T Nation

Let’s Fix My Bench


New to the site. 31 years old. 5’9, about 193 right now (started a bulk on Jan 1, will cut it back down to about 188 after March; typically hover around 10% BF). Been lifting a solid 12+ years, PL the past 5 or so.

Over the years my bench 1RM has gotten as high as 275 and as low as 205. I’m currently struggling at 245 and I simply do not know why. I plan to add a video to this post after my next chest day, which should be in a few days. I’ve had plenty of friends look at my form and work with me and no one can figure out where the weak link is. I do the same weights on virtually all accessory chest and tricep work as my friends who are benching 345+. We weigh about the same, etc.

The reason my bench is so concerning for me is that I pull 550+ and squat 450+. My goal for 2018 is to break 600/500 on my deadlift and squat and I’m fairly confident that I’ll achieve it or come very close. If I was hitting 275x3 relatively easily and consistently or at least 315x1 I wouldn’t be so concerned with my bench but it is my one horrible lift and I can’t figure it out. Has anyone ever heard of someone with such an out of whack ratio for their big 3? My last meet I pulled 565, squatted 455 and barely eeked out 225 bench, at 181lbs. A 1245 total isn’t bad but I feel like it should be 50-90lbs heavier, at least.


Post a video.

Post your training including weight moved.


Video will be coming, probably tomorrow. Recent training has looked like:

185x5 x3

Thats just been something I’ve been using the past month because it feels like I am making some progress. Running this 2-3x per week. A few weeks ago I was barely able to hit 225. Even with some mild progress, my bench is pitiful. In the past I’ve tried 5x5 programming and have been considering adopting the Bulgarian method and benching every day as I already squat almost every day.


So you added 20lbs and reps in 2 weeks? Sounds pretty good to me.


I’m guessing you have long arms since you can deadlift 565 but your bench is weak, a bigger arch would help with that. If you are benching 3x/week then maybe have one day a high volume/higher rep day, you could do sets of 6-8.

Do you only do competition bench press or do you use some variations as well? Close grip, wide grip, slingshot, floor press, etc. can be useful. If doing the same thing over and over isn’t working then it makes no sense to continue with it.


Sort of. As I mentioned, my bench has been erratic over the years, getting as high as 275 and as low as struggling at 205. I’m 31 and for the most part my weight has been consistent for several years now. In all of my other lifts progress has been mostly linear, if slow. With bench it’s as if I’ll hit the gym and just have lost 25% of my power one day. I’ll hit a lighter workout, put it down to not being prepared or being over tired or something, come back in several days and struggle again. Then I will work my way back up, only to usually experience a drop off again. So while 20lbs in 2-3 weeks would be great progress if it was PRs and genuine progress, it’s more like I’m constantly trying to just get back to where I’ve already been and haven’t made any new progress in years.


Forget where your bench has been. That’s the past, even if it is recent. It will get in your head and derail you.

While you’re steadily putting weight on the bar, you’re doing great. When you have 3 or so sessions in a row that are in thr toilet, then come back.