T Nation

Replacing OHP day with a 2nd Bench day


Hello guys. Im new here but ive been using the 5/3/1 for a year or so.
The thing is that while my squat and deadlift are improving the bench press is struggling a lot.
My lower body has always been my strong point but the Bench press is my favourite exercise and the only one that I get to test against my friends because they dont do Squats, deadlifts etc.
I searched for ways to get my bench going up again and everything I read seemed to be the same advice. To bench more than 1 time per week. And Ive seen many bench press programs that incorparate the bench 3 or even 4 times per week.
Now, I know 5/3/1 is not a bench press program but I do wanna focus more on it without changing programs, because I think 5/3/1 works well for my squat and deadlift. But I really dont think OHP is helping me enough to increase my bench.
What is your opinion on changing the OHP day with another Bench press day? Maybe a CGBP this time? Thank you for your time and sorry for my bad english. :slight_smile:


I would keep OHP but do some benching after on that day for extra volume. So if you were doing the Boring But Big template, you could do your BBB bench sets after your OHP. There are many ways you could add some extra bench volume but I wouldn’t scrap OHP altogether.


Are you pressing over 300? Not the bench but the actual press.


No, Im pressing around 185-190 @165lb. I dont think I will ever be able to press 300


I feel your situation.
Just a suggestion, after your 531 OHP , add a second BP movement. CGBP or DB BP, I found CG incline BP helps me. I use either 5s progression or simplest strength template, but there are many to choose from. Push your rows and chins as well
It’s your training to enjoy ,if you want to push your BP go for it. Including squats,DL, and OHP you’ve got things covered.


If you drop the OHP then you’re not doing 531. Also, I have seen numerous people in the past say that you should not choose your exercises because they are your favorite. If anything, you need to be doing the ones that you don’t like because those are the ones that probably need the most work.


Well im not doing 5/3/1 to say that I do 5/3/1. Im doing it to improve my lifts which are now not improving(the upper body lifts). So something needs to change and thats what I thought might be a good idea. If with this change im not doing 5/3/1 I dont really care. Thats just words. I only care if its an ok thing to do and if it will improve my bench press.


Get new friends. Would rather see a group of guys going their relative HAM in the squat rack than flicking each others nips on the bench.


One of the absolute best lifts to help improve your bench press is the overhead press.

Add it as supplemental work on press day if you feel you need to bench more.


Well, I decided to replace OHP with CGBP(I will follow the 5/3/1 template on it) and see how it goes.
I’ll run 2-4 cycle with it and I’ll let you know if my bench improved.


So, hyorinmaru asks if he should replace press with close grip bench, no one thinks that is a good idea (including the same being implied, I think, by Jim Wendler’s comment) and multiple people suggest that he simply add some supplemental bench work after the press (which I would also suggest), and he decides to just replace the press as he originally wanted. I suppose, as Crowley said, “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”


Noone gave me an explanation good enough to support his claim. Especially Jim’s answer was really bad. Im I pressing 300 pounds? At what bodyweight? It would be the same if I was a 300lb guy pressing 300lb and the same if I was a 150lb guy? Of course not. So I dont even take answers like that seriously no matter who they are coming from.
The other guy says change your friends lol.
And adding supplementary work for bench after Ohp I HAVE tried that. I just cant lift the same weight as when im fresh.
So yea I made a decision that contradicts everyones answer just because they ddint give an explanation that satisfied me or they didnt give one at all.


hyorinmaru you are looking at wrong direction. Jim asked about 300lbs press, to show you that you are not at the appropriate level to change the plan and give up OHP 5/3/1 entirely.

If you struggle with bench press probably you dont follow the principles. Very likely yours eating, recovery and yours programming are all bad. Thats why you are struggle with bench press, not because you dont bench 2x week.


Pretty much EVERYONE gave you good enough explanations - it isn’t their problem that you didn’t like them.

Also, I figure if anyone has earned the right to answer your question with a question, it’s Jim.

I struggle with progressing on the bench too. Pressing every week has definitely helped a ton. I’m 10 lbs lighter, my press continues to progress and my bench hasn’t gone down. It might be a coincidence, but I doubt it.

Moral: if you ask for advice, don’t get all butthurt when the advice you get isn’t what you wanted to hear.


If you dont believe 5/3/1 will get you to a 300lbs bench then you should probably do a program which has however many days you think are necessary to bench 300lbs. This would be a better approach than kludging the program.


My answer was pretty obvious. But you knew want you wanted to do before you asked the question - which is not a fault but typical response. Don’t get upset if you don’t like the answer. Just do what you wanted to do in the first place.


This is like the golden rule, what NOT to do when asking for advice. Honestly this happens on these boards every day. Someone asks for advice, doesn’t get the answer they were looking for despite universal agreement on a solution, and goes and does it their own way anyway while claiming everyone else is wrong. You’re just the first person I’ve seen to openly admit you’re doing it because you didn’t get the answer you were seeking


Ya, this is pretty common practice here and in life I think.


I’m still somewhat confused as to why people ask so many damn questions about this program. Its a 3 week with a deload, percentage based program. It has 3 (soon to be 4) books on it for God’s sake. If you want to do close grip do close grip. Its better than just sitting there scratching your ass and asking questions about a straightforward program on a forum anyway.

  1. You asked people for opinions and you got them. There was a clear consensus. If you wanted an explanation for it, you could have asked people to elaborate. Since you did not ask for elaboration, but instead decided to do what you wanted to do anyways, it looks like you were not really even open to considering alternatives.

  2. A significant part of the explanation for the recommendations people give, particularly Jim Wendler, involves personal experience and decades of working with athletes at all levels. That experience, along with am understanding of the anatomy of the lift, tells people that the bench is improved by having strong shoulders of the sort built by the press. You can see that Jim has frequently recommended that people focus on the press when they want to improve their bench, as in these places:
    “I also highly recommend learning to press and make it a priority in your training. … You need strong shoulders to bench press and nothing fits the bill like the press.” https://www.t-nation.com/training/virtual-bench-press-seminar
    "2. Get Stronger Shoulders – this is especially true if you are a raw bench presser and need strength from the bottom. The Press is perfect for strengthening the shoulders."

“Make a commitment to getting strong shoulders. In other words, treat your standing press the same as you would any other major lift.” https://www.t-nation.com/training/blood-and-chalk-2
"Military Press – I think this is so important that I use it as a core lift in my own training (and the 5/3/1 program). Strong shoulders are paramount for a strong raw bench press." https://www.t-nation.com/training/blood-and-chalk-3

Since, as you say, you are only pressing around 185, there is little reason to think that you have maxed out your shoulder strength and it seems plausible that keeping the press for that is wise. All of those links, by the way, include additional advice from Jim on improving the bench press.

  1. If you have tried adding supplemental bench after the press, perhaps it is worth writing out in more detail what you have tried and what results you have gotten so that people can give you feedback most relevant to your situation. E.g., perhaps folk could recommend a set/rep scheme different from what you have done that might help, or a different exercise (such as a variation of the bench). Or, perhaps other issues are worth considering, like the need to build other muscles (e.g., see how much Jim recommends back work and curls in the links above), technique, gaining weight (a central recommendation of Jim’s, and you do not seem far from “the small but painfully vocal segment of 155-pound T NATION readers” Jim imagines being adverse to gaining weight to help their bench), etc. Of course, you can also just ignore everyone, including Jim, and do whatever you think best, but then it really is a mystery why you asked in the first place (unless you were just hoping for affirmation of what you would do anyways). I hope other people who search the forums with your question are more open to learning from other, but wish you luck in your own attempts.