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BP Journey: From Under 200 to 500


I have been doing relatively consistent benchpress for almost 3 years. I am 45 years old and a novice lifter. Three repetitions from the halfway point with 505 pounds isn't too bad for an older guy like me (I would assume) anyway, hopefully in some small way I can help contribute. My goal is a full range 565 pound bench press before the age of 46 and ultimately a benchpress of at least 600 pounds. Not sure if I can do it, however, given the fact that I was barely able to get 200 pounds off the bar three years ago shows a little bit of progress (lol...) any pointers or suggestions by knowledgeable benchers would be greatly appreciated, respected, and certainly invited.


Tried to upload this in origional post.


Good work and keep it up. That's not exactly the half-way point by any means, that looks more like a lockout in my opinion but still impressive.


what is your current full-range max?


Yea I don't see how that was half way. My ROM is like 18-24 inches or something so half way would be at least 9 inches.


Thanks for the feedback guys. My current full range of bench presses 465 -- on a Smith rack. Yes to answer the questions in regard to the halfway point the exact measurement is 7 1/2 inches up via tape measure so the "halfway point" may be off. I had my wife do the tape measure as I lifted the bar without any weight so as to get the amount of inches. Give or take a half an inch -- whatever. Anyway, my point is that I'm working toward a full range 500 pounds. If my calculations are correct I am hoping to be able to do the full range within the year. Do me a favor and before bagging on my lift keep in mind that I couldn't budge bench 200 on a Smith rack (LOL!!!!) which is pathetic. With those thoughts in mind I think that my goals are doable given the progress in under three years.

At age 45 I am thinking about testosterone therapy. The kind where you take injections and the results are supposed to be permanent (I guess? That's what the medical doctor told me, however, he may have been trying to sell his product) Anyway, my strategy is to take a quarter inch piece of plywood when I can do up to six repetitions with the same amount of weight and try it from there. Each progression will be about a quarter of an inch until I am lifting straight from my sternum and all the way up.

Out of curiosity would heavy squats and leg presses affect my bench press at all due to the excessive amount of testosterone stimulation as a result of exercising the legs? I'm from the old Arnold Schwarzenegger days so I'm a bit of a retard when it comes to the latest scientific stuff.


  1. Smith =/= Bench. I can do a helluva lot more on smith then I can on bench. No one here is going to say a 465 smith press is a 465 bench.

  2. We're not bagging your lift, we're giving you advice. It's great you've made such good progress, now it's time to take the training wheels off.

  3. Get blood work done, if your doc says you're on the low range and could do TRT, you might want to look into it (though it is expensive). The results aren't permanent if you stop training. Once you start TRT most people do never go off though.

  4. Work your entire body. From what it seems like you're neglecting your body in particular your legs (maybe your back too, who knows?). Did you see Swarzenegger train bench only? No. He was a god of symmetry and both upper and lower and front to back.

  5. It doesn't sound like you truly have a plan in terms of progression, other then work work work and maybe you'll get it so you'll take the board away. I'd go research westside barbell training methods (some of the biggest benches/squats/deadlifts in the world) and see what real training programs for lifting very heavy stuff is like. You'll learn a lot at the very least.

As I've said, it's great progress you've made, now time to make more progress and to allow yourself a chance at success.



i would like to see a vid of a full ROM bench with free weights to actually determine where you are right now. then, i'm sure, there are plenty of us that could help you with improving form, weak points and exercise selection.


Thanks Liquid.

I do squats about once a week. Ive seen guys do squats until they puke or faint trying to jar thier petuitary gland in order to release PNP. I was wondering about doing that or if that is just foolishness. In regard to "bagging" on my lift I wasnt referring to your posting at all.

I used a smith rack because my wife is my only spotter. I had 385 hit my sternum when she spotted me one time. Not a fun experience....it scared the crap out of me. Yes I will post a 465 lift free weight. No problem. Again, I appreciate the feedback Ya'll.



Puking inherently is bad for you for a multitude of reasons (metabolites getting thrown up is never good nor the nutrients you need not to mention your esophagus lining being stripped due to the acid).

Squatting is important and it should suck and there may be times you do throw up (I know I have) but ultimately you don't need to over-do it. TRT would increase test much more then Squatting until you throw up. That being said, get the TRT and Squat. I'd put up your whole routine, it may be that you lack the back stability to progress. We don't know unless we know what you're doing.

I understand the issue of not having a spotter. I currently don't have a training partner but whenever I'm at the gym I simply ask for a spotter (and they're usually terrible which makes me not want to get pinned even more so I know I better get the weight up). If you're lifting at home, ask one of your buds to come over and spot, hell get them into training too and feed off each other, always pushing each other. My training partners have been some of my closest friends due to the nature of the relationship, both of us always striving to make each other better.


Benching with a cage you can go to failure without a spotter. set the pins to stop the bar in between your arched chest and your chest while flat backed. if you fail, you un arch your back and the weight will rest on the rack. You can then slide out from under it.


Liquid (and all),

Again thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it.

Yes, I do work my whole body. When making a statement about the Arnold Schwarzenegger days when I was a teenager I used to lift on a Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday routine. Mondays and Thursdays were chest shoulders and triceps (Wednesdays were off) Tuesdays and Fridays were back biceps and legs. Somewhere another I would throw in calves somehow. This was an old routine that I got in an old workout manual written by Arnold. This exercise hits the muscle twice a week. I tried this early on, however, there is no stinking way that I can recuperate fast enough -- probably due to my age. Perhaps there are some people out there that can do that but I am certainly not one of them LOL!!!!

I have been out of the loop for many many years and am completely ignorant as to the new approaches to lifting. I currently lift on a five day rotation. I started doing that because I began doing some research and continually read about people taking this approach giving the muscles a good 5 to 7 days of full recuperation. I nail every part of my body.

When I started I was a skinny/fat 180 pounds. I'm now a very lean 210. Three years of lifting isn't that much time so perhaps my goal of bench pressing full range of over 500 pounds is a bit enthusiastic. However, judging by the progress thus far I think it is doable.

Here is my strategy for increased bench (the purpose of this thread):

Lifting from the halfway point an amount of weight that is at least 50 pounds heavier than what you can actually lift full range. -- Rationale: shocking the muscle (and the nervous system) into rapidly responding to a weight that it is not accustomed to.

When I am able to lift 505 pounds as seen here in the video 6 to 8 times as opposed to only three I will move the bench that I am laying on up about a half an inch to an inch. Then when I get to that point, and I'm able to lift 505 pound 6 to 8 times (with the bench set at a higher point) I will bring it up another inch and continue the process until I'm able to lift 505 pounds with the weight actually touching my sternum.

This may sound like some kind of a caveman approach (lol...) but doing weight that shocks the muscle into rapid adaptation seems to have worked pretty good so far.



Things have changed but not as much as you think. Now there's a lot more misinformation and bullshit out there, thank God we have T-Nation to at least have somewhat of a shining light in an industry that as a whole fails (notice how everyone is fat these days, I take that as an indication of failure in our industry both as professionals and as a human race).

That being said, just read up a lot on here, you'll learn all sorts of stuff.

Now as far as your benching plan. There are two components to large benches. Power and Speed. Training both is the way to go, hence why I suggest reading up on the westside barbell methodology. Your current plan is likely to plateau (not to mention is brutal on your central nervous system) for lack of training speed and or as I said CNS burnout. You've been making good progress, but going from a 450 bench to a 550 bench is a heck of a lot different then going from a 350 to a 450.

As far as your recovering ability, yes this will decrease with age, again go get blood work done and see how your test levels look. If you can get TRT, might as well in my opinion.



Tell me about it. One minute you hear a personal trainer say one thing -- then comes another along saying something entirely different. It's enough to make a person like me a bit perplexed. I'll check out the information you are talking about and will probably get the blood work done just to see where I'm at testosterone wise.

I'll keep posting progress videos as I move along.

Thanks again,

-- Bench


I'd pick a basic, tried and true program like 5/3/1 or Stronglifts 5x5 and work the hell out of it. Also do as much tricep assistance work as you can without annoying your elbows.


Thanks Cprimero.


Just an fyi (if you didn't know), there's a whole forum page on here for TRT if you want more information on it:



Looks to me you are on the right track. To go from 200 to repping 505 at 7 1/2 inches is pretty fucking amazing even if you were in your 20s. It took me over 10 years of steady lifting to hit a clean 500 lbs BP. Also lifting on a smith is smart if you dont have a spotter. When at all possible stick with the free weight though. Just be careful.

Whats your eating plan?



Again what is your current actual max on the bench and not a smith machine?