I’m 6’4", 194lb, and about to turn 33 years old. I’ve been strength training for about 6 months and am in the best shape of my life. My goals are to A) enjoy training by way of short & simple workouts, B) improve my overall fitness level and set a baseline for lifetime fitness, and C) improve my aesthetics (less gut fat, bigger arms and chest). I’m also getting back into tennis, so I would really prefer to not put on more than another 10-15 lbs.
I’m moving to 5/3/1 BBB from Starting Strength. I progressed well on SS (5rm squat from 140ish to 230, press from 50 to 102, and I gained nearly 15 lbs). I could probably stick with it a bit longer, but at the end it started getting really grueling and I wasn’t looking forward to training anymore. Reference goal A above. Also, 5/3/1 BBB’s short sessions, compound movement focus, and strength focus but with some hypertrophy all appeal to me.
The problem is my right AC joint. It won’t let me bench. Even 1x5 with an empty bar will light it up for weeks. I haven’t had a ton of experience incline benching, but the few times I’ve done it I believe it also irritated my shoulder. Overhead pressing, on the other hand, doesn’t bother it at all. I don’t really care that much about not benching. I’ve never liked the lift. I’m happy just overhead pressing. However, while my arms and shoulders are growing, my chest is pretty flat.
So my question is, other than just not worrying about my chest…how would you program 5/3/1 BBB for someone that can’t bench but wants more chest development? Find an alternate lift (e.g., reverse grip bench, weighted dips, weighted pushups, etc.) to replace flat benching? Or just program more chest-focused accessory work such as flyes and pushups on my press days? Or some other approach?