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Conquering Bench Press Conundrum


I suck at Bench press, and if you do too, pay close attention to this thread to see if one can break the confined limit of Bench Press gene.

15 years old, 5'8, 142 lbs. I have being lifting for 6 months, 4 months on Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength. I improved considerably but personally I think I sucked, mainly because I don't eat enough :confused:

Past two workouts I've plateaued on DL, Squat and Bench which made me realize the importance of food. I am going to switch to 1x5 and see where that is going to take me.

My stats:

Squat 220 lbs
Deadlift 185 lbs (I am seriously thinking about dropping.)
Bench Press: 125 lbs (isn't this just ridiculous?)
Shoulder Press standing: 80 lbs
Pullups: 11-12 reps

As you can see, my squat is pretty good and I have no problem with it. My shoulder press is increasing steadily as I have just switched from sitting to standing. My conundrum is Deadlift and Bench Press. Personally I would like to just stop doing DL, I can always pull out 5 reps on 185 lbs but never at 190lbs, been like this for about 2 months. Bench press is an ego thing, 4 months of SS and I am not benching my body weight yet, I am pretty pissed at myself about that. However This is my goal by the time I plateau on 1x5:

Squat: 250 lbs
Deadlift: N/A
Bench Press: 160 lbs
Shoulder Press: 120 lbs
Pullup Max: 20 reps

I am prepared to take in alot of calorie and protein and rest from now on. And watch how my bench press goes.


Intook a lot more food than before for the past two days. Continued my 1x5 routine on Squat and am starting weighted pullups instead of rows.

Squat: 110, 135, 155, 180, 210
felt so easy. really easy.

Shoulder Press standing: 55, 85, 85, 85
It was alright, I almost fell backwards on the second working set fourth rep but successfully completed set 3.

Weighted Pullups(10lbs): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Felt alright.

Working with a 50lbs gripper to build my forearm because my forearm is TINNYY. Did 55 reps for the past two days.
Benching next workout on thurseday, going to attempt 130 lbs again with good rest and good food. Good luck to me.


How much did your lifts and bodyweight improve? I suspect you have to eat WAY more. If that's your problem you can milk a good deal more out of Starting Strength.

Keep it up!


hastalles: I've been eating alot more for the past 4 days. 70g of protein just this morning. Thanks anyway for your encouragement.

Today I successfully completed my bench and deadlift. Heres what i did

Squat: 110, 135, 160, 190, 215

Bench: 85, 100, 115, 130
I forgot to do my first worm up set but it was alright

Deadlift: 85, 135, 175, 190
Forgot to use mixed hand grip but still able to pull out all the reps.

Weighted Pullup(12.5lbs): 12 reps.
Couldn't pull out some of them so...

Eating seems to be making a difference soo i will be continuing with this. Just hope i don't gain much fat.


Shoulder press was sad. Only got 1 rep in. Couldn't get the 2nd rep even after resting for 3 minutes. o.O

Squat: 115, 140, 170, 195, 220
Easy, next workout I'd be doing 2 plates which I couldn't do before. Excited!!

Shoulder Press: 45, 90(1 rep), 85(3 reps), 85(4 reps)
I don't know why this is happening. Shoulder press seems to be very unstable. I hope it has something to do with me not eating breakfast this morning and working out hungry.

Pullups(12.5 lbs): 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 3
Accidentally did one extra rep but thats alright, I guess.


Most amazing workout ever. Here it is:

Squat: 120, 145, 170, 205, 225
Im pretty sure I went low enuf for 225lbs but I dont know if thats too good to be true.

Bench: 85, 95, 105, 115, 135
Last rep of 135 I had to twist myself to get the bar on the rack. It was a bad position when I tried that but I guess it still counts.

Deadlift: 95, 135, 155, 175, 195
I attempted to do it mix-hand grip but my overall form felt pretty horrible. Maybe i got too excited cuz of the bench and squat that I forgot bout how to deadlift :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Pullup: 10
I did my max amount of pullups. I could do 12 but I think the bench affected my max pullup.

3 personal records today. Best workout I think I've ever had. I think a lot of this goes to the fact that I ate a Steak Burger 30 min before I worked out. Also cuz I've been eating alottt for the past week after being reminded of that everywhere on this forum. Gonna keep working, keep gaining, and keep strengthing. :smiley:


Also, because Im doing Deadlift again, my goal for it is to be able to lift 225 before I plateau on this 1x5.


Shit workout. But I kinda expected it since my hamstring and lower back is still sore from last workout. Afterschool I felt down right horrible and tired so here it is:

Squat: 120, 140, 175, 205, 230x3
Last set fourth rep was a failure. Gonna try again next week.

Military Press: 55, 90x2, failure
Down right fucken shitass lil shit. Got 1 more rep in than last time... HORRAY!!! -.-

Weighted Pullup(15 lbs): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Only happy thing that I did.

Going to see how my lower back and hamstring goes, until then gonna eat a shit load and sleep a ton load for my military press, or else imma have to reset though it will just be the first time. Towards bench, 140 lbs next workout, good luck to me.


Bench still a coundrum:

Squat: 120, 145, 185, 205, 230
I shouldve probably went down an inch or two more but I don't know how low I was exactly.

Bench: 65, 85, 105, 115, 140x1.5
Pretty shit, is my warmup the problem? the fact i jumped 25 lbs for my last two sets? dunnoe

Deadlift: 95, 135, 155, 200
Form was sorta bad cuz someone was videotaping me so i was in a hurry. But it felt easy.

Pullups: 11, 6, 5
Was bored waiting for others to finish so i did 22.

Bench and MP, plz go up in the next two workouts. Sincerly, my arm.


What would you like to weigh? You need to eat for the weight that you want to be and not for the weight that you currently are. A good rule of thumb is to take in about 20 calories per pound of bodyweight if you want to gain weight. So if you want to weigh 160 for example you should be eating around 3200 calories a day.

Another thing: it seems like you dont really have enough volume in your workouts to actually put on some size. You should deffinitly consider following a program like the Juggernaut method or Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 as there is more volume with the main lifts and the assistance exercises will help you pack on the mass that you want.


I cureently want to keep increasing my strength and thats why i keep my working volume low. But I will switch to something similiar to 5/3/1 or look into the Juggernaut method or maybe even buy the book when Im stronger.
By the way, does the rule of the thumb thing for gaining weight the same for gaining muscle? If i take 3200 calories a day while working out with no extra cardio etc, would I gain fat instead of muscle?

Anywayz, expected shit workout todai so Im not dissapointed haha.

Squat: 125, 145, 185, 205, 235x2.5
Yup, expected failure so I will attempt to increase sucessfully next workout. (Y)

Military Press: 55, 90x3
LOL, it seems like my shoulder press is going up by 1 rep every workout. 2 last, and 1 before last. Though I amm going to reset for the first time. Also felt bit uncomfortable MPing, possible common shoulder pain?

Weighted Pullups(17.5lbs): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
XArena said I am not doing my full range of motion, that im not hanging myself down enough. o.O though happy with my developement.

Weird, I can see that I am gaining fat over the past month as a result of eating a lot of calories and around 4 McGanbangs(8 junior chicken, 8 mcdouble stack together make 4. 1520 calories, 74g protein per 2.) per week, however my weight is actually going down. o.O weighted 141.6 today. Kinda getting self concious about my love handles but fuck dat, im on a strength routine. :smiley:


you say you're eating more, but then after two or three days between workouts you're "too sore" to get a max effort in. also, you mention not eating breakfast one day and training on an empty stomach.

your recovery is lacking and that usually means you're not eating enough. something doesn't sound right. a few big meals spread throughout the week doesn't mean anything if your daily caloric intake is insufficient.


Stick to a strick eating schedule every day. Mine is breakfast, gym, post workout shake, lunch, 2nd lunch, dinner, and possibly additional food if im still hungry. Keep in mind these are pretty big meals and I eat like this every day regardless of if I have a workout that day or not. Since I am 6'3, my metabolism is a lot higher than yours and I do not really have problems with storing excess bodyfat, so im not really sure how your body will handle the extra calories. One thing you should deffinitly watch is what kind of food you are eating. If you are worried about fat gain, dont eat food that is high is saturated or trans fats, and try to stay away from refined carbs. The sad truth with weight gain is that in order to gain muscle, you have to gain some fat as well. Thats just how it works. I am not an expert on nutrition, so you may want to also check out some articles on this site for meal plans, or even in bodybuilding magazines. They can usually give you the right idea of what kinds of foods to eat so that you gain muscle and not fat.

I realize that you are training for strength and and that is why you keep your volume low, but you will not be able to put on any size, which if im not mistaken is your other training goal. You should look into a training template that is designed to pack on mass and strength simultaneously, like Madcows 5x5. I have not tried that program personally, but I am sure there are others on this site who have that can give you some pointers.


staying away from refined carbs post-workout is a bad idea...


has anyone seen powerlifting in prison? Those guys get 3 meals a day and squat heavy arse weight. Im not saying that diet doesnt count or have a huge impact but come on. You cant say that everything comes down to dieting.

there is the video.


Does it matter if I miss a meal though if my daily caloric/carbs/protein intake is sufficient? I tend to always miss a meal...

that sore thing I mentioned was the result of me doing 5 sets of deadlift, kinda stupid of me. So far, I think im recovering but I don't really know cuz it might just be the work of the new routine.

I don't even know what refined carbs are so im not gonna get into that.

Transfat, thats the word. Damn mcdonald, getting so heated and excited bout the calories and protein in Mcganbangs that I forgot trans fat exists. Gonna cut down on it and eat tunas now.

I am training for strength at the moment but my ultimate goal is to get muscular. The thing is, I am having difficulty simply benching, squatting my max for 1 set so I dont know how would I do Madcow 5x5 with my max weight. Wouldn't that overwork my muscles and actually "shrink" me? I mean, look at my bench press, its shit.


if those guys are getting the calories they need in 3 meals, then theyre ok. but for a ginormous dude that consumed more than 3000 kcal a day, each meal is larger than 1000 kcal. think about how much food that is, especially if it's clean.

DIET IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. if you fail at eating, you will fail to gain size and strength.

if you tend to "always miss a meal" and don't make up for it, that is 500 kcal or whatever worth of energy and material that you are not putting into your body, and at worst it is 500 kcal that your body will get from elsewhere in your body. your body doesn't care where calories come from, all it knows is that it needs them. YOUR BODY WILL EAT ITSELF TO GET THE CALORIES IT NEEDS.

as for "overworking" your muscles, that happens rarely, and more often (read: almost all of the time) lack of recovery is the case, and most of that is undereating. I will cite Prof_X as an example. he was a puny 130 lb before he started training. he was only able to sleep 5 hours a night most nights going through dental school. he now weighs about double that. he has stated that EATING MORE ALL THE TIME back then helped make up for the lack of sleep.

mr. popular is another example. he weighed 130 lb before he started training. he now weighs around 180 lb, and has stated that he was making none to mediocre gains UNTIL HE STARTED EATING MORE.

I have been training regularly for the past three years, of which only the last year or so was spent following an intelligent program (5/3/1, then a basic bb split). I've gained 30 lb since the end of my diet in May, 20 of which is above what I believe to be my set point, and I am beating my training log every session and setting new PR's. I am the strongest and biggest I have ever been... and that has happened only since I started eating way more than I previously thought was necessary.

I can't spell it out any more clearly than that. I'll be keeping an eye on you.


True^ I figured those ppl in prison were already lifting before going in. Anywayz, I understand the importance of eating and sleeping.

But today was an exception.

Had 5-6 hours of sleep last night due to a fucked up dream. -,- The funny thing was, I did not feel tired at school or on the bus or anything unlike how I'd always fall asleep in my last period. The effect however took place on my lift todai. DESPITE the fact that I didn't FEEL tired o.O

Squat: 125, 145, 175, 205x1
I was supposed to squat 235 for 5 today but the top and the end of my hamstring started to hurt as if someone was squeezing them tight when I went down for the squat. I just couldn't do it. It felt uncomfortable squatting for the past several weeks but none were as sever as today.

Bench: 65, 95, 115, 140x2
Truth is, benching 115 felt hard... Nothing hurts, just couldn't do it.

Deadlift: 95, 150, 175, 205x0
I thought I forgot how to deadlift, thats how uncomfortable I felt. Couldn't even get the bar off the ground.

Pullups(20lbs): 7/15
Shit, simply couldn't do it.

Again, I FELT energized, not tired, but I guess what I felt was different from what I actually was. Sad sad sad day...


and if you ate enough I guarantee you the lack of sleep would not have mattered as much, if at all.

there are no exceptions, only excuses, poor planning and lack of commitment.

I promise that if you start eating like you should, you will set PR's left and right and make the iron your bitch. until then, you will continue to underperform.


I just calculated of how much food I actually intake this is how much:

On a good day with Mcganbangs: 217g protein and 2164 calories
bad day with Mcgangbangs: 168g protein and 2029 calories

Good day with Tuna sandwich instead: 184g protein and 787 calories
bad day with tuna instead: 128g protein with 707 calories

I wrote out all my fricken countings and shit but for some reason when I clicked submit it dissapeared. -,- anywayz my problem does not lie with protein, it is with calories. Any idea of how do i get enough calories without actually eating fatty McDonald?