T Nation

My Bench Press is Straight Sh*t


First of all sorry for my bad english. I’m from Europe.

So after doing starting strenght for about a year my lifts were:

Squat - 310 lbs (140kg)
Deadlift - 400 lbs (180kg)
OHP - 120 lbs (54kg)
Bench Press - 165 lbs (75kg)

I’m 6’2 (even a bit more - 190cm) and around 200 lbs.

I’m eating healthy 3000-3300 cal a day.

Right now I did only one cycle, but!

Squat - 354 lbs (+44 lbs!) - 160kg
Deadlift - 444 lbs (+44 lbs!) -200kg
OHP - 132 lbs (+12 lbs) - 60kg
Bench Press - 176 lbs (+11 lbs) - 80kg

I’m doing sprints and pylo after warm ups (I play basketball and I like to jump a lot)

I usually do 3x3 running two feet jump to some high point (I got a point that I jump to at my gym, a bit higher than regular basketbal rim) and 3x3 box jumps. Before squats I do goblet squats 3x10 as activation and before bench and ohp I do 2x20 cuban press as activation.

So can I do something to help my bench press? I read that for bench press strong upper back is very important and I’m shitty when it comes to pull ups (Max is 3).

Can that be a case?


You did SS in the past but how are you training currently and what program did you do for one cycle?


Most of the time if one particular lift is giving you trouble, its a technical issue. Post a video of a near-max bench and I’m sure you’ll get lots of pointers on your technique and weak points.


Sorry I forgot to mention that I run 5/3/1 now. It’s my second cycle and It feels great.

It looks like that

5x10 - 70% from main lit, on squat day I do 5x10 box squats, same on deadlift day other days are same as main lift

  • lower body day
  • GHD extension 5x10
  • Hanging knee rises 4x12
  • Farmer walk 4x max
  • upper body day
  • barbell rows 5x10
  • pull ups (right now as much sets I need to do to hit 10 reps, when I be able to do it in 3 sets I rise number to 15)
  • push ups (50-75 total)
  • dumbell curls

end it with stretching

I do sprints 2x a week and play some hoops


You could try the 5x5, 5x3 and 5x1 assistance challenge from the Beyond book. That way you would eventually peak in strength and most likely make some progress. I was stuck with 100,0kg on bench for 6 months straight. I could do a double with that weight but 102,5 just crushed me each time I tried. I solved it by benching more frequently than just once a week.


So you advise to add another 5x5 or 5x3 bench press at other day? If I do benching on thursdays and OHP on mondays I should throw it in mondays after OHP?


11lbs in cycle is a good result. I’m not sure what the issue is, you just have to give it time (years).

5/3/1 should have you doing all the back work you need. It’s usually very high volume for the back.


As tsantos said, 11lbs is good progress for one cycle of 5/3/1. The program is clearly working for you so I’d probably run the challenge through as it is doing each lift once a week and try the frequency method after that.


I’ll second what @Furius and @tsantos said.

I’ll also add that I’ve found mutilple FSL sets for bench help, as does doing bench as assistance after pressing. I chuck in 3x10 of bench at 60% TM supersetted with 3x12 lat pull-downs, did that the last cycle and a bit. Seems to work well. Dips help too IMO.

But, like has been said before, see the challenge through. You’re making decent progress as it is.


Okay so I just keep on grinding. I try adding additional bench press after my OHP, I take a look at it and as you say maybe Im making small progress but progress is progress. I just have to live with the fact that my legs are way superior to my upper body.


Also I make a photo progress log and after sending my fresh poto to friend he says the problem might be my tricep. Look at foream to bicep/tricep and shoulder ratio.


Your numbers about match your build. You just need to keep doing what your doing because it’s not gonna happen overnight. Keep working away and eating right and be patient

If you really feel the need to bring your bench up then try benching more. Bench 3 times a week, one heavy 5 sets of 3 reps, then a light session tagged on at the end of a session doing 3x20, then a medium one doing 3x10. If your recovery is fine then this can work pretty well.

Also dips and pin presses, flat and overhead can build better tri strength, but that will also come with time


Could give pin press a shot, never even heard about it before. To be honest I dont give me tri any love (no isolations whatsoever) and again if something to add I think pin press is my way to go.

And I’m looking foward to switch my deadlift to trapbar deadlift beacuse I got bad levers for it and my form hurts (I cant go low enough with my legs and below the knee point my back starts to arch). So I figured out if im just looking to get stronger and more athlethic it would be safer for me to switch.


You don’t need isolation work to make a body part strong and grow. Close-grip bench and dips are about as effective triceps-dominant assistance movements for bench as possible.


My bench press is almost a close-grip bench press I feel stronger doing it that way. I tried doing it with wider grip and it didnt work well for me (I felt weaker). As you suggested I try benching more and see what happens overtime


Then the problem might not be anything specific like your triceps. I’d go through the 5x5, 5x3 and 5x1 challenges of 5/3/1. If that doesn’t yield results, simply bench more frequently.


They are pretty good tri builders as you can overload and use heavier weights and they strengthen your lock out

but I really don’t think you need to specialise and stress about bringing your bench up. I would work on sorting out your weak chin up performance.


Any advise in that matter? I really want to bring it up beacuse I belive strong person should control own body and by doing max of 3 chin ups in one set im not anywhere close to controling my own body.

Also rowing has nothing to do with that, beacuse I can do 80kgx5 pendlay row…


You are only aiming for 10 which is pretty low for a session

A couple of methods would be

1)setting a timer for 15 minutes, start by knocking out 2 reps, rest, 2 reps, rest and so on for the full 15 minutes, keep your rest short but enough to recover to do the next 2. Beat your score every session. Im sure you will do many more than 10 in this fashion. After a while do 3 then rest and so on.

  1. every session do a few reps in between your sets of other exercises.

3)once you hit failure have someone take a bit of your weight and get a few bonus ones, lower yourself independently nice and slow. Or jump up and then lower.


Will do, thanks for help.