T Nation

Increasing My Bench Press

Well, I been uping my bench press with 5x5 putting 5 pounds on every week. Now I think Im at a sticking point. Should I do lower reps or go up to 6-8 reps ?

Progressive overload works forever. Keep adding 5lbs every week and you’ll be the strongest man in the world in a few years. Thats how all the powerlifters do it.

[quote]mathison wrote:
Well I been uping my bench press with 5x5 putting 5 pounds on every week. Now I think Im at a sticking point. Should I do lower reps or go up to 6-8 reps ?[/quote]

How about switch to a different program? Even the best program in the world won’t work forever.

If your stuck at a certain weight now at 5 x 5, my number one recommendation would be to add sets of 5 at this point. How long do you take to complete 5x5 and with what weight right now? If you stick with the same weight and try to add a set each week until you get up to 8-10 sets of 5, then drop back down to 5 sets of 5 and try adding weight again.

Option 2: Decrease the weight you are using by 10-15% and stick with 5x5 but try to push explosively. Start adding 5 pounds a week again, but going 4 pushing as hard as possible.

Option 3: Increase the weight by 10 percent and still do 25 total reps, but broken into sets of 2-3.

Option 4: Get some bands and pick some band tension with the bar to do 5x5 and work up with 5x5 +5 pounds a week with this band combo. When you stall there, go back to the non-band benches cut back 10-15 pounds and start working up again, or pick a different band combo.

Option 5, do 5 x 5 and stick with the same weight, but try to increase the frequency of your workouts from say 2x/week to 3x/week to 4x/week and then go back down to the baseline (wherever that is for you and try to add weight again)

Option 6: Take one full week off.

For options 1-5 just pick the one that sounds the most motivating and practical. If that doesn’t work, try option 6.

[quote]mathison wrote:
Well I been uping my bench press with 5x5 putting 5 pounds on every week. Now I think Im at a sticking point. Should I do lower reps or go up to 6-8 reps ?[/quote]

go read Dave Tate’s article about the bench.
And don’t listen to some other people. Listen to him.

[quote]timmwwaa wrote:
mathison wrote:
Well I been uping my bench press with 5x5 putting 5 pounds on every week. Now I think Im at a sticking point. Should I do lower reps or go up to 6-8 reps ?

How about switch to a different program? Even the best program in the world won’t work forever.[/quote]

Or at the very least switch exercises (incline BP, decline BP, DB press, dips, etc)

Try CT’s 8 Weeks to a Bigger Bench programme? Either that or start training Westside or similar, thats if your bench is priority. Not much to go on here.

Ill stick to 5x5 then since its been working.

[quote]Major Dan wrote:
Progressive overload works forever. Keep adding 5lbs every week and you’ll be the strongest man in the world in a few years. Thats how all the powerlifters do it.[/quote]

I’m pretty sure that he is aware that the progressive overloading isn’t working anymore, hence the sticking point comment.

Get a new program, look into CT’s 8 weeks to a bigger bench if that is your primary goal.

Metal militia template on their website

The 5x5 was putting 5 pounds on every week not it puts 5 pounds on every 2 weeks. That’s still good isn’t it ?

[quote]mathison wrote:
Ill stick to 5x5 then since its been working.[/quote]

Bro, you said it wasn’t working. And it will stop working. Don’t listen to MajorDan. Go to the “authors” tab under the article section and read Dave Tate’s bench article. Dave knows more about tossing up big benches than just about anyone.

If you’re just looking to increase strength the easy thing to do is decrease reps and increase intensity.

However I would read all you can about Westside and such (metal malitia too as mentioned above) For ideas on how to switch up your program to increase your bench.

Also what does you actual workout look like besides just doing bench press for 5x5?

I said it hasnt been working because it’s supposed to up my bench by 5 pounds a week. Now its every 2 weeks, so basically it’s not working correctly.

This is my routine I been doing I do have a new one Im working on at the moment.

Monday- power day/ aslo jog on the treadmill till failure

-Bench 5x5
-Neck bench (5-7)x3

Tuesday- Legs/ speed bag

-front squat 5x3
-dead lift 5x3
-extensions (6-8)x3
-lock deads 5x3
-calf raises failure x 3
-rhythm squats 50

all done with light enough weight so that the last rep of the set only slows me very little from as fast as I can go.

Wednesday-Speed/abs

-Do jabs,combo,stances, and 1.2s on a heavy bag or speed bag for a 1/2 hour to a hour.
-crunches 3 sets to failure
-leg lifts 2 sets to failure
-twist 2 sets to failure

Thursday-Bicep work

-Barbell (6-8)x3
-Hammers DB (10-15)x3
-Alternating DB (10-15)x2
-Concentrations (10-15)x2

Friday-Endurance/jog

-push ups to failure x3
-incline push ups x3
-jog 1-5 miles

Saturday-Run/abs

-jog 1-5 miles
-weighted crunches (10-15)x3
-weighted declines (10-15)x3
-weighted twist (10-15)x3

Sunday-speed/cardio

-box someone or work on stuff with bags for 1/2-1 hour
-jog 1-5 miles

If you’re wondering whats with the bags and running I’m a soccer/boxer player

[quote]mathison wrote:
Ill stick to 5x5 then since its been working.[/quote]

the defintion of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result

You sound as if you are a bit of a newbie. Doesn’t it make sense that if you want your bench to go up you have to lift heavier.

Use a weight that is 10 lb heavier than you have been using for the 5x5 and do 10-15 singles with it use 30 sec to 1 min breaks between reps(cluster training)

Do this on a Mon-Thur type split. If you get all 10 reps ADD WEIGHT the following w.out or continue with what you are doing and lift the same weights FOREVER.

[quote]mathison wrote:
I said it hasnt been working because it’s supposed to up my bench by 5 pounds a week. Now its every 2 weeks, so basically it’s not working correctly.[/quote]

I hope you would agree that NO program will continually add 5lbs per week to your bench. Plateaus are quite common, you don’t need to completely reinvent the wheel here. Above you were given 5 excellent examples of how to tweak your intensity. You asked–please listen.

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
go read Dave Tate’s article about the bench.
And don’t listen to some other people. Listen to him.[/quote]

Just for information here, the methods I described are exactly what Louie Simmons described as “slow adaptation” the cornerstone of all strength building programs. To quote: When you have gone from doing 5 x 2 to the point where you can do 5 x 4 or 10 x 2 you have accomplished what is called as slow adaptation. And by slow, he was referring to long term progress, versus short term neurological changes.
Its also the key to the Metal Militia workouts as they progress up with triples with only 10 pound increases per set and adding 10 pounds to their starting work weight/week.

But I think everyone who wants to bench as much as possible should at least try the Westside template for 3 months, but only if your willing to pay attention to form.

I personally increased from 5 x 3 with 255 all the way up to 335 x 5 x 3, first with straight weight and then by cycling bands. I really think that for a maximal bench, sets of 5 are not great because you can’t hold your form that long.

Not criticising Westside, but I’d like to here what they do now? Are there any recent articles out? I read that they bench over the face now.

Give this a try:
Do you normal flat bench routine, but instead of doing it on a normal bench press, take a flat bench from the dumbell area of your gym and set it up in a cage. Take the safety pins and set them so that the bar lies as close to your chest as possible. This way you begin the bench at the bottom of the movement and eliminate strain energy. Just make sure to tense and set yourself properly(exactly as you would be at the bottom of a regular bench) before you press or else you’re likely to tear/injur something.

This method didn’t add much to my numbers but muscle stimulus and soreness afterwards was significant. I believe it substantially helped a friend’s max bench to whom I suggested it to.

Noticeable effects were realized when i did this for the first three sets, and then did two regular bench presses. The regular benches at the same weight were noticeably easier.

However, from what I’ve noticed(from my friend’s experience), only doing this type of flat barbell press is good for the short term, but eventually it will excede your regular bench if done too much.

Also, I am curious as to what others think about this method, and to how effective they believe it to be, suggested training parameters, and targeted regions such as muscle or nervous system.

Is that a good idea as someone said adding 10 pounds to the wieght I use for 5x5 and do singles with 10-15 sets. With a 30sec to a minute break. If I get 10 sets in the up the wieght for next weeks. Does this sound like a good way to up my bench to you others ?