T Nation

Sheiko Bench Problem


Hi everyone, I've been lurking around this site for quite a bit and just had a question that has been bothering me. I read that a lot of people usually get nothing little to no poundage added to their bench using sheiko and I feel the same way, actually I feel as if I've regressed. I've done 29, 37 and am now currently on 40 and will do 32 once i am done. My 1RM for bench was 295 going into the program and I have added 5 pounds to each of the percentages each month. Today required me to work up to 90% for 3 sets of doubles which is 275. I did a double with 265 first then added 5 lbs and could only manage 1 with 270 and then did another single to even it out. I then did 1 3 second pause with 265 for a single and decided to rep 225 to finish off instead and to my surprise ended up doing 6, resting for way under 10 seconds and doing another 5. I don't understand how this could be. I am obviously going to continue to do the program until the end but if anyone has any experience with something like this or general suggestions as to what would be the best course of action after I'm done the program (would like to run it again lol it's fun) then please let me know. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you guys

PS I know I probably have technique issues as well and will be posting a video of me benching wednesday since that's when I bench next. Again thanks guys :slightly_smiling:


A couple of things. First, from what I've read elsewhere, I'm not sure 40 is actually a Sheiko program. Seems it might be a higher intensity version of one of the others. Second, is this your first experience with a Sheiko program? If it is, running 40 seems pretty crazy to me -- it has a TON of volume even when compared to the other already high volume programs.


I guess I would ask why you want to continue the program and why you have continued it for so long? You have read that lot of people don't get great results (which I have found to be true), you yourself are getting poor results, why would more of the same help you out? Sheiko is high frequency and high volume but low intensity.

A lot of people need that higher intensity to make progress, especially when their bench is below 350 or 400 lbs. To me I would say you have learned that frequency and volume alone are not enough to make your bench go up, so now you know you need significantly more intensity in the program. Whether that will need to be combined with a higher or lower frequency is yet to be established.

Get off that program and get on to something new. If you want to go high intensity low frequency try Wendler's stuff or try the 6 week article I put up recently. If you want to go high intensity high frequency try the 8 weeks to a super bench article I wrote that was based off of a CT extreme bench program. Those are just suggestions but doing the same thing and expecting different results doesn't make much sense to me. You are not program hoping, you have done 2 cycles, that is enough to know if it will work for you or not.


One thing I heard recently was to add 5% to your bench when making your calculations. I've only run 29 and the 5 week comp cycle but I shot my bench up 25#'s after that. I think it was the switch to high frequency/volume benching that I wasn't used to, which helped me make that gain. I'm doing 37 now, and will stick with Sheiko (37/29/32) until the gains stop (which is where you seem to be now) and go anouther route.

Have your other lifts improved much?


There is no such thing as sheiko calling for 3 doubles at 90%.... The only way that would happen is if you did increase the bench by 5% as inkaddict suggested (which is indeed a great idea) and it was a 85% 3x2 day... But that being said, there is nothing wrong with the bench on sheiko. I personally have gained 50lb out of it in my last 4 cycles...

The way I do it is to increase my 1rm by 5% for calculating (IE instead of 100lb, but 105 or instead of 300 put 315 into the calculator.. you get the idea) and I pause every single rep. You also need to be doing your chest flyes every workout, but keep them very light, like 10% of your 1rm (IE for 100lb max use 2 5lb DB). Then, I personally like to add some shoulder work and definitely a bit of upper back.


@burt: yes it's my first time running sheiko and I didn't know it wasn't a program :S never heard that

@Tim: I only want to continue the program because i have seen good results with my squat and deadlift so far and read that after 2 or 3 cycles you run 32 which ends in testing your maxes, so I figured I would finish up and see it through to the end. I only wanted to continue because I've also read that people make adjustments to the program that suit them better and allow them to progress further and thought i could maybe do something like that. But if getting off the program is the best thing to do then I'll do that.

@ink: add 5% before running your first cycle? and nice gains :slightly_smiling: and yes they have, i did 3 fast, easy singles with 15 lbs below my max on squat and doubled by 1RM on deadlifts on pin pulls a little above mid shin, which is the point i begin to slow down at


@arramzy: Sheiko 40 week 3 day 1 has it written :S I didn't increase the percentages on the program sheet itself, so it always just said 90%, and I have been doing all my flies lol keeping it light too, using 30-40 lbs and I pause every single rep as well

btw thank you for the responses guys, it's all greatly appreciated


I don't remember where I heard that though....haha, thanks for that, actually.

I'll "x2" the "pause every rep" statement. I've been doing this and every rep feels stable. When I'll do a lighter set just touch/go, it's not stable and is uncomfortable. Also making me think I should drop the #s I use on my flyes.


What classification are you as a lifter?
Is this your first time doing Sheiko?
Why are you running a 4-week cycle (that includes one of the more intense programs) instead of a 3-week cycle?

You're in a fatigued state after having run many weeks of Sheiko. You're attempting three doubles with 90% of your max, except it's really your max +10 lbs.

If I were you, I would just run 29-37-32.


@bcingu: I guess I'm a class 2 181 lb lifter. Yes it is my first time running sheiko and I didn't know their were 3 week cycle's, I just read on the 4 week ones. As for my the doubles it was actually 20 lbs below my starting max. And I'm guessing running 29-37-32 is much better and won't leave me as fatigued?


Precisely my point. Sheiko 40 is not a real sheiko style program. I hope when you say 30-40lb you mean 15-20lb pair of DB. As well, for a first run through sheiko this is a much too difficult cycle btw... Even if you are a CMS or higher lifter (Which I doubt based on your bench max), then you really should follow the other guys advice and run 29-37-32. This is plenty hard for a first run. For a class I or class II lifter this would be verrryyy challenging depending on what they are used to and for aclass III lifter this would be a terrible idea.


On the soapbox :slight_smile:

I'm no elite powerlifter by any means but i really can't see how these programs are fun at all. I think you should "experience" your sessions and think on your feet, sometimes called auto regulation but that just makes it sounds complicated, its not i got the hang of it in a month and i will never go back to root percentage based programs.


Ostensibly. Even higher-rated lifters tend to start with that kind of sequence, in order to acclimate to the volume. You could probably get many a PR out of the rated lifter programs before having to try any of the more advanced ones. I would say consider #40 a life lesson, and try the above.

Also, google "BMF sheiko".

Good luck.


They can be tedious, but the fun comes when you test your maxes.


I'll chime back in and agree with the others. I'm a class 1 lifter and I started with 29, 37 and am now in week three of 32. 29 and the first two weeks of 37 nearly killed me with soreness. I've been pausing all my bench reps and everything feels pretty good speed-wise. We'll see how things pan out on meet day.


Sheiko has that built into it. If you are having a strong day, you can up your weights by up to 5%. If you are having a weak day, you can drop them by up to 5%.


lol, everyone is wired different

Although I will say, if you want to Elite and eventually World Class, programs like Shieko or other types of programs where it's not always "fun" are going to get you there.

Who cares if they're "fun" when it's results that you're after.


I would up the training max on your bench by 5-10% if you're having bench problems.

I HEAVILY advise you to do a 1 second pause on every work set rep on the bench, that made a world of a difference in increasing my bench while training on Sheiko.