T Nation

Lagging DB Bench

Hey guys,

Wondering if anyone can help me out… My bench has always been a major weakness, I can’t see to get past using 85’s for 8x3 (I originally switched to DBs because the barbell was irritating my shoulders). Even my military press has been generally static for the past few months, not being able to get past 135 for a few reps.

Would taking some time off bench and doing weighted dips help a bit? Or do you think it would be better to go onto a routine with less weight but higher volume (GVT, EDT etc).

Thanks

maybe eat more.

switch to higher reps, more volume and change the angles try inclines and declines are you training for chest size or strength?

Well,i whould suggest you to take a week off,or do a deloading phase for a week,or so.I personally am a fun of heavy lifting with mostly a low volume and some times higher frequenty,personally Bench DE days from the West Side barbell guyz really helped me to un-lag my bench press because there was lack of explosivness,i think,and my shoulders being always in heavy lifting hade gone bad.

Secondly i use periodically high intensity methods for strength and mass sush as Rest pause and variations(mostly 5/4/3/2/1 etC),wave loadings etC(but not too often).But i can not really any suggestion because you dont give us any informations about you and your stats…

Finally you should read the “The Seven Habits of Highly Defective Benchers” by Eric Cressey…
Of course these are a part of my opinions,hope i helped even a litle.Stay heavy bro.

dont’ do higher reps. that’s just plain retarded if you are trying to build strength and power.

Rotate reps of 5-3-1 each week. Wendler has a program where you do 1 exercise for 3 weeks working your way up to a 5 rep max, then 3, then 1 in that same exact lift. 4’th week is a deload.

what helped me get my shitty bench up was rotating the following in that 5-3-1 method.

So I’d pick one of the following and stick with it for 4 weeks before trying another movement:

-Bar bench with 3 boards on your chest

-Bar bench in power rack and set the pins up so that they are 3 inches above your chest. lift off and then pause on the pins and then quickly explode off of the pins

-floor presses

-Bar bench with chains (this worked amazing for me!!)

And for an accessory exercise choose 1 of the following for 3 sets of 6-8 and rotate them each week:

-Dumbell flat bench press (70%-80%) of one rep max

-Single arm Dumbell flat bench (same %)

-Incline Dumbell press (same %)

Then for assistance exercises rotate a tri movement related to benching. Choose only 1 of the following exercises but rotate them each week.

So you could do 3 sets of 6-8 of:

-Close Grip Bar bench

-Close grip bar bench in power rack with a pause on pins and then explode off

-Skull crushers, but use dumbells instead of a bar.

For Shoulders (I train them on a different day than bench but leave 2 days recovery before my next benching session)

choose one of the following

-Standing bar Militry Press 5-3-1 too

-Dumbell shoulder presses either single or both arms

Make sure you are including some heavy rows and pulls for your back. You can’t bench big numbers if you don’t have a back to support the weight.

Hope that helps man. It helped me a lot.

Also, when you are training, do not worry about walking out of the gym with a huge pump. The goal is to stimulate through heavy lifting but not annihilate your muscle groups.

Good luck!!

ohhh, I tried GVT for 5 weeks and it didn’t do SHIT for me.

It could be an effective training routine, but setting up the parameters for it was annoying as shit and then doing the same lift got rather annoying and boring. I hated it.

I dont wanna steer you away from it, but I would never do it again. That’s just my 2 cents. Read up on it, but I would bet that doing the routine I stated above will get your numbers up twice as fast.

Lemme know how the GVT worked for you if you do try it. Maybe I’ll give it a go again in the future…but doubt it…

@ bignate: Mostly strength man, size is more of a secondary objective at the moment.

@ ragingbassist: thanks bro, that helped out a ton, frankly I’m also skeptical of 10x10 for the purposes of strength and power etc. But thanks a lot for the helpful direction, I really appreciate it.

Where can I get more info on this ‘Wendler’ program? I’ve heard about it on other places on the forum but haven’t found a link or website/book reference that details out the system. I appreciate the detail you included, but I feel more comfortable with an authoritative & comprehensive source which I could use to understand it better.

You can buy 5-3-1 at elitefts.com

if its for strength i would switch to barbell again and make sure u tuck elbows so you dont bother your shoudlers also try moving grip in two gfingers width did the trcik for me

Don’t start jazzing your pants and shot-gunning all this advice at once! Bad shoulders, shitty military, poor DB performance, you probably have a weak upper back, lats, etc. All those muscles that give you a good platform to press from. Training right is a process, and if your stuck and just switch everything around you’ll most likely never learn anything about how YOU respond.

Cut your pressing volume in half (keep the same intensity, and don’t go to failure) and up your back work big time in both volume and intensity. Commit to it for 3 weeks, and come back and test yourself, and if you feel better/stronger, you know your on to something.

BTW, to whomever said high reps are useless, that is just not true. Ultra high reps with the classical lifts are not the best for strength, I agree. But high rep work is still very important.

Good luck

well, you could buy the ebook or you could research it on elitefts.com

Read through some of the training logs.

I pretty much summed the entire plan up for you though.

You pick 1 compound lift and do that lift once a week for 3 weeks. the first week you work your way up to a 5 rep max, week 2 a 3 rep max then week 3 a 1 rep max. 4’th week is deload. then you pick another exercise to do the same thing with.

You do 1 big lift

then an accessory to that lift

then an assistance exercise.

this goes for squats and deads.

It works very well. I’d recommend it.

i’m currently doing the 5-3-1 myself. I just came out of a westside split which I did the past 3 months. It got all my lifts up significantly. I’ll go back to that after 3 cycles of 5-3-1

good luck with the bench man. It will come

BTW, to whomever said high reps are useless, that is just not true. Ultra high reps with the classical lifts are not the best for strength, I agree. But high rep work is still very important.

Good luck

[/quote]

just to clarify, I never said they are useless. What I meant was they are not the most efficient way to build strength. But yes, they do have a purpose and are excellent to use every once in a while.

You just cannot expect to up a compound lift significantly if you are only doing 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps week after week. Max effort work in low reps but high volume is the key.

[quote]Tags wrote:
Don’t start jazzing your pants and shot-gunning all this advice at once! Bad shoulders, shitty military, poor DB performance, you probably have a weak upper back, lats, etc. All those muscles that give you a good platform to press from. Training right is a process, and if your stuck and just switch everything around you’ll most likely never learn anything about how YOU respond.

[/quote]

I appreciate the advice but my back is way stronger than my … ‘front’… lol. I can DB row 105s for 5 and do pullups with 35 pounds of extra weight. I’m simply trying to select the advice based on my current experience. Based on this new info, what would you suggest?

elastic bands
its hard to move up in weights with dbs because they only go up in ten pound incriments (5 lbs per side) use elastic bands or something similar to attatch 1.25 or 2.5 lb plates to one side and adjust hand position.

Other than that, I would suggest that if you are lagging in a certain area you just need to give it more attention in general, train in all rep ranges, and never let yourself puss out on a press day.
this is assuming everything else you are doing is correct.

[quote]Shoebolt wrote:
Tags wrote:
Don’t start jazzing your pants and shot-gunning all this advice at once! Bad shoulders, shitty military, poor DB performance, you probably have a weak upper back, lats, etc. All those muscles that give you a good platform to press from. Training right is a process, and if your stuck and just switch everything around you’ll most likely never learn anything about how YOU respond.

I appreciate the advice but my back is way stronger than my … ‘front’… lol. I can DB row 105s for 5 and do pullups with 35 pounds of extra weight. I’m simply trying to select the advice based on my current experience. Based on this new info, what would you suggest?[/quote]

My suggestions remain the same. Think outside of just DB rows and chins, and more face pulls, shrugs, reverse flyes, etc.

5x10 on every upper body day. Work the mid-back, not just lats.

Are you tall/long arms? Are you a much better deadlifter than squatter? Just curious.

Pat

this is my back day:

8x8 cable row
3x5-8 wide grip pulldown or pullup if you can
3x12-20 chest supported strict db row
2x12-20 bent over rope pull,
i do this once a week and twice a week i do 3-5 sets of heavy db rows

this has helped my bench a shit ton like pat said, just try adding at least 20 sets for back a week

[quote]bignate wrote:
this is my back day:

8x8 cable row
3x5-8 wide grip pulldown or pullup if you can
3x12-20 chest supported strict db row
2x12-20 bent over rope pull,
i do this once a week and twice a week i do 3-5 sets of heavy db rows

this has helped my bench a shit ton like pat said, just try adding at least 20 sets for back a week[/quote]

Wow lol… point taken…

[quote]ragingbassist wrote:
well, you could buy the ebook or you could research it on elitefts.com

Read through some of the training logs.

I pretty much summed the entire plan up for you though.

You pick 1 compound lift and do that lift once a week for 3 weeks. the first week you work your way up to a 5 rep max, week 2 a 3 rep max then week 3 a 1 rep max. [/quote] No, you don’t !? You completely forgot about the reduced max, the percentages used each week etc, going for a rep-max on the last set etc… Frequency on the original 5/3/1 is also different… (3 workouts per week, 4 total workouts per cycle, so the frequency is actually lower than 1/week… But of course that can be changed, like Kroc has done among others) What you’ve described has little to do with Wendler 5/3/1, or did I misread and you were referring to something else? Anyway, OP will need an actual write-up or one of the books.[quote] 4’th week is deload. then you pick another exercise to do the same thing with. [/quote] You can stick to the same exercise for a long time on that program and progress just fine… [quote]

You do 1 big lift

then an accessory to that lift

then an assistance exercise.

this goes for squats and deads.

It works very well. I’d recommend it. [/quote] Lots of different assistance templates out there, too :wink: [quote]

i’m currently doing the 5-3-1 myself. I just came out of a westside split which I did the past 3 months. It got all my lifts up significantly. I’ll go back to that after 3 cycles of 5-3-1

good luck with the bench man. It will come

[/quote]

[quote]ragingbassist wrote:

BTW, to whomever said high reps are useless, that is just not true. Ultra high reps with the classical lifts are not the best for strength, I agree. But high rep work is still very important.

Good luck

just to clarify, I never said they are useless. What I meant was they are not the most efficient way to build strength. But yes, they do have a purpose and are excellent to use every once in a while.

You just cannot expect to up a compound lift significantly if you are only doing 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps week after week. [/quote] No need to do that many sets when you use high reps… What’s the point? That really will make strength gain damn hard.
In 5/3/1 I regularly get 8-9 reps on the last set during 35 week, 6-7 reps during 33 week and 4+ during week 3 on the all-out set… (if I feel like going for a rep-max, that is. And I usually do.)
That works just fine and it’s definitely not low-rep… But it’s moderate/high reps, low sets.
Actually not that different from standard bb training with the exception that you’re calculating working weight off your max and cycle intensity… [quote] Max effort work in low reps but high volume is the key. [/quote] In most PL systems anyway. No argument here.

[quote]Shoebolt wrote:
@ bignate: Mostly strength man, size is more of a secondary objective at the moment.

@ ragingbassist: thanks bro, that helped out a ton, frankly I’m also skeptical of 10x10 for the purposes of strength and power etc. But thanks a lot for the helpful direction, I really appreciate it.

Where can I get more info on this ‘Wendler’ program? I’ve heard about it on other places on the forum but haven’t found a link or website/book reference that details out the system. I appreciate the detail you included, but I feel more comfortable with an authoritative & comprehensive source which I could use to understand it better.[/quote]

Other than the already mentioned, there are some good write-ups available.

Just google Wendler 5 3 1… (not all are correct though)

There is a rather large thread about that program on here, check it out.