big martin, those are a couple of very interesting questions. i don't compete cause i use lifting to improve my ju jitsu and self defense training. i find that the stronger i get the better my training goes, it is really that simple. i don't know my 1rm in the bench, I did 365 at 220 about 4 years ago, then burned out cause all i would do is bench once a week and try to add more weight onto a 5x5 routine. i didn't know anything about strengthening the triceps or proper technique or using speed days. in fact i never even heard of any of those concepts. then i saw that a guy i went to college with, named joe defranco, was light years ahead of me in his training (we went to the same school and graduated a year apart) and that pissed me off so i found out that he used this westside stuff and started using it 6 weeks ago. i basically guesstimated my max. my technique still stinks, i went to the westside seminar with jim wendler this weekend and he showed me how to drastically improve my bench. the unfortunate problem is that the technique he showed me was so far from what i have been doing that i actually could lift less due to relearning. I don't tuck my elbows in, i didn't even know to use an arch, or even push with my legs. that 375 floor press was done in a hanes t-shirt and champion shorts without even a belt, or wrist wraps. after watching wendler bench i must say that i am pretty green as far as my seasoning goes, i wouldn't even know what to do with a shirt.