T Nation

First Sticking Point


Hi Guys,

I'm looking for a bit of help. I've been training seriously for the last 6 months or so.
In that time I've made good gains.

On all my major lifts: Deadlift, Bent Row, Overhead press, Pulldown etc I am still making gains.
I have one movement though that is really starting to annoty me, as I have reached a sticking point. That move is the Bench press.

My one rep max has been stuck at 270 for 2 months now.

I work on a routine of 4 sets of 6 reps per exercise. I have been stuck using 242 for my work sets for weeks now. I seem to always miss reps, so am getting things like 2 sets of 5 reps and 2 sets of 4 for example. When I miss the rep targes like this, I will drop the weight to 220 at the end and rep out. Usually for 6 or 7 reps.

I think that my problem is the first couple of inches of pressing off of my chest, and that I have disproportional strength in my triceps, as I can close grip 220 for an easy 6-8 reps, while I battle for every rep on the Bench Press.

So, I guess my question is: What can I do to help the first part of the press? I can't use dumbell presses, as the dumbells in my gym are not heavy enough.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your help.


If the sticking point is in your bottom position of the press then you need to train the botom position. I would advise setting the pins of the power rack in a position so you have to start the exercise in the bottom position. Also try pressing with chains. The weight will be lighter in the bottom and heavier as you begin raising the bar this will alow you to go light enough in the bottom position to continue repping and get more overload in the top so you can improve there as well.


I just saw an article that mentioned this:

One idea, instead of doing 4 work sets, just do 3, and keep increasing the weight. If you start missing reps on the 3rd set, then drop to 2 sets, and keep increasing the weight.

Once you drop to zero sets, try a different approach.


Great article, thanks.


Don't miss reps, it will kill your progress. If you've been training through for the past 6 months and are now benching 240 for reps, try deloading.

Also check out any other assisting muscles that might be weak, like external rotators, rear delts, etc. Make sure your upper back is keeping pace. If you've been hitting the bent over row hard, try switching to a chest supported t-bar row. The higher row compliments the bench press well.


Thanks for all this guys. I'll definitely check out that article when I get the chance