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Hit a Bench Press Plateau, What to Do?


#1

Hey. I'm 17 years old and I've been lifting for 4 months so far. I'm insanely strong for a beginner, but I feel like i hit a plateau on bench press. I've only put 5 lbs on my max in the last month, but my bench press max went from 200->255 from may 21st to august 21st and i just maxed out today and only got 5 lbs more... I thought I'd get a lot more since my triceps got a lot stronger in the last month.

What should i do? any programs that focus on the bench press? I intend to compete one day and bench press is my weakest link right now. Thanks.


#2

5 pounds a month isn’t bad. That’s 60 pounds a year. As a beginner your best gains are the first few months from neurological adaptation, it’s impossible to sustain it at anywhere near that pace. Since you just started lifting, I’d focus on learning all the movements, not just bench. Maybe try Starting Strength or 5/3/1.


#3

What program are you following?


#4

[quote]Bulleze wrote:
Hey. I’m 17 years old and I’ve been lifting for 4 months so far. I’m insanely strong for a beginner, but I feel like i hit a plateau on bench press. I’ve only put 5 lbs on my max in the last month, but my bench press max went from 200->255 from may 21st to august 21st and i just maxed out today and only got 5 lbs more… I thought I’d get a lot more since my triceps got a lot stronger in the last month.

What should i do? any programs that focus on the bench press? I intend to compete one day and bench press is my weakest link right now. Thanks.[/quote]

Bench more. Try benching every time you train, or if you train more than four times a week, bench four times a week. Vary the loads so the majority of your benching is done with something that you have to work for but that isn’t hard. Bench heavy once a week. Vary your rep ranges from singles to over fives. Make sure you do enough upper body pulling to make your back nice and strong.

Work on your technique. Make it a priority to find out the best setup, grip width and touch point for YOU. Those ‘work but not too hard’ sets will help ingrain that correct technique.

Also, just out of interest what do you weigh? If you’re weighing in around 170-180 lbs, then yes, I’d say that’s a pretty impressive bench for four months’ training. If you’re weighing in around 200-220 lbs, its good, but IMO not insane.

I’m not saying that to be a dick, because my bench is sitting around the 250-260 lbs mark too and given I weigh around 210 lbs that’s pretty pathetic - I’m just letting you know because if you do compete you’re very probably going to come across lifters in your age and weight class with similar training lifespans who will be squatting, benching and pulling a fair bit more than you do and that may come as a shock if you do think you’re insanely strong for a beginner. Don’t get too wrapped up in how strong you are, just focus on getting stronger than you were before.


#5

[quote]Bulleze wrote:
I’m insanely strong for a beginner
[/quote]

Dude, learn to be humble will ya?

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
I’m not saying that to be a dick, because my bench is sitting around the 250-260 lbs mark too and given I weigh around 210 lbs that’s pretty pathetic - I’m just letting you know because if you do compete you’re very probably going to come across lifters in your age and weight class with similar training lifespans who will be squatting, benching and pulling a fair bit more than you do and that may come as a shock if you do think you’re insanely strong for a beginner. Don’t get too wrapped up in how strong you are, just focus on getting stronger than you were before.
[/quote]

and this.


#6

[quote]Benanything wrote:

[quote]Bulleze wrote:
I’m insanely strong for a beginner
[/quote]

Dude, learn to be humble will ya?

[/quote]

x2 not a good way to get help


#7

Wow you are insanely strong


#8

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Also, just out of interest what do you weigh? If you’re weighing in around 170-180 lbs, then yes, I’d say that’s a pretty impressive bench for four months’ training. If you’re weighing in around 200-220 lbs, its good, but IMO not insane. [/quote]

Extremely relevant point. Also are you currently gaining and/or trying to gain weight?

If you’re testing maxes every month, stop. That’s too often and is pointless.

With only 4 months of training, I’m sure there’s a lot of technique to figure out. I’m still learning things after 3 years.

Also, what’s your current programming look like?


#9

[quote]Mark KO wrote:
If you’re weighing in around 200-220 lbs, its good, but IMO not insane.[/quote]
x5.

[quote]Bulleze wrote:
What should i do? any programs that focus on the bench press?[/quote]
At your current level (age and lifting experience), I think a bench specialization is premature. A well-rounded, well-designed routine that still focuses plenty on all the lifts will do you good. There are tons out there. This is a simple one:

Your profile says you’re 6’ and 210. I’m very, very interested to know how much you’re squatting to parallel (or below). Call it newbie profiling, but as a young and tall dude, you’ve got two strikes that say you’re probably squatting high. If that’s the case, then the bench is not really your weakest link right now.


#10

You’re 17. Just be patient, lift intensely, recover well (eat and sleep a lot). It’s a long road.


#11

Ever since I started 5/3/1 doing the Big But Boring program I was able to get past a plateau in my bench, so I would give it a try. I’ve only completed one cycle so far, but I got past a previous plateau. I think what’s helping is the added volume, because with BBB you have to do 5x10 of benching. Anyway, it’s fun to do 5x10 too.


#12

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
Anyway, it’s fun to do 5x10 too.[/quote]

Is it? Are you sure? I remember it being one of the most miserable and tedious programs I ever did. It works, for sure, but it was in no way fun.


#13

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
Anyway, it’s fun to do 5x10 too.[/quote]

Is it? Are you sure? I remember it being one of the most miserable and tedious programs I ever did. It works, for sure, but it was in no way fun.[/quote]

Same here. I dreaded the 5x10 when I barely got by in previous sessions. Somehow got through it though.


#14

Depends on which BBB -the one in the book is fine and gives you flexibility on the 5/3/1 set, the ‘three month challenge’/article here is miserable and seems to burn out a lot of guys


#15

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
Depends on which BBB -the one in the book is fine and gives you flexibility on the 5/3/1 set, the ‘three month challenge’/article here is miserable and seems to burn out a lot of guys[/quote]

Yeah, the 3-month challenge. It’s tough but doable. The main challenge is to be on top of diet and recovery to get through the program.


#16

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
Depends on which BBB -the one in the book is fine and gives you flexibility on the 5/3/1 set, the ‘three month challenge’/article here is miserable and seems to burn out a lot of guys[/quote]

Yeah, the 3-month challenge. It’s tough but doable. The main challenge is to be on top of diet and recovery to get through the program.[/quote]

And don’t overestimate your 1RM.


#17

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
Depends on which BBB -the one in the book is fine and gives you flexibility on the 5/3/1 set, the ‘three month challenge’/article here is miserable and seems to burn out a lot of guys[/quote]

Yeah, the 3-month challenge. It’s tough but doable. The main challenge is to be on top of diet and recovery to get through the program.[/quote]

I preferred the challenge to the standard 50% sets, more of a challenge, less of the boring.


#18

I meant the regular BBB program, not the three month challenge.


#19

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
I meant the regular BBB program, not the three month challenge.[/quote]

No knock at the program at all, it definitely works, I just don’t have the patience for it, honestly.


#20

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
I meant the regular BBB program, not the three month challenge.[/quote]

No knock at the program at all, it definitely works, I just don’t have the patience for it, honestly.[/quote]

I’ve been lifting for a year and haven’t done a hyperthrophy program before…so for me it was a nice change in pace. I was tired of just doing low set/rep schemes.