T Nation

Bringing Up Your Bench

So I was thinking about posting this as part of the 2009 Battleplans thread, but I figured this could be a thread unto itself.

What is your preferred way to bring up the bench press? I’m talking about raw bench, as that is what I am focusing on. Not so much individual exercises–I’m talking about strategies, training styles, layouts, schemes etc.

Here’s an approach I’m looking at trying, and have begun… If anybody has some feedback on it that has a good raw bench, I’d like to hear it, whether it should work or not, tweaks etc. But I don’t just want to get feedback on my idea–I wanna know how other people like to train the bench!


Scheme is as follows–Bench 2x week, one top end day and one full ROM day.

Top end day currently consists of:

Board press for rep max,
incline dumbbell or barbell (narrow grip),
dumbbell shoulder press,
2 lat exercises and 1 tricep esolation.

Sometimes I will throw a reverse band bench in as my second exercise for a heavy 5 or 3, and ditch the shoulder presses. I’m actually trying to figure out whether I want to make the reverse band bench a regular 2nd movement or keep incline work. There are pros to each, tricep overload for rev. bands, and shoulder/tricep work for incline.

Day 2 consists of:

flat bench for 5-8 reps,
dumbbell decline bench for 8-10 reps
tricep movement
lateral shoulder raises
lat work

The general idea is taking something from Paul Anderson’s squat training and applying it to benching–Start with the 5 board press, find a 10 RM, decrease to 4 board, try to hit the same weight for 8 RM, decrease to 3 board hit a 6 RM, 2 board, etc. Spend 2-3 weeks on each board to push the reps up as much as possible. When I work the 4-5 boards my full ROM day is heaviest because the ROM on boards is really limited and I don’t want to lose bottom end strength. 1-3 boards my bottom end work won’t be quite as heavy.

Thoughts?

I’ve tried that laddering down the boards in the past, but I never saw it all the way through. I never made it past the 3 board.

In theory it sounds good, but I still don’t know how it works in practice.

I’m going to try this bench cycle very soon. MM2K bench program. Use the 2nd version the newer, simplified improved etc.
Supposed to be pretty damn effective! If you don’t want to try it, I can be the guinea first and do it then report to you, but I think it is a solid program.
http://www.geocities.com/~slopitch/mm2k/

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
So I was thinking about posting this as part of the 2009 Battleplans thread, but I figured this could be a thread unto itself.

What is your preferred way to bring up the bench press? I’m talking about raw bench, as that is what I am focusing on. Not so much individual exercises–I’m talking about strategies, training styles, layouts, schemes etc.

Here’s an approach I’m looking at trying, and have begun… If anybody has some feedback on it that has a good raw bench, I’d like to hear it, whether it should work or not, tweaks etc. But I don’t just want to get feedback on my idea–I wanna know how other people like to train the bench!


Scheme is as follows–Bench 2x week, one top end day and one full ROM day.

Top end day currently consists of:

Board press for rep max,
incline dumbbell or barbell (narrow grip),
dumbbell shoulder press,
2 lat exercises and 1 tricep esolation.

Sometimes I will throw a reverse band bench in as my second exercise for a heavy 5 or 3, and ditch the shoulder presses. I’m actually trying to figure out whether I want to make the reverse band bench a regular 2nd movement or keep incline work. There are pros to each, tricep overload for rev. bands, and shoulder/tricep work for incline.

Day 2 consists of:

flat bench for 5-8 reps,
dumbbell decline bench for 8-10 reps
tricep movement
lateral shoulder raises
lat work

The general idea is taking something from Paul Anderson’s squat training and applying it to benching–Start with the 5 board press, find a 10 RM, decrease to 4 board, try to hit the same weight for 8 RM, decrease to 3 board hit a 6 RM, 2 board, etc. Spend 2-3 weeks on each board to push the reps up as much as possible. When I work the 4-5 boards my full ROM day is heaviest because the ROM on boards is really limited and I don’t want to lose bottom end strength. 1-3 boards my bottom end work won’t be quite as heavy.

Thoughts?[/quote]

i tried the laddering as well. didn’t work well for me, but I learned quite a bit if I wanted to try it again. I used 6", 4", 3", 2" foam rollers instead of boards. I started with a 6 rep max at the 6". I went down a roller every other week. Starting at a 6 rep max with the 6" was too heavy. I’de have to go back and look, but don’t think I was able to get a single on the 3" or 2". Probably an indication that my lockout (not using gear)wasn’t an issue. Later realized this was indeed the case.

I think you will be ok starting with higher reps. I like doing a partial ROM day if benching more than once a week. I feel like my shoulders handle this a little better.

If I were doing it again, I would start with a weight that was no more than 110-120% of my max. I would do this with reverse bands rather than boards or foam. Starting with heavier bands and working my way down. I have a hard time keeping my regular bench form with the thicker boards or foam. My elbows really flair due to little to no lat involvement. With reverse bands, my shoulders still get a break and form is identicle.

I have the same problem with rack pulls or partial ROM squats. My form is much better if I keep full ROM and just deload a bit at the bottom if that’s what I need.

This is what I do. Its sheiko, so it’ll seem like “low volume,” but I’m also deadlifting or squatting in the same day:

Day1:

CG Bench: Work up to 80% of max for 5 sets of 3.

DB Press: Whatever weight I can do for 10-12 rep2 for 4 sets. I do not go to failure like a burn out, but try to complete the sets.

Day 2:

Seated military press: Work up to 80% of max for 5 sets of 3.

DB Rows (crow rows): work up to 20-25 reps. If I get that weight, increase by 5 - 10 lbs and see how many I can do and work up again. A few sets of 10 before the 20-25 rep attempt.

Day 3:

Bench Press: 80% x3x5

DB Press: Heavy weight x6x5 (5 sets of 6)

I have problems with bottom end strength, so that’s what I am focused on, clearly. I used to do westside and that only got me to 270. I do use bands on close grip when the time is right.

I went back to basics and it seems to have helped.

I think increasing rom from 6 board to no boards won’t work. You do NOT work lats and associated muscles doing 4-6 board in the same way or to the same degree as a full rom bench. Bringing things back to basics can help point out flaws in form and strength issues that specialized exercises don’t.

Interesting stuff, thanks guys. SK, I used to use only the basics. I’ve just started throwing the specialized exercises in in the last 2 months–my goal is to hit a 405 raw bench this year (at 365 now).

I noticed a boost in numbers when I threw the boards in there, so I figured I’d keep them in. Just in case you missed it, I do have a full ROM day as well as the boards (and I’m also working my lats on each bench day in addition to a dedicated back day)

I’ve never tried Sheiko, but I’ve been interested in it for a while. I just haven’t read enough to really understand how to manipulate things in the template. You like it I assume, since you’ve been using it for a while now.

dont make it more complicated then it is, thats my best recommendation.

and consider this a lesson, everyone always has an area that is weaker, find that area, exploit it, and then find the other one.

i find writing out schedules are great, but very rarely do i abide by every little detail written out

45-60 minute workouts, focus on your weaknesses, use all methods (me, se, re, de, strip sets, rest-pause, failure, etc…) very very intense, get in, get out, and you can probably hit 425 by the end of the year.

p’c

This seems like the place to post my newest question, so here goes.

What kind of carryover do lying BB tricep extensions have for bench as far as assistance? I do these a lot, but is there something more efficient or ideal?

My logic is that if I go from 70lbs x 6 extensions to 100lbs x 6, then my bench will surely increase. Or is this exercise more to get your tris bigger, but not necessarily directly influence bench poundages?

Also, what value do you guys see in dumbell bench work for bench assistance?

The thing that always brings my bench up quickly is One Life a Day.

I don’t know what it is about that program, but man do I respond well to it.

[quote]power_bulker wrote:
This seems like the place to post my newest question, so here goes.

What kind of carryover do lying BB tricep extensions have for bench as far as assistance? I do these a lot, but is there something more efficient or ideal?

My logic is that if I go from 70lbs x 6 extensions to 100lbs x 6, then my bench will surely increase. Or is this exercise more to get your tris bigger, but not necessarily directly influence bench poundages?

Also, what value do you guys see in dumbell bench work for bench assistance?[/quote]

i would do close grip benching, dips, and extensions.

the most effective for myself is close grip, and then dips, extensions are a great accessory though, and obviously your bench will go up.

dumbell bench work for assistance? sure, but it doesnt have to be strictly kept to assistance.

increase the intensity.

At least a million bench routines out there! I agree with CutRawNatural, don’t make it complicated! I am a Bench Only lifter and believe the old saying “everything works for awhile, nothing works forever”. Change routines every 6-8 weeks. I like the 10 singles routine ala Hepburn, also Average Joe, and Metal Militia (if you can take the volume). Here’s my current schedule. As you can see I included only what I feel is absolutely necessary. Lots of time to recover. An old guy special!

Bench Day

  1. Rotate Boards, using 2 boards each workout. I go for a 1RM on the higher board and a 3RM on the lower board.
    Looks like this: 4/3 Board, 3/2 Board, or 2/1 Board. With a deload day the 4th week, I repeat a workout once every 4 weeks.

2)Floor Press, Rep Max rotating 225, 205, and 185.

3)Face Pulls 4x15

4)Rolling Extensions 3x8

Assist Day
1)Miltary Press, Rotate 5RM, 3RM, and 1RM. One hard down set of 5-10 reps.

  1. DB Rows, 5x5

  2. JM Press 4x6

I also do a short squat and pull type day for overall strength.

Lastly, keep a journal! Every set and rep. How you feel. What you ate. Before you lift, check the journal. Be determined to lift more this time! More weight, reps, volume. When you stall hard - change it up BUT give each program a good chance to work.