T Nation


Can anyone suggest a way out of my current stagnation? I have been stuck on a 220 lbs b/press for 18 months now.I am 51 yrs old,
weigh 165 lbs and have been training for 30+ years. I have been using west side methods for 2 yrs and have chains and bands although my gymn is not a powerlifting gymn i have had some great results except for b/press. I have recently finished the Big Bad Bench routine for the 2nd time( doing it 1 after the other) and am still stuck on 220 lbs.
Any help out there?

Since you’ve been following the westside routine consistently you know you need to focus on bringing up your weak movements/muscle groups. Where are you failing on your bench? At this point in your training (30 years experience) it’s possible you might just be maxed out in strength for your current bodyweight. I would take the strength deficit test as outlined in Don Alessi’s recent article. If your max eccentric strength and concentric strength are relatively close (less than or equal to 20%) than a mesocycle emphasizing higher reps and bodybuilding type methods to increase tissue cross-sectional area along with weight gain will result in further strength potential. If your strength deficit is still greater than 20% than there are still plenty of neural system training methods that likely will increase your bench.

On another forum a user reported exceptional success with a 5 rep scheme. Start lower than you 5 rep max, add 5 lbs per day. When you get stuck, that is, your form goes to hell,his suggestion was to use a ladder appraoch @ that weight. ladders are do one rep, perhaps a 2-1-2 pace. rest an eqal amount of time as the previous rung, (5 seconds here), do 2 reps, rest as long as it took to do those 2, then three. rest 3-5 minutes, do another. There are so many ways to skin a cat. This much is true, if what you are doing isn’t yielding any return, then s*&t can it. I am starting tomorrow on the same routine above, bench and chin. power cleans for lower body and that is it beyond some general conditioning stuff.

you may want to try changing something up. It seems as though you’re “banging your head against the wall” trying to break that 220 plateau. Try a 4 week program focussing on dumbbell work, incline presses, or working in a rack and doing a progression of partials. Doing two of the “big bad bench” programs back to back may also have left your nervous system a bit burned out, so a rest week could be another option. Kelly recommended some good stuff as well. Good luck.

do a different routine then west side, where is your weak part in your bench. do some partial rep work in that range. You might need some rest off. how often do you do chest? maybe if you cut back on your training frequency it might help you recoup better. laters pk

i hope you realized that big bad bench is a sub optimal benching program. Tate even says so himself. It is a simplified program somewhat more skewed to BBing. I would read the articles again (particularly the periodization bible- it has everything in it) and created your own benching workout.

Also, how strong are your legs? back?

Sometimes a weak lower body, relative to upper body, strength is the limiting factor. Just another thought.

Many other factors come in to play besides a training regimen alone. Perhaps you need to look at your diet more than your training program. You probably already know this but sometimes a reminder helps. Something to think about.