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Program Question: Bench Pattern?

hey guys so i started off benching about 200-203 before i started this program. today (monday) is the start of my 4th week and my bench is up to about 212. i started off the first week doing 175 pounds 5x5 and then the second week i tried to move up 5 pounds and do 180 5x5 but struggled. the next week i did 180 again for 5x5 but it was easier and got it done.

so today (monday) i went in and tried to do 185 for 5x5 but really struggled to do even 5 the first set. is there a pattern u guys see? what do u think of it? should i vary my sets and reps every week better instead of doing 5x5 every week?

what does your nutrition look like? Ive noticed If I dont get enough protien in the day before I tend to have my lifts fall by 10lbs.

Are those weights in pounds? 203 and 212 seem like a very strange amount to be benching? Do you have odd increment plates?

Are you the guy that posted the questions about the Eric Cressey and Kelly Bagget manuals?

If so, what do they say? It is tough for the T-Nation member to offer quality advice without knowing the exact details of your training in the gym and out.

If you read up on the Conjugate Training method you will read that athletes nervous systems start to become fried after 3 weeks of heavy lifting. Hence the changing of the exercise on the fourth week. That is something that you might want to keep in mind.

if you are not progressing 8 times out of 10 you’re doing too much. Try doing 1-2 sets less on everything. If you want to switch up the volumn/intensity try the high, low, very high, low scheme if you are doing 4 week cycles.

Week 1 - HIGH volumn/intensity week, go pretty heavy and try to leave the gym feeling tired.

Week 2 - LOW week Cut back on the volumn but keep the intensity fairly high. You should feel as if you had a good workout, and feel just slightly undertrained. You will remove some of the fatiques you generated on week 1 and prepare for week 3.

Week 3 - VERY HIGH volumn and intensity week. Intentionally overreach this week, you should go all out this week and leave the gym feeling very fatique and overtrained.

Week 4 - VERY LOW volumn week. This is basically a deload week. Cut the volumn way down on everything and leave the gym.

Also, you should base your fitness level on vertical jumps instead of bench.

[quote]digitalairair wrote:
if you are not progressing 8 times out of 10 you’re doing too much. Try doing 1-2 sets less on everything. If you want to switch up the volumn/intensity try the high, low, very high, low scheme if you are doing 4 week cycles.

Week 1 - HIGH volumn/intensity week, go pretty heavy and try to leave the gym feeling tired.

Week 2 - LOW week Cut back on the volumn but keep the intensity fairly high. You should feel as if you had a good workout, and feel just slightly undertrained. You will remove some of the fatiques you generated on week 1 and prepare for week 3.

Week 3 - VERY HIGH volumn and intensity week. Intentionally overreach this week, you should go all out this week and leave the gym feeling very fatique and overtrained.

Week 4 - VERY LOW volumn week. This is basically a deload week. Cut the volumn way down on everything and leave the gym.

Also, you should base your fitness level on vertical jumps instead of bench.

[/quote]

I think this sounds like a good idea

how is your vertical jump a good indicator of fitness?

you can jump high and still be weak as hell and have a shit cardiovascular system

I think I might have double posted. this.

[quote]n3wb wrote:

I think this sounds like a good idea

how is your vertical jump a good indicator of fitness?

you can jump high and still be weak as hell and have a shit cardiovascular system

I think I might have double posted. this.[/quote]

Not a good indicator of aerobic fitness. But it is very specific to basketball. A big bench doesn’t necessarily mean anything in basketball. A good vertical leap, however, will give you a huge advantage over opponents.

As a rule I would say anyone with a high vertical leap would not be weak as hell. You would find that most people with a decent vertical have a big squat and the same can be often said for the opposite.

Haven’t checked my vertical yet.

I did eat like shit though during the weekend. got some of my meals in but mostly ate outside food.

basically you guys are saying i cant go very high volume every week. thanks for giving me that outline im going to use that now with the high, low, very high method.

when you guys say high and low, you dont mean the intensity right? lets say for the first week i started off doing 180 at 5x5, so the second week would be low right, but how would it look? More weight less reps and sets or what?

[quote]Man O’ War wrote:
Not a good indicator of aerobic fitness. But it is very specific to basketball. A big bench doesn’t necessarily mean anything in basketball. A good vertical leap, however, will give you a huge advantage over opponents.

As a rule I would say anyone with a high vertical leap would not be weak as hell. You would find that most people with a decent vertical have a big squat and the same can be often said for the opposite.[/quote]

I see I didnt notice his user name.

You can do 5x5 every week (in fact the traditional 5x5 program would have you doing 5x5 three times a week). However, you have to be smart about it.

Doing all 5 sets at the same weight at the proportion of 1RM that you are doing them is not smart. Try ramping up the weight and aiming for 185x5 in your final set. Make the first set at a level so you can have even increments, say 145x5, 155x5, 165x5, 175x5, 185x5.

If you were going to do the traditional 5x5, this would be your Monday bench. On Wednesday you would do 145x5, 155x5, 165x5x3. On Friday you would do 150x5, 160x5, 170x5, 180x5, 190x3, 170x8. Then on Monday you would attempt 150x5 … up to 190x5 and so on.

The vertical leap is the ultimate measure for explosiveness and power. It is perhaps the best predictor of athletic ability in almost all sports. Even in sports like wrestling when there isn’t any jumping involved. It simply tests your ability to express your strength, relative power/strength, cns efficiency, leaness, quickness, short spriint times etc.

Many coaches use the vertical leap to determine whether or not a program is working for an athlete as well. You can often test your vertical leap during a training cycle to determine your fitness/fatique level (whether you are overtraining etc.) Test your vertical before your weight training session after sufficient warmup. Chances are if your vertical leap is significantly below your best or average mark you are not likely to set a PR or even have a good lifting session.

[quote]kobe4life08 wrote:
Haven’t checked my vertical yet.

I did eat like shit though during the weekend. got some of my meals in but mostly ate outside food.

basically you guys are saying i cant go very high volume every week. thanks for giving me that outline im going to use that now with the high, low, very high method.

when you guys say high and low, you dont mean the intensity right? lets say for the first week i started off doing 180 at 5x5, so the second week would be low right, but how would it look? More weight less reps and sets or what?[/quote]

Intensity should always be kept high. I never with “feel” rather than percentages. If you feel good and strong during your first set of 5, put more weight on the bar. If it feels heavy, stick with the same weight, if you are unable to even perform 5 reps , take the weight down and so on. Its really quite simple.

This is an outline that you might consider.

core movement

Week 1 5 x 4
week 2 6 x 3
week 3 5 x 5
week 4 3 x 3 easy

accessories/assistance.

week 1 3 x 10
week 2 3 x 8
week 3 4 x 8
week 4 2 x 6

If your 1RM is 212 then 180 is about 85 % of your 1RM so no wonder that you could not get it. Your 5RM is typically at about 80-85% of your 1RM so you are just aiming too high too quickly.

Try testing your 5RM and set your weights accordingly to something like

1.week 5x5 @ 85% of 5RM
2.week 5x5 @ 90% of 5RM
3.week 5x5 @ 95% of 5RM
4.week 5x5 @ 5RM

Or you could go for new 5RM on week 4.

If you want to use percentages of 1RM you could do something like

1.week 5x5 @ 75%
2.week 5x5 @ 77.5%
3.week 5x5 @ 80%
4.week 5x5 ramping up to a new 5RM

Obviously there are other (and better) options than doing just 5x5 all the time.

how about doing like 155x5, then 160x5, 170x5, 175x5, 185x5?? would that owrk too?

First off strength linearly I don’t care whose program your following Eric, Waterbury or whoever, if it did people would be benching 2000 pounds by now.

Second the closer you get to your max, the slower your gains will be. If your max was 203, of course you can go up in one week from a 155x5 bench to 165 or 175x5.

Third you said it took two weeks to go from 175 to 180x5x5, then it should make sense that your not going to go up exactly to 185x5x5 in one week. It will probably take your 2 weeks or more.

Fourth, what is your weight and age? a 5x5 program is a more advanced program. Most people who are doing 203lbs for a max are not that advanced unless of course your under 160. With that being the case you would be better off with a higher rep program so that your body learns to recruit fibers more efficiently.

[quote]digitalairair wrote:
kobe4life08 wrote:
Haven’t checked my vertical yet.

I did eat like shit though during the weekend. got some of my meals in but mostly ate outside food.

basically you guys are saying i cant go very high volume every week. thanks for giving me that outline im going to use that now with the high, low, very high method.

when you guys say high and low, you dont mean the intensity right? lets say for the first week i started off doing 180 at 5x5, so the second week would be low right, but how would it look? More weight less reps and sets or what?

Intensity should always be kept high. I never with “feel” rather than percentages. If you feel good and strong during your first set of 5, put more weight on the bar. If it feels heavy, stick with the same weight, if you are unable to even perform 5 reps , take the weight down and so on. Its really quite simple.

This is an outline that you might consider.

core movement

Week 1 5 x 4
week 2 6 x 3
week 3 5 x 5
week 4 3 x 3 easy

accessories/assistance.

week 1 3 x 10
week 2 3 x 8
week 3 4 x 8
week 4 2 x 6

[/quote]

i like this approach.

but when u say 5x4 the first week, lets say i do 185 pounds. then the next week is 6x3…should i add more than 5 pounds since im doing less reps or what?

[quote]digitalairair wrote:
if you are not progressing 8 times out of 10 you’re doing too much. Try doing 1-2 sets less on everything. If you want to switch up the volumn/intensity try the high, low, very high, low scheme if you are doing 4 week cycles.

Week 1 - HIGH volumn/intensity week, go pretty heavy and try to leave the gym feeling tired.

Week 2 - LOW week Cut back on the volumn but keep the intensity fairly high. You should feel as if you had a good workout, and feel just slightly undertrained. You will remove some of the fatiques you generated on week 1 and prepare for week 3.

Week 3 - VERY HIGH volumn and intensity week. Intentionally overreach this week, you should go all out this week and leave the gym feeling very fatique and overtrained.

Week 4 - VERY LOW volumn week. This is basically a deload week. Cut the volumn way down on everything and leave the gym.

Also, you should base your fitness level on vertical jumps instead of bench.

[/quote]

I can’t agree with part 1 in this case because he’s only benching around 200-210, and he’s only benching 1x/week.

I was stalled around 200 for about 7 years because I was stuck on the low volume approach-1 workout per week ranging between 1-2 sets to failure up to 4 x 8.

Within 3 months of benching 3x/week I hit 285.

I like the week by week progression though, but I’d bench at least 2x/week at this level-one lighter 3-5 sets of 8-12 and one heavier 4-6 sets of 3-6 reps.

add a set each week to each workout in week 2 and then again in week 3, and then go for 3 WEEKS with 2 hard sets of 8-12 and 3 x 3

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
digitalairair wrote:
if you are not progressing 8 times out of 10 you’re doing too much. Try doing 1-2 sets less on everything. If you want to switch up the volumn/intensity try the high, low, very high, low scheme if you are doing 4 week cycles.

Week 1 - HIGH volumn/intensity week, go pretty heavy and try to leave the gym feeling tired.

Week 2 - LOW week Cut back on the volumn but keep the intensity fairly high. You should feel as if you had a good workout, and feel just slightly undertrained. You will remove some of the fatiques you generated on week 1 and prepare for week 3.

Week 3 - VERY HIGH volumn and intensity week. Intentionally overreach this week, you should go all out this week and leave the gym feeling very fatique and overtrained.

Week 4 - VERY LOW volumn week. This is basically a deload week. Cut the volumn way down on everything and leave the gym.

Also, you should base your fitness level on vertical jumps instead of bench.

I can’t agree with part 1 in this case because he’s only benching around 200-210, and he’s only benching 1x/week.

I was stalled around 200 for about 7 years because I was stuck on the low volume approach-1 workout per week ranging between 1-2 sets to failure up to 4 x 8.

Within 3 months of benching 3x/week I hit 285.

I like the week by week progression though, but I’d bench at least 2x/week at this level-one lighter 3-5 sets of 8-12 and one heavier 4-6 sets of 3-6 reps.

add a set each week to each workout in week 2 and then again in week 3, and then go for 3 WEEKS with 2 hard sets of 8-12 and 3 x 3

[/quote]

i really dont understand your approach.

[quote]kobe4life08 wrote:
i really dont understand your approach.[/quote]

Monday: Bench or dumbell bench press 3 x 8-12. Warm up, then use the same weight for 3 sets. If you can get 12 reps on the FIRST set, then use a higher weight the next week but continue your other 2 sets with the same weight. You might get 12, 10 and 8 reps for example

Friday: Bench 4 sets of 3-6. Again, if you can do 6 on your first set it is a sign to increase weight the next week, but do all 4 sets at the same weight. You might get 6, 5, 5, 4

Week 2: add 1 set to monday and friday workout

Week 3: add 1 more set to monday and friday workout.

Weeks 4-6

Monday: Bench 2 x 8-12

Friday: Bench 3 x 2-3

Again, continue adding weight if you hit 12 reps with your first set on monday an 3 reps with your first set on friday.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
kobe4life08 wrote:
i really dont understand your approach.

Monday: Bench or dumbell bench press 3 x 8-12. Warm up, then use the same weight for 3 sets. If you can get 12 reps on the FIRST set, then use a higher weight the next week but continue your other 2 sets with the same weight. You might get 12, 10 and 8 reps for example

Friday: Bench 4 sets of 3-6. Again, if you can do 6 on your first set it is a sign to increase weight the next week, but do all 4 sets at the same weight. You might get 6, 5, 5, 4

Week 2: add 1 set to monday and friday workout

Week 3: add 1 more set to monday and friday workout.

Weeks 4-6

Monday: Bench 2 x 8-12

Friday: Bench 3 x 2-3

Again, continue adding weight if you hit 12 reps with your first set on monday an 3 reps with your first set on friday. [/quote]

so its a 6 week cycle?

i do 6 weeks then deload for a week and hten do the whole cycle over again?