T Nation

How Do I Fix My Sticking Point on Bench?


#1

I have power off my chest and lock out power. but I get stuck right in the middle. I do mainly Flat bench, Close grip bench, and incline. I just added floor press to my last couple of workouts but I haven't seen a difference yet. Any suggenstions?

Current Raw Bench- 360 @198

Here's a video of my last comp:


#2

Hey dude I've had the same problem in the past. I've got a RAW bench of 335 at a bodyweight of 230. Nowhere near as strong as you but this is what has helped me in the past...

Explosively pushing the bar. Never been a big fan of speed work but when I really work on driving the bar up during my warm-up sets I feel like it helps me activate all those fast twitch fibers in my triceps.

Banded bench press. Not a big fan of reverse banded bench but I love benching with bands. Pause for a second with the weight on your chest and then drive up as hard as you can. This has been very helpful in teaching me explosiveness.

Doing reps in the middle third range. Take some weight off the bar and do a few sets of partial reps in your problem area.

Again this is stuff that has worked for me in the past. Take what you can from it!


#3

Ghost, thanks for the tips. I've used all the techniques you mentioned execpt the partial reps. Maybe that's the key! I have the average bands(green) and I've used them both ways... reverser and regular. I kinda feel like band work helps more with geared lifters and lockout. I dunno man... I'll add floor press and partials and see how that goes!

Did my video work on my last post? I can't see it. sorry Im new to the forum thing. here it is again just in case.

Tom
Youtube channel: GEISTTE


#4

you press in the straight line, ever tried to push the weight more towards your face with motion of flaring your elbows during the last bit/mid point of movement?


#5

I normally do. I was doing that a little bit in this video but I was a little nervous about dumping it on my head. Check out the spotter on the left! lol. But yeah, my sticking point is right about where you would start to flare the elbows.

Tom


#6

My sticking point is exactly the same as yours, and I myself added Floor Presses over the last two weeks as well as 2-board CG Benches (used to do 3 and 4, but my sticking point is really about hte 2-board height. Will be following this thread 'cause I am curious.

It seems to me I don't activate my triceps early enough between the blast off from the chest and the lockout portion. Never have problems with either but always get stuck at that middle transitional portion.


#7

so close grip benches on the incline with the pause on that spot should do it, or you could use Big Bens technique, i.e with less weight pause at that exact place for split second during your strength work


#8

I can never EVER advocate this for raw benching for a couple reasons.
1. When do you ever really see a raw bencher who has trouble at lock out? The whole purpose of flaring is to lock it out easier.

  1. I have seen too many people fuck it up and throw the bar back a little too much and slam it into the posts.

  2. It lengthens the range that you have to press.

  3. Puts more stress on the shoulder join. Keep you elbows tucked, push straight, keep it on the triceps.

To OP, I have a sticking point in a similar area. Things I have found to help me are partials (specifically 2 boards and floor presses) done for heavy 3-6s immediately after I finish benching. I also found that overhead pressing with dumbbells and occasionally barbells for high volume works pretty well. On that same note, while I haven't tried it too much yet, push presses should help as well. I would recommend some high reps tricep isolation as well to help keep them healthy from all the heavy pressing.


#9

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#10

well you say that raw never have problem lockin out, yet you suggest partials which improve lock out power :wink: i suggested that technique cos it helps IMO :slightly_smiling: and ive heard mixed opinions about benching towards face and in straight line, i.e Tate was advocate of straight line....until he decided that pushin little bit towards face is better for shoulders (or so i heard), Jim in his bench video from EliteFts suggest this way of benching too. Also technique in gear depends on the gear. eh well but im learning so take my advice lightly.

edit: also im not talking about BIG movement towards face, just a little bit and elbow flare:).


#11

Partials can help the lockout, but I recommended floor presses and 2 boards because they strengthen that middle range which is where OP is weakest, true lockout work would be 3 and 4 boards, high pin presses, etc. In Jim's bench video, if I remember correctly, he shows both ways of benching. Typically you will see a shirted bencher benching in an arc patter. This is because, from what I have seen, they will bring the bar lower and flaring the elbows hard makes it easier to lockout the weight when the shirt stops helping.

Personally, my training partner can easily out deadlift me by 100lbs and out squat me by almost as much, but I'm out benching pressing him by almost 60lbs and I'm 20lbs lighter than he is and he has been training for much longer. We both have the same arm length and same grip on the bar. (I am a piss poor bencher. By that I mean I was deadlifting nearly 400lbs and could barely bench press 185lbs at 165 bodyweight. Now benching 295 at 175.) I attribute a lot of this to strengthening weak areas and have very good form. I press in a straight line, moderate arch, pinkies on the rings. He presses in an arc, big arch, pinkies on the rings. A lot of the time he will miss lighter weights simply because he flares his elbows, gets loose, and hits the bar against the posts.

Think about it this way. With a bigger arch your upper torso is closer to being inverted. So in a technical sense, it would be more efficient and easier to control bar if you pushed it in a straight line. If you bench in a arc, then a big arch is only going to amplify that arc, so the more arch you have, the less off a C shape you would want to bench in.

While this is all anecdotal, I hope I kind of explained my reasoning well enough.

Edit: Saw that you mentioned that you weren't talking about a big arc, but just a slight elbow flare. This is ok and should happen naturally, but the problem you run into is people that can't quite seem to understand this concept. You tell them to flare their elbows and they slam them all the way out like they are trying to shoulder bench. And like I stated before, the bigger the arch the person has, the more likely it is that even a slight over flaring with cause them to miss.

(I also want to re clarify to anyone reading. I'm talking strictly about raw benching.)


#12

I would consider that to be weak off the chest, not at the mid-point. You are getting momentum at the bottom from the stored energy from staying tight at the bottom (this is a good thing), and that momentum carries you through the first portion of the lift. You lose this momentum immediately, but it carries you through the first 4" or so of the lift.

The end effect is that your real weak point is actually the bottom of the lift. Look how fast the bar comes off your chest and how it immediately slows down as soon as it has come a single inch off the chest. This is your real sticking point - it just looks like it is higher since you get a lot of initial energy from staying tight at the bottom of the lift.

For work specifically targeted to this area, honestly you could get by with simply flat benching more. You could also try some single board presses (both paused and not paused). Anything thicker than a single board would not be hitting the weakness that I am seeing.

As a final note, it looks like struggled a bit with the lift off. Your body moved way too much when you received that 360 lbs. You likely lost a good amount of power from the bottom, which could have helped carry you past that point where you failed. Leading up to your next meet you should find someone to help you practice getting lift offs with that sort of weight. Just take the lift off but don't actually do the rep itself and try to stay as tight as possible.

It is really worth saying though that this is a normal "sticking point" for a flat bench. If you fail at lock out on a raw bench, you either have tragically long arms or just aren't benching properly. If you can't get the bar off your chest at least an inch or two, you aren't setting up tight enough on the bench or are simply getting stapled by a weight you had no chance of getting.

Failing 1-4" off your chest is where you SHOULD fail on a raw bench press that is just too heavy.


#13

To me it looked like the hand off was odd because the rack was slightly too high. But I agree, stability is extremely important for benching heavy weight. If OP is a naturally slower lifter, speed work will help a lot. Personally I'm a pretty fast person so I find volume and heavy weight helps the most.


#14

Yeah, on second look, the rack was a bit high. However, on second look, to me it looks like the bar never comes to a complete stop. If the the OP even paused for a second at the bottom that bar wouldn't have come more than 1" off his chest. OP's sticking point is definitely off the chest, which is where is typical for raw benchers. Just bench more and get stronger at actual flat benching at this point. I still stand by the idea that technique work and more flat benching would be better than doing any sort of half reps or mid-range bench pressing in this situation.


#15

I agree. I never said to not to full range. I always do full range flat bench first, then I will do partials to some sort of specialty exercise to hit my sticking point harder. Tons of back work as well. I'm convinced that the thicker your back is, the easier the bar comes off your chest. Not sure why though.


#16

Tons of good advice here... thanks a lot! I am still on the fence about the angle of the press. I have tested it out before and I can do more if I press at an agle rather that straight up and down. Should I train in a straight line and then use and angle when I compete?? The only reason I can think that would be beneficial is to save the shoulders during training.
The rack height was way too high... and I did lose some tightness on the hand off. I think you guys are right about my sticking point being lower than I originally thought. so right now I am doing flat, CGBP, and incline... and floor press sometimes. I am tapering off and haven't gone to a 1RM lately but I have been hitting a 2RM and 3RM on each lift for the past 2 weeks. does anybody see an imbalance here??
my current PRs are:
Flat bench: 325x3
CGBP: 280x3
Incline: 260x3
floor press: 315x2

Tom


#17

Are you a naturally fast person? Have you ever tried dynamic benching? How much volume do you usually do on the main lift and on assistance work?

I would pick a style of benching that works. Like I said, I would never advocate the arc style of benching, mostly because I find it doesn't work as well for me, and because I have seen too many people who suck at it. It could be that your muscle balance makes it easier for you to bench the way you do. If you do change it up though, don't be discouraged. You will always suck more when you do something new, but very often you will end up getting even stronger after a while.


#18

Nothing unusual there in those numbers really. In comparison, my incline tends to be a bit closer to my flat bench press than that, but it could definitely be that I incline press a lot as it is much gentler on my shoulders and pecs than flat benching. I've never known anyone to pull a pec or hurt their shoulder from incline pressing, and I can't say the same about flat benching.

I never got much out of floor pressing and don't bother with it at all now - it is more for people who are either benching with shirts, coming off a pec injury, or have exceptionally long arms, IMO.

As far as the angle stuff goes, I definitely do not bench in a straight line, at least with heavy weight. I always move towards my eyes as I come up, and it seems the best benchers do the same. It's really not an overt movement though - there isn't a huge amount of movement in that plane. I don't worry about it too much when doing sets of 10 or w/e.


#19

I agree with the back part. A strong back makes it much easier to hold an arch and keep tons of tension when holding the bar paused. If I take a few weeks off benching, the next time I come back to it, after a hard set my lats and erectors will cramp up really hard.


#20

On bench I have good speed. I've done lots of speed work in the past and have cut it down a little. As far as volume goes, it depends on how close to a meet. If the meet isn't for a long time, I'll do 4 sets of 8-15 reps on the flat bench, Incline, and CGBP. As the meet gets closer the volmue goes down and intesity goes up. So now that I am only 3 weeks out I am hittng 3RM for 2 sets on each, with a 5 minute rest in between. That's on monday. Thursay comes I do more Isolation work for tri's and shoulders... and some light bench(for blood flow) or speed bench. I mimic the PHILPI/COAN 14 week periodization routine and add a reverse pyramid to it.