T Nation

low, low bench press

OK guys, I’m in a similar situation with being plateaued on bench. I’m 6’0, 187, 7% BF. I’ve been stuck with a 225 1-2RM for about 3 years… but my deadlift is 545 1RM, incline the same as flat bench or actually more (235 1-2RM), and military 1RM 205. I only do really deep squats with 325 1RM (ass cheeks to ankles). I’ve gotten stronger on everything but bench in the interim.

After seeing a lot of posts on MFW about overtraining, about a year ago I decided to hit chest (and all muscles) once a week and only do 4-6 sets (2-3 heavy bench / incline on alternating weeks and 2-3 flys / pec deck). This got me ripped, but no stronger.

I’m not a powerlifter but I’d like to get my chest (well flat anyway) back in line. What should I try? In the last 3 years I’ve tried high reps, low reps, negatives, etc.

Dips have worked best for my chest. If you want a better bench, train the triceps. Your forgot to mention your bent row weight.

Have you tried strengthening your rotator cuffs? Usually after a few weeks of rotator work, you might get a 10-20 pound boost on your bench. If you do rotator work, just make sure you keep it LIGHT, heavy weights might hurt them. Also, I try and do it the very last exercise of the week, so they have time to rest.

Sometimes those little assitant moves help out alot.

When my rotator cuffs are strong, my chest exercises always feel stronger too.

Buy the book “Power to the People” by Pavel Tsatsouline and do the linear or wave loading workouts with your bench and you will have yourself a new 1RM in a few weeks.


Going by your lifts the immediate thing that comes to my mind is you’re probably a fairly long legged/long armed guy built to deadlift. For this reason your likely to always struggle on bench and other upper body pushing movements. I would take a phase and dedicate a high volume of work to all upper body pushing muscles while limiting the work on lower body work to once per week or so. There are so many different ways to approach this and they all work. You could try : westside principles, concentrated loading, pure strength training, negative reps…the possibilities are almost endless.

Chad Waterbury’s 100 rep routine using push-ups. No joke. My bench skyrocketed on this routine. Also, I thought it helped a lot when I did weighted dips, ALL the way down, for sets of 3-6.

Like Kelly said with your good DL #'s and poor bench numbers, my guess would be also that you have long legs and long arms and a shorter torso. I can’t recommend westside principles highly enough for increasing strength. Also, drop the pec dec and flys if you want a big bench. It’s all in your triceps. You’re going to have to decide if you want a shapely chest or a big bench because that will influence your training.

well low reps increased my bench quick , i started out at 220 increased my bench to 255 doing 10-12 reps , now ive been doing 8-2 reps , n just yesterday i did 275 twice , wich ive never gone over 255 so its a big improvement