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Poor Bench Press for Years

Ok I’m new to the site so go easy on me if I have not posted In the right place or any other mistakes I may make whilst putting this together!

Little about me , I am 29 years old been training since I was 17 but only learnt how to actually train and diet when I was 26. OK so I’m 75kg max squat 120kg always below parallel, max deadlift 180kg with good form (so I’m told) bench…90kg.

Now I have been stuck on bench ever since I can remember. At the age of 26 I could bench 80kg

Currently in her majestys establishment and have been since 2015 but 6 months ago this was my diet for about 1 year. 8am porridge and 4 boiled eggs 10am peanut butter on toast 12pm rice with chickpeas and half a tin of tuna 2pm 4 weetabix 1 protein shake 4pm rice with chickpeas and half a tin of tuna. Gym at 6pm straight after gym 7pm coco pops and protein shake 745pm half a chicken with rice and mix veg 10pm 3 eggs scrambled. This diet coupled with 2 different training programs that I did throughout the year packed on some good size (bulky) aswell as strength. I entered hmp at 65kg 6 months ago I was 85kg. Now I have entered a new establishment and the food is not the same…

I am bow 75kg but have some how managed to keep the strength I had. I was under the impression that if I loose weight my strength would go (it did a little but I kept training and worked it back up again). The training I have been doing is percentage training which is basically 10 reps 5 sets at 60% then the following week 8 reps 5 sets at 70% then 5x5 at 80% 5reps 3 sets at 85% then 3x3 at 90%.

This program (I have written it as clearly as I can remember) worked for my squat and deadlift but not for my bench. I then changed the program for another and my bench did not improve but but squats and deadlift did. I have recently met a professional power lifter along my travels and he has recommended 5 reps 3 sets on a weight you can do, once you complete it you add 2.5kg each side and then you go again 5 reps 3 sets. If you don’t get all the reps you have to do it again the next week. Same rules as the other programs I did.

The other day I went to do my bench press and put 30kg a side on the bar (80kg total) now I have been stuck on this 80kg for over 2 months now and I really thought I had the 5 reps 3 sets but I got 2,1,2. I felt so raged and pissed off I could not get it.

I have tried so many other different methofs of training and taken loads of people’s advice to the point I just think none of them know fuck all. I’m sure my genetics have something to do with it but I just want to get to 100kg. Loads of guys have said jump on gear but I want to hit certain numbers before I do that and I’ve got them for squat and deadlift but not bench.

I have no idea what to do , if anyone could advise me that would be great. Thanks

Things that have helped me are gaining weight, not saying you can’t be strong at 75kg but i can almost guarantee your bench would go up, also do more volume and bench more do it 3 times I week if you really want it to go, don’t know how much sleep you get but at least 8 hours. Hope I this helped.

Trying to get a better idea …what is your current height?

How many times per week are you benching? What other pressing exercises are you doing? I would suggest benching at least twice a week and adding a couple other exercises like close grip bench, dips, dumbbell bench, and overhead press. Also you probably need to sort out your technique, like staying tight and keeping your shoulder blades retracted, not doing those things will definitely limit how much you can bench.

You don’t need any fancy set/rep scheme at your level, I got to a 300lb bench just by working up to a hard set of 3-5 and doing a few backoff sets plus the same sort of assistance lifts that I mentioned. It should be fairly simple to make progress unless you are doing something seriously wrong. Gaining some weight would help too.

What does this mean:

Are you in jail or the military or what?



Not in military I am still in jail but open conditions so I have access to phone n wot not. I am benching once a week. I lay down on the bench maintain 3 points of contact always, feet, arse and upper back. I have a big arch in my back as I push my chest right out. I do pinch shoulder blades together. I do hAve long arms and I think that is potentially some issue maybe. On a typical bench day I warm up with the bar then 50kg 10 reps then 60kg 5 reps 70kg 1 rep then 80kg and the program starts.

After this is done I go to 70kg and rep to failure usually 8 - 10 reps 3 sets of this on the 3Rd set I am getting around 5 reps but spotted to 10. After this I do top chest 60kg 5 sets to failure start with 10 reps but on the 5th set I’m getting around 4 reps but spotted to 10. Tricep workout after this consists of pushdowns, overhead cable, reverse trice extension (palms facing you) 4 sets to failure no more than 10 reps per set for trice work outs. The next week the tricep work put will be with the Olympic bar close grip press 60kg 3-5 reps 4 sets, skull crusher with Olympic bar 40kg 3-5 reps 4 sets. Fol lowed by dips 5 sets to failure

Benching once a week sometimes twice. One day the program one day dumbells

I hear what you ate saying but went from 65kg to 85kg and my bench went from 80kg to 90kg… how much would I have to put on just to press…

The way you are training is not very good and can at least partially explain why you aren’t making any progress. Problems that I see are doing high reps for your warmups which will cause fatigue and affect the actual work sets that have the potential to make you stronger, going to failure on every set is another thing that you shouldn’t be doing - try to avoid failure as much as possible, stay at least one rep from failure. And this:

That’s just causing extra fatigue and not doing anything to make you stronger.

If you want a basic bench program, try this:

Day 1
Bench press - 5 sets of 5 - start with a weight that you are sure you can complete the sets with, maybe around 75% of your max, add 5lbs (or 2.5kg or whatever you have there) each week
Dumbbell bench - 3 hard sets 8-12 reps, don’t fail any reps
Dips - same thing
Dumbbell flys - same

Day 2
Close grip bench - 3 sets 8-12 - not a ridiculously close grip, just closer than your regular grip
Overhead press - same - you can do this sitting or standing, it doesn’t really matter
Push ups - 3 sets as many reps as possible - don’t fail!
Pick one tricep exercise (like skull crushers or pushdowns) and do 3 sets

Eat more too, if you can. Doing too much volume and pushing to failure all the time combined with not eating enough to grow will make you stay weak.

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Thank you, I will implement your suggestions and will update in due course

I don’t want to be that guy, but 5/3/1 will do the job, if you really wrap your head around the submaximal bit.


Work on upper back. Lots of rows, shrugs, etc.

You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe. But realistically, there are about a million things you could be doing wrong. Without video it’s all just a shot in the dark.


I just had a look at it. It is similar to the other programs I have done however it goes off of 90% of 1rm which is different. And after a 4 week cylce 10lbs upper body added and 5lbs lower added. Looks good!