T Nation

Quest for a 405 Bench Press

There was another thread about this that I read back when I was a lurker, but it’s pretty old now and I thought it would probably be better to make a new one.

Anyways, I have never taken bench press incredibly seriously (I’m sorry if that offends anyone), but after reading VTBalla’s advice in another thread about changing grip I went out and maxed out with a narrower grip and managed 15lb paused PR and just couldn’t lock out a 20lb touch and go PR. But the important thing is I’m suddenly at a solid 320 bench despite not having trained it heavy in months and that isn’t too far from getting to 405.

I’m not looking for someone to write me a program, just looking for general advice as to what I should be doing. In the past I’ve just benched, but I plan to incorporate floor press, paused sets, board press, and weighted dips once I get a belt for them. My main question is whether or not I should be focusing on volume or weight while training and are there other exercises that would be beneficial to increasing my bench. Also, how frequently should I be training bench? I know a lot of people do 1-2 days a week only for each of the big three lifts, but I’ve never felt like that was sufficient for me.

Thanks before hand for your input.

How’s your speed? Any issues with tightness?

My speed feels fine. Even on the 325 miss I got up it to the sticking point quickly. I am actually surprised out how quick they are coming up.

What do you mean by tightness?

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
My speed feels fine. Even on the 325 miss I got up it to the sticking point quickly. I am actually surprised out how quick they are coming up.

What do you mean by tightness? [/quote]
Your back, and from how you described your speed, I’d guess it’s not bad.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:

I’m not looking for someone to write me a program, just looking for general advice as to what I should be doing. In the past I’ve just benched, but I plan to incorporate floor press, paused sets, board press, and weighted dips once I get a belt for them.[/quote]

If your regular bench is the heaviest thing you’ve lifted then you’re missing out IMO. Board presses or bench with chains over load the top of the movement. It lets you take a weight that you can’t YET get off your chest and work with it. It also serves to mentally prepare you for pressing the weight off your chest at a later date, because you’ve done it before in some capacity, say a 4 board press w/ 405. You’ll know what 405 feels like so now all you gotta do is work it down to your chest.

I’m a big fan of the main movement being low reps to train for ‘strength’ and to work the CNS. Rep work and volume is for supplemental and accessory movements. I would elaborate but you didn’t ask for programming. I can later detail that if you ask me.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote: Also, how frequently should I be training bench? I know a lot of people do 1-2 days a week only for each of the big three lifts, but I’ve never felt like that was sufficient for me.

Thanks before hand for your input.[/quote]

Ask yourself is what you’re doing working? If so, then keep at it if not, then try something else. I can’t possibly see how 2 days a week isn’t enough assuming that you are actually training heavy.

I would also add to not fall into the trap of wanting a bigger bench so you just bench press all the time. This is counter intuitive to what actually works. Big benchers have big backs. Benching is a whole body movemment and the back muscles play a huge part in the effort. If you haven’t yet, get to You tube and watch the Eflte fts “so you think you can bench” series. Compare it to what you currently do and correct as necessary. Good luck dude.

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:

I’m not looking for someone to write me a program, just looking for general advice as to what I should be doing. In the past I’ve just benched, but I plan to incorporate floor press, paused sets, board press, and weighted dips once I get a belt for them.[/quote]

If your regular bench is the heaviest thing you’ve lifted then you’re missing out IMO. Board presses or bench with chains over load the top of the movement. It lets you take a weight that you can’t YET get off your chest and work with it. It also serves to mentally prepare you for pressing the weight off your chest at a later date, because you’ve done it before in some capacity, say a 4 board press w/ 405. You’ll know what 405 feels like so now all you gotta do is work it down to your chest.

[/quote]
x2 I was just going to suggest that

Yeah, that’s why I’m starting board pressing and floor pressing.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
Yeah, that’s why I’m starting board pressing and floor pressing.[/quote]
What you will get out of floor pressing will be dependent on your proportions. Describe your build.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
Yeah, that’s why I’m starting board pressing and floor pressing.[/quote]

Well then, since you have your plan there’s no need for further posts in here… o wait…lol

good luck.

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
Yeah, that’s why I’m starting board pressing and floor pressing.[/quote]
What you will get out of floor pressing will be dependent on your proportions. Describe your build.[/quote]

6’ 220. Average proportions. I don’t have long legs or arms or a particularly long or short torso. Everything is pretty even.

I’m doing floor presses to address lockout issues. I don’t have access to chains so I’m somewhat limited in what I can do. I would love to use them, but they’re not going to be an option for a while.

Bands though are fairly cheap and portable so I should probably get some. Need to go research good bands.

Pin press, literally top top portion, this is amazing, it makes normal weights feel super light.

example

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
I don’t have access to chains so I’m somewhat limited in what I can do. I would love to use them, but they’re not going to be an option for a while.

[/quote]
I found an industrial rigging place near me that had “used” chain for cheap. It looked pretty lightly used but cost 1/2 price. If you train at home this might be an option. I’ve lugged chains into the gym. I’m sure I looked like a real doosh. o well

I’m back at college and I don’t have the money afford a local gym membership (if there even is a decent one around) so I work out at the crappy university gym. They would have a heart attack if I brought chains in. Don’t bands provide a similar benefit? From what I understand the purpose of both is to increase resistance during the lift.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
I’m back at college and I don’t have the money afford a local gym membership (if there even is a decent one around) so I work out at the crappy university gym. They would have a heart attack if I brought chains in. Don’t bands provide a similar benefit? From what I understand the purpose of both is to increase resistance during the lift. [/quote]
They yield the same applications, but the forces are different (tension vs weight). Bands intensify with respect to your straight weight while chains augment. Reverse bands is an option that imitates a very loose bench shirt.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
Yeah, that’s why I’m starting board pressing and floor pressing.[/quote]
What you will get out of floor pressing will be dependent on your proportions. Describe your build.[/quote]

6’ 220. Average proportions. I don’t have long legs or arms or a particularly long or short torso. Everything is pretty even.
[/quote]
I see. Make sure to elicit some form of pause.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
I’m back at college and I don’t have the money afford a local gym membership (if there even is a decent one around) so I work out at the crappy university gym. They would have a heart attack if I brought chains in. Don’t bands provide a similar benefit? From what I understand the purpose of both is to increase resistance during the lift. [/quote]

I just saw this thread and browsed through it.

I will just say that I have never in my life benched against chains or bands…

Obviously I am not the strongest guy out there, but you contrary to popular opinion, they are not necessary. Your basic barbell lifts plus smart assistance, programmed correctly, will get you head and shoulders above the majority of your peers.

What do you guys recommend to help with ailing tightness?

Well, I’m doing the Smolov Jr spreadsheet I could find.

It goes
Week 1
M - 6x6 70%
W - 7x5 75%
F - 8x4 80%
Sat - 10x3 85%

Week 2 +10 LBs
Week 3 +5 LBs/+15LBs on original weight

Every rep for the first day I did paused and focused on maximizing speed. Same thing for the first 5 sets of week 1 Wednesday’s workout. Last 2 sets were touch and go, paused on the last rep. Did some bicep work for about 30 minutes afterwards, rested for about 15 minutes, maxed out and got 325 fairly easy. Won’t be maxing out again until I finish the 3 week cycle and deload, but I felt like I had it in me after missing it barely earlier on and I wanted to get it.

Would it be okay to do some additional shoulder work once or twice a week? My shoulder strength and size is lagging behind in comparison to chest/tricep strength. My max strict press was 195 when my bench was 305, as I understand it that is not a very good ratio. Really want to be able to OHP my body weight in the next 2-3 months.

Yeah as someone who just recently got to 405, I’m in agreement with VTBalla - you really don’t need to add in a bunch of fancy toys yet. At 6’ 220, you could continue to increase your bench just by benching and programming the appropriate assistance work. And I would be really careful about adding in too much too fast. CT always talks about that, usually mentioning the fact that if you add too many things at once you won’t be able to tell what it was that actually helped. More importantly, you can diminish the effectiveness of those tools (lifts, accessories like bands or chains, rep protocols, intensity techniques, etc.) in the future. It’s better to stick with the basics until you cease to make progress.

And if you’re going to do a high volume pressing routine like Smolov, you really shouldn’t add in additional overhead pressing. As it stands, doing 10x3 with 85% of max is going to be pretty hard. Once you get off Smolov, then you can focus more on overhead pressing (but during that time, you should cut your bench volume significantly).

Just my two cents. My bench increased 90 lb. in the last 12 months with my only “assistance” exercise being close grip bench once a week.

Thanks for the input!