T Nation

Raw Bench Sticking Point


Hey guys, just wanted to hear your opinions on my raw bench sticking point,as well as a question. When I bench, I usually stall about midpoint(3-4 inches off my chest.) I have no problem pulling the bar down, and can strict row more than I bench, I also have no problem locking the bar out, so this leads me to believe my chest/shoulders are weak. So should I do high rep DB bench(flat/incline) and overhead pressing (DB/barbell)? And for my max effort movements would Floor press, Incline, and CGBP help? How about 1 or 2 board presses? Am I on the right track or totally wrong here?

And for the second part of my question:
1) What are your sticking points in the RAW bench press?
2a) What muscles do you think are responsible for this?
2b)What exercises do you use to bring this up?

Sorry for the long post, but I would love to hear your opinions on this. Thanks!


The typical sticking point for the raw bench is right off the chest. The most commonly suggested exercises I see are cambered bar bench, DB bench, paused bench, illegal wides and dead bench (a pin press with the pins set all the way down to your chest). For raw, it's also more important for you to have strong lats and shoulders as you already seem to know, so just do tons of rows and military presses/incline presses with barbells and dumbbells. I like chest supported rows with a free barbell a lot, and think it translates better for lat strength used while benching than normal bent over rows or dumbbell rows.


I generally stall at the same point, Ravenous. I'll add in extra long pauses, more than 1 sec, 2-4 sec. So I can work on power off of the chest, giving me the speed to push through my normal sticking point.

To add to Savage, dead bench would be an extreme of what I'm talking about, since dead bench has no eccentric at all.


I have the same sticking point (midpoint, I use a wide as legal grip). Two boards (any grip) are my favorite. I like CGBP too. I've had bad luck with dead bench, pause bench, and db bp, and bb shoulder press. My numbers on those particular exercises will go up, but without translation to my regular bench.

If I use accommadating resistance I'll never use boards for ME lifts. Just seems overkill with lockout work for a raw lifter. Speed work with accommadating resistance helps me. I just have to change up the way I do the speed work every once in a while. Like go from bands to chains. And floor presses with a medium to close grip.


Hmm, maybe they're not as beneficial to those who fail at midpoint and not off the chest. It's honestly hard for me to believe though that any raw lifter's DB bench could get stronger and their normal bench doesn't get stronger as a direct result. For me personally, if my DB bench is feeling strong then I KNOW my bench is going to be stronger.

How does floor pressing help you? I'd bet that floor pressing, DB floor pressing and 1-2 board pressing would help out a lot. Also, you can do OH pin presses instead of just military press or DB military press, I bet the shorter ROM would translate better if your sticking point is a bit higher than right off the chest.


x2. Floor presses are one of my favorite lifts.Especially with chains but thats definitely not necessary. As a raw lifter, it raised my bench incredibly in a few months. I believe around 20-30lbs. Had a horrible midpoint weakness


I had the same sticking point for a while, weighted dips destroyed it. Just make sure you do them controlled and explosive from the bottom.


Thanks for all the replies guys! I'll be sure to use them.


That's a pretty common sticking point....

I'd concentrate on 2 things to get through it.

1) Triceps strength. This means heavy board presses and narrow grip benching. Dips can work if your shoulders are healthy too.

2) work on staying tighter and getting more speed off of the chest. Do you do any speed work?

On a side note...... I wouldn't do high rep dumbbell ANYTHING to try to build strength. Unless you are injured and trying to rehab/prehab something, or doing a light day for assistance work it won't help anywhere near as much as just doing the heavy basic stuff.


Barzeen, thanks for the reply!

1) For the board presses, these would be 1 and 2 boards right? And would this be a ME movement?

2) I don't do any speed work. I've substituted it for RE work since my bench is only 185lbs.


Weighted dips make every aspect of life better.



x2 on Barzeen's suggestions. Triceps and speed. But to be honest, you need to worry about getting overall stronger before you worry about sticking points at the strength level you are at right now.


If you're doing ME work I'd work up to a 3-5RM at your level. And I'd stick to movements that closely resemble the competition lift. Like just changing your grip and using a 1-3 board. I'd also do the movement 3 weeks in a row. This should help you practice the lift. Just slight variations like that could keep you busy for a long time. I have a 265 cgbp max (strongest with index on rings) and I keep the same movement 2 weeks in a row and make good progress that way.


dumbellhead and Fletch:

Totally agree on getting stronger. For my max effort cycle, could it look like this:

Week 1:CGBP(or related movement) work up to 5RM
Week 2:CGBP Work up to 4RM
Week 3:CGBP Work up to 3RM
Week 4:Different movement, repeat cycle.


Sure, you could even do 5, 3, 1. Wendler wrote a book on ME exercises a while ago before his 5/3/1 program where I saw that in there. But I would just keep doing a 5rm each time and just try to increase weight even if it is just 5 lbs so you can keep the volume up and get more practice with the lifts (that would be 15lbs on one exercise in 3 weeks!). Keep good records when doing this type of program so you know what's working and what isn't.


Just remember that the weakest part of the ROM will be an inch or two below where the bar actually stalls out. Momentum will carry you just past the weakest area, so where the bar actually stops is usually above the true "sticking point". If you are stalling 3-4" off the chest, then your sticking point is probably actually just barely off the chest. I'm not convinced that floor presses or board work would be the best course of action. I would go with more stuff like paused BP, t-shirt press, and full ROM overhead work.


SRS2000: Thanks! I'll keep that in mind when choosing lifts.

Fletch (or anyone else really) I was wondering if you could critique my Westside set up now for bench.

ME upper
Bench movement (CGBP,Incline, Bd press etc.) work up to 3-5 rep max
JM press: ramp to 5-8 reps
Lats/upper back
additional tri work (pushwdowns, skulls etc)

RE/assistance upper
Bench movement (CGBP,INcline, Bd press etc.) work up to 8-10 reps on top set
Dips: work up to 5-8 reps
Lats/upper back
additional tri work (pushwdowns, skulls etc)

Thanks for any replies!


How do you feel about your bench press form? If it's subpar I would be doing a comp. form bench press every week perhaps as RE work. I do DE work for bench and every once in a while I'll work up to an easy triple w/ comp. form after the DE work if it's a good day.

Have you looked at the bench press series by Dave Tate? Those are real good for learning about form.

If you're form is already really good, what you have up above should be fine. Bare in mind that my sticking point is an inch or two higher than yours and that my suggestions are based off of what's worked for me.


Fletch, yeah I'm gonna be doing comp. bench for my RE days. And your talking about the "SO you think you can bench" series right? If so, then yes I have checked them out. Thanks a lot for the help Fletch and everyone else! Time to get stronger.


What's a t-shirt press?