T Nation

Getting to 350 Max With Some Set Backs


#1

Hey guys. I just want to thank everyone who responds in advance, this site is very helpful and I am truly impressed by the variety of methods and advice that can be found on this site.

So here's the scoop:

I am 25 years old, 6'3 and currently 210 lbs at approx. 9% BF. I have worked out for years but am only now treating training more seriously and thinking about competitions if I can get some high enough PR's to boost my confidence.

I make different goals every 2-3 months, and have achieved them all so far in the past year. They vary greatly because I want the total package (size, strength, power, cut). My newest goals are a 350 bench and a 405 back squat (parallel).

Current max lifts:

deadlift 400-405
back squat 375-385
flat bench 270-280
incline bench 240-245
front squat 265-270
seated shoulder press 180-190

*all of these are barbell exercises
*I give a range because at this point I have steadily noticed strength gains but very rarely perform a one rep max

Here in this thread I am only focused on my bench press but I thought I would show my other numbers to show some balance in my upper/lower body. Maybe you guys can spot some weak points from these max lifts as well. Just writing this I feel that my front squat should be higher?

Ok so my current routine...not the greatest for powerlifting since I do a huge variety of exercises and only recently have dedicated effort towards improving my bench press. I use Thibedeau's warmup method and have noticed incredible results and would recommend this warmup method to anyone who wants to ensure that their nervous system is jacked up before lifting heavy.

WARMUP
hang cleans (3 sets) 135 x 3-5 performed as explosively as possible. These really get me geared up to move the bar fast.

Incline barbell press
135x6
165x5
185x3
200x3
210x3
225x3

close grip flat bench
135x10
155x8
175x8
195x8
215x4

After this I typically move on to tricep/bicep supersets (usually do chest/biceps/triceps on same day). I vary the set/rep schemes, going to speed sets of 6 some days or 10-12 rep ranges.

JM presses, hammer curls, skull crushers(flat or incline), barbell curls, tricep rope extensions, overhead extensions, etc. I don't obliterate the muscle but try to make sure that I keep very strict form and do most of my sets with relativeley heavy weight.

A normal routine will be:

Monday - Chest, biceps, triceps
tuesday - legs + back
wednesday - biceps + triceps
thursday - legs + back
friday - whatever I feel like.

I already know that a lot of people will have a problem with this split right now becuase there is not much room for rest. I'm not interested in an exact program but more like the correct exercises that a tall and relatively lanky guy like me should be doing, any tips to improve my lifts, etc.

***KEY NOTE: I dislocated my AC joint in left shoulder snowboarding 3 years ago. I didn't bench for months and I know that this is why my bench is lacking from what it could be.

I can bench safely now but I do not do heavy negatives or isometrics because the shoulder joint seems to become unstable very easily. I am determined to bench 350 and hopefully much more despite this injury!!!


#2

for what its worth, I am 160ish lbs. My max on back squat and deadlifts were both about 330 for 5 ugly reps. Since August I have done 2 cycles of Madcow 5x5, and am currently finishing up Starr Advanced 5x5. I am deadlifting 440 for reps, and squatting 410 for reps. Final pr's should be around 480 for dl, and 450 for squats. I went from 250ish max on bench to about 320 as i do 305 for 3x3 this past week. Madcow is ramped sets and it wasnt all that grueling. Starr advanced is hard as fuck. The first 4 weeks of starr advanced are a volume phase that will just wipe you out. Then it goes to a deload and intenisification of 3x3 which is still pretty hard but not as brutal as straight 5x5 sets. My military also shot up tremendously as I now press over 200lbs. At your weight you should see some nice increases on these programs.

If you are worried about hypertrophy, I wouldnt sweat it, you can see some real good size gains on this depending on how much you eat. I havent been that concerned about size, ive put on like 5lbs, but my muscles have filled out a ton. Be prepared to buy new pants.


#3

Your deadlift looks a little low. Does your upperback appear to be a weakpoint? Like, do you have trouble locking out your deadlift or is it all just strength off the floor? Also, do you know what your weakpoint on bench might be? Your OHP seems solid, so I doubt it's your shoulders. Triceps or chest or back, like I mentioned before? How much/often are you doing rows?

You mentioned shoulder problems, is that why you don't do dips?
How often do you do close grip bench? Do you feel your tricep work is sufficient and working?

This all assumes your form is decent, which I'm pretty sure is the case.


#4

A 350 bench at your height is no joke. I think it's a little odd you're setting such a high bench goal compared to your squat goal. You want your squat to go up 20-30 pounds and your bench to go up 70-80 pounds?

Not to be a downer but I think you should consider setting a more realistic goal for your bench. An 80 pound increase in your bench could very easily take you years.

That being said I'm 6'5 and have made decent progress the last year or so ...

I've gotten a lot of carry over from RDL and Good Morning's on both my squat and deadlift. I didn't see you put anything about ab work in your routine -- to increase your squat you'll want to add some heavy weighted ab stuff too.

For bench press, you probably have long arms (like I do) and will need to work extra hard on your triceps. Close-grip press, dips (if you can do them), floor presses are some good ones to start with.

Also, I'm not sure how you can hit your legs legs after 2 days of rest. My legs stay sore for atleast 3 days, sometimes more without proper recovery methods.


#5

I'm a little confused on how you can consider his deadlift a little low? In compared to what and whom, is it considered low?


#6

What is the point of this thread?


#7

After reading over the first post again, I am not sure either.

Either way, you need to work on all of your lifts. Nothing stands out too much so there is some balance there. By the time you get to a 350 bench, your other lifts should be drastically higher as well. A 20 lb increase over the next couple years on your squat is negligible. Realistically, nailing 500-350-550 in the next couple years would be awesome at 6'3.

Also, a shoulder injury 3 years ago that had you out for a few months is the reason for your bench not being where it should be?


#8

I had a level one AC joint seperation, not enough to immobilize me but I couldn't bench for about 2 months straight. At that point I was about as strong benching as I am now, but my other lifts were drastically lower. I could only squat about 300 and deadlift maybe 340, but my bench was at about 275. Now, considering how my other lifts have improved, and numerous small re-injuries of the shoulder ( I love to snowboard) I pretty much assume that this is why my bench isn't atleast at, say...300 or 310.

To answer the post a few above, I do a lot of back work...heavy pronated grip rows (with my bench press grip width) of up to 200 lbs with good form for a few reps, along with a steady diet of BW & weighted pullups with vaired grips. Also, heavy good mornings and front squats...I try to do all the variations of each lift atleast a little bit.

I guess a good addition to this thread would be:

1)is 350 bench a realistic goal with long arms and naturally thinner frame?
2)What are the best exercises/grip variations for tall guys, especially with a somewhat fragile left shoulder?
3)Anyone know any good warmups to ensure scapular stability and/or exercises to improve those? I currently do rotator cuff work but have been slacking pretty hard.

I guess what I really need is some taller guys to tell me how they got their bench up, preferably without any injections :slight_smile:


#9

Agreed. I suppose I didn't say it but Iexpect the 400 lb back squat much sooner than the bench press.


#10

With where your bench is, I am willing to bet some simple form corrections could put you to your goal right now. Any one who says different has never been strong before. Your goal is your goal. So fucking get it and dont listen to people who say you cant.

I am 25 as well and 6'2'' and my bench has sucked forever because my arms are a mile long. I used to say the same stuff about how its always going to suck because I am tall with long arms. This is a ridiculous way of thinking. Figure out what your weaknesses are and work the shit out of them. For example, and this was my problem too, you have very little shoulder strengthening exercises in your program. Add in some heavy compound shoulder work. I added in some heavy bradford presses and seated shoulder presses(my garage ceiling is too low for military) and it has cause my benched to go through the roof.

Same advice for squat, figure out what you suck at, either strength and/or technique, and work the hell out of it until you dont suck at it anymore.


#11

With where your bench is, I am willing to bet some simple form corrections could put you to your goal right now. Any one who says different has never been strong before. Your goal is your goal. So fucking get it and dont listen to people who say you cant.

I am 25 as well and 6'2'' and my bench has sucked forever because my arms are a mile long. I used to say the same stuff about how its always going to suck because I am tall with long arms. This is a ridiculous way of thinking. Figure out what your weaknesses are and work the shit out of them. For example, and this was my problem too, you have very little shoulder strengthening exercises in your program. Add in some heavy compound shoulder work. I added in some heavy bradford presses and seated shoulder presses(my garage ceiling is too low for military) and it has cause my benched to go through the roof.

Same advice for squat, figure out what you suck at, either strength and/or technique, and work the hell out of it until you dont suck at it anymore.


#12