T Nation

Sticking Point on Raw Bench


so since june i've been doing block periodization. the first cycle i skipped realization because i was training for a meet that i did two weeks ago. My training for deadlift and bench went amazing. especially bench, my pr from april on bench was 300 and my last week of training I smoked it so i was confident in getting a 315-330 bench at the meet.

my opener at the meet was 295 and it looked like absolutely nothing. next attempt took 315 and it flew off my chest but instantly became dead weight at about where is 2 board is, and i mean it wouldn't budge at all. I already can foresee what everyone is gonna say. "do more 2 board work" i know that might help out but i think it cant be as simplistic as that. its always been my sticking point.

currently my heavy bench day is monday and then i cut the volume in half for whatever percentage im using that week and do that on thursdays. i was thinking about adding in more heavy 2 board presses into my thursdays since theres already less work load.im just trying to also get some insight from everyone else on what helped them break through that sticking point. Thanks and i appreciate any input.


You're going to have a sticking point somewhere no matter what. In my experience, it doesn't seem to change too much as you get stronger. My "sticking point" now is the same as it was when I was pressing 225 (it's pretty much where yours is; 1.5-2 board height).

What has helped improve my raw strength is pressing with a long pause on the chest. I want my bottom-end to be strong enough to have the momentum to push through the sticking point, because if I can do that I can lock it out every time.

The paused benches train me to stay as tight as possible on the eccentric and really drive with the lats off the chest.


I will echo the guy before in that paused work is essential for heavy benching IMO. Next, if you freeze at 1.5-2bd height then that really isn't far off the chest. I was wondering how strong your shoulders are? I have had good experience with improving this portion of the bench with some OHP work. I think for me at about a 2bd height I have a bit of a transition from tucking to pulling the bar back and flaring a bit. Everyone's technique is a bit different. At any rate, if you do press like this, at this 2bd height the shoulders are responsible to push through this portion so perhaps if they are weak OHP would help.


Sound advice coming from above. I recently just took 335 for 1. I would try doing bottom position bench press at the level you feel you failed at . Take 305x3 310x2 315x1. Or , you can work up to 315 and do a board progression. 315x3 three board, 315x2 two board, 315x1 1 board, 305 3x2 cluster with pause


It might even be an assistance fix . Try some dips w/weight , close grip or illegal wides for heavy sets of 5-6. Increase lat work


As I mentioned the last time this thread popped up, your real "sticking point" for raw benching is lower than where the bar actually stops. Unless your form is horrible, staying tight in the bottom will store enough energy to get you at least an inch or so off your chest, and then the momentum from the bar should take you close enough to the two board position before you finally stall out.

Your sticking point is probably right off the bench, or maybe a 1 board at most - which is normal. I wouldn't really think board work was necessary (other than for variety) for raw benchers unless you are failing at around a 4-board. I'd stick to just bench pressing more than focusing on a sticking point which probably isn't actually a sticking point but rather the normal spot where a raw bench fails on a balanced individual.

Everyone's different, but for me, I need at least some rep work to push my flat bench up. Right now it seems like your volume is really low if you are pressing heavy on monday and then cutting volume from an already low volume day for your second bench session.


For me, well-calculated working sets (the one-rep max charts are nothing to be scoffed at!) has been the key (265 6x6, 275 5x5, 285 4x4, 295 3x3 etc.) And if I fail on a 1-rep max I stay away from that number until my working set numbers get better. Getting stuck sucks!

I plan to start doing board work soon. I've held boards for other people about 1,000 times now but I've been stubborn about using them myself (mainly because it's a day lost that I could've done my working sets) except for close grip bench, which I always do with boards.