T Nation

Six Weeks Out

I’m going to try and keep an online journal here for the next 6-7 weeks. I’m six weeks out from my first bench meet and would like some tips/tricks from others who may be “in the know”.

So heres the deal: I just got my first bench shirt and tried it out today. Metal IPF Viking(the single-ply one). I added an INSTANT 45 lbs to my bench. I am now at 295(easy, and only did about 3 sets in the shirt). I’m 19 and weigh 205. I’ve decided to compete in the 220 lb class.

My routine will be a modified version of CT’s 8 weeks to a record bench (only five weeks with a 1 week deload).

It looks a little like this:

Monday:
Shirt bench: 295 8x1 (add 5-10 lbs if successfull each week)
decline close grips: 5x5
tricep extensions: 5x5
Only one session due to time and recovery constraints

Tuesday: big back stack minus the power snatchs

Wednesday:
Bottems up bench: 6x3
Speed bench(pause): 8-12x3(135-150 lbs)
Curls: 5x5
face pulls: 3x8-12

Thursday: Big back stack minus the power snatches

Friday:
Reverse band press(complete deload at top): 4x3-6
Partial pin press: 4x3
Box squats: 5x5
RDL’s: 5x5

I’m using Methoxy-7 and Carabolin 19 stacked. I also am ordering Grow! and Surge. I eat five times a day(making sure to get enough protein/carbs, not exactly “strict” with my diet though.

Do you guys have any tips/tricks to help with pushing the bar in a straiter line? I was using a rather large J-curve in my shirt to lock out the weight. Form was good otherwise.

I have the same problem with keeping the bar path straight. From a stregth standpoint, I just keep banging on my tris (mostly heavy pressing movements and a little extension stuff). From a form standpoint, I have been making a point to keep form right on all my lighter presses and pushing the bar towards my feet. I also think that that making a concious effort to use your lats to lift that weight helps- this a hard one for me.

Currently, I am doing a lot of heavy close-grip board presses as my second and third exercises on bench days. On these I find it is very easy to keep the correct path with a heavy weight. So far, this seems to be helping somewhat, but I have ways to go.

Try a Metal Militia Cycle.

[quote]jlesk68 wrote:
Try a Metal Militia Cycle.[/quote]

I concur with the MM cycle. 8x1 with your shirted max is gonna get you nowhere but burned out or injured. I am not totally sure on this one, but there might be a little less competition in the 198s , just a thought. You should be able to make weight. Keep us informed and good luck. I would like to here more about that shirt, so keep us up to date.

Joe

Todays workout(odd’s and ends. getting ready for the hell to come)

mid-grip pull ups: BDWx5,5,5,4,4

Overhand cable rows (low pulley) :120x8, 150 3x8

DB rows(strait arm) 20lbs 2x12

Incline DB rear delt raises: 15 3x8

Scapular compressions: 140 2x10 second hold
superset with
Scapular retractions: 140 2x10 second hold

low pulley 1-arm cable curls: 70 3x8.

I might reconsider 8 sets of bench in my shirt. I might do 5 or so instead, but I want to do a bunch of shirt benching in the next five weeks. Week six will be a deload week with no benching - assitance only.

oh, and the teen division in this competion doesn’t have weight classes. I’m guessing it’s going to go by formula or something.

monday 6/20

shirt bench: warmed up raw
135x5
135x5 (bar was moving real fast)
185x3
225x3
put shirt on
275x1 miss(couldn’t even come close to touching)
295x1 miss(easy weight, would have been red lighted for picking my head up)
315xmiss couldn’t lock out, VERY close
315xmiss so close I can taste it. I was within an inch of lockout when I got out of my groove and almost ditched it on my face. I would have had it too.

The weights are flying off my chest but I have a few technique problems.

  1. I have to pick my head off the bench to touch the weights
  2. my but came off on my 295 set.
  3. I am still having problems with the j-curve. I don’t mind a little curve, but this was too much.

Decline close grip bench:
135 2x3. These hurt my shoulder so I stopped.

cable tricep pushdowns:
70x10
80x10
75x20

overhead cable pushdowns(or outs, whatever) superset with pushdowns:
60x 20,20.

dazzit.

Picking your head up may not be illegal in your federation. USAPL recently allowed people to pick their head up on the bench. Look up the rules, this may not be a problem.

beef

Wednesday 6/22:

iso-relaxation speed bench:
135 8x3 - felt REALLY slow. Don’t know why. It felt like a ton too.

bottems-up bench:
185 6x3 - took it easy. I will do 205 next week and see how it goes from there.

Strait bar cable pushdowns:
50x5
60x5
70x5
80x5
90x5
100x5 - PR of sorts.

Bodyweight rows: 5x5.
I threw these in because my shoulder seems to feel a lot better when I do back work (even if it is only a little bit) after my bench.

Thursday 6/23
chins: 6x3 - couldn’t get a full five reps today, so I did sets of three.

overhand cable rows:
140x8
150 2x8 - decided to up the weight a little

straight arm rows:
20 2x12

rear delt flys:
15 3x8

I feel like today was more of a recovery day so I’ve taken it easy. I’m going to work on lockout tomorrow, then on monday I will try a workout for my bench shirt from the templates manual I bought from elitefts. I think I’m going to work down from a three board this week, to a two board next week, a one board the week after then off the chest on week 4. I don’t have any other shirts to work through like louie suggested in a fairly recent article, so I’ll try this. It can’t make my form any worse I guess.

First of all…it’s your first meet so relax and have a great time!

Second…some feds now allow lifters to have their heads off the bench but still do not allow a change in head position. So you can’t throw your head into the bench when pressing. Definately ask about head positioning at the rules briefing.

Third…Easy on the shirted maxes big boy. Don’t fry your CNS out before the meet. Doing shirt work is great but going for 8 reps at a max weight isn’t good planning. Save something for the platform.

Fourth…Once you get the groove of the shirt down constant work in it is just unneccessary imo. I know some of the WS guys have started doing a lot more shirt work but remember those guys have been lifting in gear for many years and many also have added pharmaceuticals for recovery. So, while many of their methods and ideals are great some can be a bit much for a first time competitor. My suggestion(because it has worked well at the gym I train at) is to find an opener you can touch and press pretty easily and then back off the shirt work to focus on raw strength as well as accessory moves. Go into your meet with an opener you can confidently hit and then go balls out for some big PRs.

Fifth…read the bench press article on elitefts.com by Jesse Burdick it is an awesome article, and I’m not just saying that cause he’s my boyfriend. He gives some really great tips including flaring your elbows out when the weight stalls. This along with really tucking my elbows worked well for me at APF Seniors. So well I hit 242lbs for a 22lb PR.

Good luck and have a great time at your meet! Looking forward to seeing how you do!

My question is, why do you keep moving up in weight if you are missing the lift? I don’t know how it will affect you physically, but psychologically it can’t help in the long run if you are used to failing at that weight. I don’t lift with a shirt, but like anything I would think it would be more important to make sure you have good technique before you start going for PRs. As far as how much to train technique, listen to Ericka. She’s been around long enough to know her shit.

"Fifth…read the bench press article on elitefts.com by Jesse Burdick it is an awesome article, and I’m not just saying that cause he’s my boyfriend. He gives some really great tips including flaring your elbows out when the weight stalls. This along with really tucking my elbows worked well for me at APF Seniors. So well I hit 242lbs for a 22lb PR. "

Not just because he’s your bf? Don’t lie! :wink: lol

Its a good article, I like Dave Tate’s article most though. MR does a pretty good job too.

[quote]Ericka wrote:
First of all…it’s your first meet so relax and have a great time!

Second…some feds now allow lifters to have their heads off the bench but still do not allow a change in head position. So you can’t throw your head into the bench when pressing. Definately ask about head positioning at the rules briefing.

Third…Easy on the shirted maxes big boy. Don’t fry your CNS out before the meet. Doing shirt work is great but going for 8 reps at a max weight isn’t good planning. Save something for the platform.

Fourth…Once you get the groove of the shirt down constant work in it is just unneccessary imo. I know some of the WS guys have started doing a lot more shirt work but remember those guys have been lifting in gear for many years and many also have added pharmaceuticals for recovery. So, while many of their methods and ideals are great some can be a bit much for a first time competitor. My suggestion(because it has worked well at the gym I train at) is to find an opener you can touch and press pretty easily and then back off the shirt work to focus on raw strength as well as accessory moves. Go into your meet with an opener you can confidently hit and then go balls out for some big PRs.

Fifth…read the bench press article on elitefts.com by Jesse Burdick it is an awesome article, and I’m not just saying that cause he’s my boyfriend. He gives some really great tips including flaring your elbows out when the weight stalls. This along with really tucking my elbows worked well for me at APF Seniors. So well I hit 242lbs for a 22lb PR.

Good luck and have a great time at your meet! Looking forward to seeing how you do![/quote]

Thanks for the tips. But 315 isn’t a heavy weight for my shirt work, I just couldn’t get the groove right. I want to do shirt work once a week until the week before the meet(the meet is july 30). so that is roughly 4 more sessions. Anyways, I’ve been away from the computer for a while so heres my last few sessions:

thursday 6/23:
Big Back stack, can’t remember weights but was a decent session. In and out.

friday 6/24
Reverse band press: worked up to 330x3. Most of the band tension was gone at the lockout. maybe 5-10 lbs left(just guessing).

Rack lockouts: worked up to 295x3.

Had to get going after that. The other half wanted to go on a date.

Monday 6/27
shirt bench:
315x1 picked my head up. I was happy, but not done.
315xmiss I missed the groove again and almost ditched it on my head.
315x1 Perfect. absolutely nailed it. Head down, but down, big arch. I was psyched.

I helped another guy at the gym out with his phenom he just got for the comp. He hasn’t been in a shirt for about 12 years. It was amazing how well he stayed in his natural groove with it. He managed a 385x5. All good reps. Not bad for training BB style the last 12 years.

Tuesday:6/28
Big back stack. It went over well enough. 5x3 chins was tough.

wednesday 6/29

Iso-relax speed bench: 135 12x3. It feels a lot slow when I pause on my chest.

bottems-up bench: 205 4x3. Easy enough, but I will probably stay there in weight.

some tricep work and stuff.

thursday 6/30
Big back stack
the chins felt easier. I upped the weight on my overhand cable rows to 160lbs.

Friday 6/1 (today)
I’m going to try to keep my volume per session down. We are working out on sunday this week because of the fourth of July.

Reverse band press: worked up to 345x1. I had three if I wanted it, but I will move up in weight next week.

Rack lockouts: skiped these today. I think these hurt my shoulder last week, but I will try them again next friday.

DB tricep extensions: 30 4x8

some curls for the girls.

Thank you for all of your help really, I’m really not ignoring your advice. I just wanted to try something different. I’ve trained a lot of westside in the past and I seem to thrive on high intensity/high frequency programs for short periods of time, so I decided to go with this program, at least for now. If I bomb out, then I bomb out.

If not, then I think I will do really well. I am going to back off and work with 3RM attempts for my shirt work though. Also: no signs of overtraining yet. I’m sleeping well, eating lots and feel just fine. Thanks again for advice.

7/3/05

Bench:
135 2x8
185x3
225x3 - weights are feeling really light at the top. Probably because I’ve been handling such heavy weights lately. Put the shirt on here

275 - didn’t touch
315x1 - I used a 3 inch block and locked out easy. I also move my groove back towards my raw groove. Worked good.

315x1 - 1 board press
315x1 - off the chest
315xmiss - lost my groove at lockout
315x1 - Kept much more of my natural groove. A lot harder to touch, but it worked out well because the weight seems like it is flying up.

Cable tricep extensions:
75x8
90x8
100x8
110x3

Well, I’m getting stronger. I planned on trying 295 for reps, but I decided to try the board presses with a shirt to help my groove. Worked so-so. I’m getting my shirt on better each time I’m in it. My groove is improving too. I’m buying some Inzer wrist-wraps tonight. I’ve decided that after this meet I’m going to try the Velocity diet and also try to improve some postural imbalances, followed by westside for skinny bastards with a second leg day and no running.

7/5/06
Chins: 5x4(up one rep per set)

BB Rows:
115x8
125x8
135x8
145x8
155x8

DB strait arm rows:
20 3x8

DB rear delt raise ISO:
10 5x12sec each arm

Some curls + stuff

wednesday July 6

Speed bench: 135 10x3

4" board presses:
185x3
205x3
225x3
255x3
275x3
285x1
295x1 PR
205x13(I think it was 15, but my spotter counted 13, so I’ll go with that)

friday 7/9

Reverse band presses:
135x5
185x5
205x3
225x3 (added bands here)
275x3
315x3
365x2(missed third)PR

Spent a lot of time helping other people around the gym tonight. My former football coach put on an old bench shirt. His first time in a shirt. I also helped one of the guys I lift with work out in a shirt. His first time in a shirt too, he got an Inzer. It looks like we will be going with 8-9 guys on our team.

Monday 7/11

Shirt bench:

135 2x8
185x3
225x3
put shirt on
275x1(almost touched. Shirt was up high)
295x1 easy
315x1 easy again. went a little low.
330x1 good rep. PR.

I decided my weights will probably be 315, 330, 350.

Next monday will be my last shirt day. I’m going to try for 315x3. Just to solidify 315 as my opener. My last day benching will be the monday before the meet. I might try 260-265x5. Some light isolation assitance work on Wednesday, then nothing till the meet. I’m very happy with my gains in a shirt and with the shirt itself. It’s been a hard shirt to learn, but a good one overall.

Tuesday:
Chins, BB rows, scapular retractors and compressors.

Wednesday: I skipped this night. I promised my girlfriend I would help her get hay for her horses.

Thursday:
Curl grip chins:5x4 The mid grip chins helped with my strength on these ALOT. This was easy.

Fat-man pull-ups: 5x5

rear delt raises: 15 3x8

external rotator work: 5lb 3x10 each arm.

The meet is getting close and I’m going to start backing off on my frequency. Maybe Mon/thurs or tues/fri from now on.

I didn’t post in this log for a while, because I started to back off for the meet which I just got back from. My attempts were:

295 Three whites
320 Three whites
340 two reds and a white. I got called for “double pumping”.

I won the teen division with the 320. Huge trophy. The team took 1st place overall and pretty much cleaned house. We should be in PLUSA next month. I’m definately going to look for a three lift meet in the future. It was a great time.