Programming Bench Press with Bands

Ok so I have been benching for hypertrophy twice a week lately because I have done a 1RM last month and I don’t want to go heavy again so soon. However as I start to get heavier I want to adress my weakness which lockout strength and speed ( I can grind a lot but the lift is always slow)
so I thought that I should start doing some Bench Press with Bands to fix this problem. How should I program it? I don’t really know what should I do in terms of frequency, volume and intensity. Any advice is greatly appriciated.

Honestly in my opinion, “speed” training does very little for strength development. Training adaptations are very specific so if you train for “speed” at lighter weights, you get better at moving lighter weights. Heavy weights get slow because they are heavy, you get stronger by moving heavy weights.

That being said I still think bands can be a great addition when training for strength, especially when lockout is concerned. There are two ways to use bands with bench press, bands from the bottom, and reverse band (from the top). Bands from the bottom are a great tool but I would not use them for more than once per week, not for more than 3 weeks in a row, and not with super high volume because they can be tough on the shoulders because of the tension they create.

Reverse band training can be used much more often, it just seems to be easier on the shoulders. That being said if you goal is to increase your bench press, you need to be doing the bench press without bands. So if you want to use bands I would recommend once per week of each. If strength is the goal low reps (1-5) for multiple sets (5 plus) is always best.

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Some times a weak lockout means that you started the press out of position.Are you sure your form is good?

If so I fixed my weak lockout by getting stronger at extensions.A nice ‘‘trick’’ I did and I’ll go back to on my next training cycle is after my heavy benching I do 1 all out set of dumbbell press (I pick a weight I can get for 25 reps minimum) and then I immediately go to heavy extensions working up to a 6 rm or something similar

Thanks for all the advice I will probably use bands once per week 5x5 style and do more extensions.

You can do many stuff with bands.You can run 3 week cycles where each week you add either weight to the bar or bands.A 2 board could be useful too.I made one for less than 5 bucks

Search for Benchpedia from Dave Tate

I don’t know if you’ve read this but Dave Tate has a whole section talking about fixing weak lockout

So should I run something like:

week 1: x amount of weight x5x5
week 2: x amount of weight + 10 lbs x5x5
week 3: x amount of weight + 20 lbs x5x5
week 4: Deload

I’d go like 5x5 on the first 2 weeks and 3x5 or 4x5 on the 3rd.This will allow you to start a bit heavier on the first week

and then should I repeat the cycle with heavier weights?

Or you could put more or less band tension and repeat
Or you could run another cycle adding bands each week

But yeah basically you wanna get your 5x5 stronger over the next months

Thanks for advice mate now I am reading the Benchpedia that you suggested!

I’m glad I helped bro

You could also consider

Week 1 - 5x5
Week 2 - 5x4 - roughly 5% increase from week 1
Week 3 - 5x3 - roughly 5% increase from week 2
Week 5 - Deload

This would allow you to add more weight as you drop the reps. Then you could repeat this cycle looking to add 5-10 pounds to each rep range. This gives you more variation and you won’t hit a sticking point quite as fast.

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Whoops meant to reply to TheChosenOne95 on this.

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Keep in mind when you look at Westside percentages that the bands are going to add a considerable amount of resistance on the bottom of the lift.

For Example:

BP Max- 300lb
50% of max is 150lb
bands add ~45lb at the bottom and ~90lb at the top
So the bottom of the lift is ~195lbs and the top is ~240lbs
Which means the bottom of the lift is ~65% of your max and the top is ~80% averaging out to ~72%

This isn’t at all that far off from traditional PL programs that have you go heavy one day and stick to 70-85% for the lighter day. Really, the main thing that’s different about Westside is the variety. It’s just a bit on the extreme end for variety with Bulgarian or Sheiko depending on how you look at it on the other extreme.

And my experience doing it this way is that I actually do get more momentum to push through my sticking point. The bands really do help train me to keep pushing through the whole ROM rather than just popping the weight off my chest and relaxing the rest of the way so I don’t hyperextend my elbows.

You’re using the most amount of weight you can move quickly with a max effort for the volume you select. Some people will need more bar weight and some less. And don’t forget that if you’re feeling good, it’s okay to work up to a heavy single, double, or triple. Just make sure it’s a weight you will absolutely for sure be able to get and you can leave a couple or so reps in the tank too if you want. I actually found DE days harder than ME days.

As far as turning band tension into pounds, it actually gets pretty complicated and isn’t just different from person to person, but different from rep to rep. The above math is just to understand the basic principle.

Having said all that unless you’re benching with a shirt, your lockout issues are more likely a form issue. Raw lifters very uncommonly have this issue without it being related to form and usually miss at the bottom or middle third of the movement. Video!

Thanks for the advice! But yeah now that I am thinking about it, it could be more form related because according to my training my lockout shouldn’t be suffering since my close-grip bench is extremely close to my normal bench. The thing is that the bar accelerates very quickly at the first portion of the lift but towards the end it gets very hard. I think the problem is about the bar path.

Could be bar path. Another possibility is that you lose tightness in your back which commonly happens when people bench. The shoulders start lurching forward and when that happens, the back gets loose and you start leaking power and where ever that happens could be someone’s sticking point.

This is why a video is so helpful. Because it could be any one or more of a variety of different issues.

I would suggest that rather than being weak in the lock out that youre weak off your chest and you’re grinding through it with your lock out strength.

Do you pause your bench? Do you lift every rep (including ramp ups) with all the force you can produce? (Within reason, no one likes the arsehole benching 40kg who gets pulled off the bench)

I never trained with paused bench I always did TNG bench. Should I start pausing them. I will probably upload a video today

Depends on your goals, I assume that as you posted in the powerlifting forum that you have powerlifting aspirations. In which case yes, you should pause your bench press unless yoi are doing TnG as a variation and it is planned.

To clarify, when I say pause, I mean bring the bar to a clear stop rather than 2/3/4/whatever second stop.