever watched him bench...how can you make this statement?


Out of curiosity, why is 10x3 too much? I do 9x3 and it's worked great for me. First 3: wide grip; 2nd 3: med. grip; last 3: close grip.
A lot of times for my last 3 sets, I'll do 3 speed reps and then 5 pauses (close gripped).


What fed will you be lifting in? Do you touch high on your chest or lower on your sternum? You already mentioned that you arch and elbows out. All this is important when buying a shirt. I think that all the radical cut shirts (RageX, F6)are more suited for a high arch, tucked elbows, and touching low.

My Rage X forces me to touch below my sternum. I don't really want to recommend anything without watching you press, but I think maybe an Inzer Phenom or a close neck double denim would suit your described style of lifting. Do you train with anyone who has experience with equipped benching? Also I like DB shoulder presses and upper back work (face pulls, t bar shrugs) for my bottom end strength.